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5 Ways to Impress the Boss


If you work for someone else, impressing the boss favorably can boost your income potential. If you impress the boss, you are more likely to get assignments with opportunity, you are more likely to receive a bonus and you are more likely to receive a raise (and avoid a layoff).

I supervised and managed people for years in my job – first as a project leader and later as a department head. Here are the characteristics and activities that impressed me when I was boss.

When you are AT work, WORK.

I worked long, hard hours and I always expected everyone to do the same. Sometimes I was surprised and dismayed to see that wasn’t always the case. It was especially maddening when we were on a tight timeline and I saw folks shopping online, sleeping at their desk or spending hours at lunch. Not only was their work not being done, but my time was being sapped to deal with their bad habits.

Caution: If you really don’t have anything to do, don’t make up something – address the situation tactfully. The company isn’t paying you to make work.

Understand the end goal and use your smarts to get to it.

Bosses are not endowed with super powers. Sometimes they overlook things, sometimes they get off on the wrong direction. I always appreciated team members who could (gracefully and politely) suggest a better way of getting to our goal. As I used to say “We hired you to use your brains, not to follow my instructions to the letter”.

Caution: Be careful to treat the boss as you would like to be treated – don’t force them to lose face in front of the team.

Be excited about new opportunities.

Change is ever present, in life and at work. Don’t fight it, embrace it. If the company decides to use you in a new capacity – it may mean they want to broaden your experience – get excited about working with new people on something different instead of whining about being tossed around in the company.

Caution: If you are the one seeking a new opportunity in the company, remember that old saying “Be nice to those you meet on the way up, you’ll meet them on the way down.”Don’t leave your old boss in the dust, stay in touch and never bad mouth!

Be good at what you do.

Make every effort to do the best job, most efficiently – every time. Sharpen the saw, as the author of 7 Habits of Highly Productive People preached. If you don’t keep learning (and doing) you will fall behind. Seek out reviews from the boss and your peers to help you figure out where you need to improve. Don’t just go through the motions of doing the job. Challenge yourself to do it better, faster, with a more pleasant attitude and etc.

Once at Walmart, the checkout clerk kept looking at his watch. Thinking he was about to get off work and was anxious to do so, I asked what was up. He told me he was timing each customer’s checkout and trying to improve on his speed!

Caution: Don’t spend all your time in class.

Help build esprit de corps.

On your own initiative, help train that new team mate, contribute ideas and effort to the team projects, participate or lead team building activities (strengthening ties between team members), and reflect an optimistic and cheerful attitude towards the work, the company and the group.

All of these demonstrate to the boss that you too, are a leader and are promotion material.

Caution: Don’t try to deal with Human Resource type personnel issues, these are the province of the boss and HR – there may be strict policies dictating what should happen and who is responsible and you may become personally liable if you don’t follow policy.

What characteristics and traits do you think are important to fast track your career?

This post has been written by Marie from Be sure to visit her site if you’ve enjoyed this post.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. For me, all of those are essential to fast track your career. Especially the first one, I totally agree with you on that, when you’re at work, just work and do your job. Anyways, another great post, thanks!

    • Why thank you! Employees who get the job done are greatly appreciated by most supervisors/managers – plus those employees usually learn more (helpful if and when you want to move on).

  2. It probably goes without saying, but “Be good at what you do” is the most important way to impress. For me, that sort of includes some of your other ways to impress, such as understanding the end goal. A person who is good at what they do is typically efficient and gets their work done early or on time. Another trait that I want to see, is honesty. I want to hear about problems as soon as they come up: no surprises.

    • Well said. Honesty to me is a given and the sooner problems are identified, the sooner they can be addressed. You have to foster the right kind of environment as a boss, however, to make sure that the problems are not hidden.

  3. If I were to sum up the excellent points you raise Marie, I’d say the employee needs to have an “owner’s mentality”. The mode of thinking and acting would be, if this were my business, what things/efforts would I make to make it successful and ofcourse the answers would encompass things such as really working hard and being innovative which would definitely catch your eyes boss 🙂
    Great post!

    • Wow, you sound so much like one of my previous managers – who also heavily stressed having an owner’s mentality.

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