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Whether you want a happier work environment or lay the groundwork for a raise, promotion or transfer, you must create opportunities for success. That includes, of course, being on good terms with your boss and often your boss’s boss.

For a better relationship with your boss, take these 11 steps:

1. Regularly provide 10 percent added value. Once, when as an employee I wanted a better relationship with a boss, a beloved mentor gave me great advice.

“Do your job and then give another 10 percent without asking for extra pay in order to allow for having bad-hair days,” he said. “Work your 40 hours; then another four hours.”

Before I knew it, the situation improved and I was promoted to management. (This was a process that repeatedly worked to perfection for me at other companies and later as a consultant in serving clients, as well.)

2. Be a consistent, trusted performer. You’ll start getting noticed. The trick is to become the go-to person.

When something needs to be done, it’s a good sign when your boss turns to you first as a trusted employee.

If you’re really ambitious, see: How to Manage Your Boss for Better Performance – for Both You and Your Company.

3. Show interest privately and publicly. Ask questions about your role in the company, how you can be of better service and about the direction of the company. In a staff meetings, find good reasons to engage the boss.

If you’re in a gathering with your boss and other supervisors, stay briefly after the meeting. Look them in eyes. A good sign that you’re trusted — if you’re invited to remain with them as they debrief after the meeting.

4. Be early every day. Your boss will be annoyed if you continually arrive late, and don’t be surprised if the boss nitpicks about your work.

Instead, leave your home a half hour before you need to arrive on time. You’ll get some wiggle room for traffic and other unforeseen delays.

More importantly — you’ll arrived relaxed, have time to grab some coffee and will be able to review your to-do list. I guarantee you’ll enjoy your workday more.

5. Be a good listener. Be ready to listen when your boss approaches. Put your pen or paper down, turn away from your computer and face your boss.

This will work wonders if you’re seen as a good listener. It will also position you as a sounding board — a very desirable situation in which to be.

6. Avoid water-cooler gossip and be a supporter. It will help your cause if you’re seen as a compassionate person. Support your boss and coworkers whenever feasible.

7. Don’t surprise your boss. No one likes negative surprises, especially if the person feels taken for granted or caught off guard. Always give plenty of notice — the most possible. That goes for your work, personal time off and vacation plans.

8. Volunteer for projects. Be intuitive when things need to get done. Think like a boss and volunteer. If your boss has a deadline, offer to help. Even if it’s as simple of just copying some documents, offer to do it.

9. Look for problems to solve. Look beyond the length of your nose. Take the initiative. Bosses like employees who carry their own weight, can work independently and who can make their jobs easier.

If you spot a problem outside your realm of responsibilities, and you’re convinced you have the solution, go ahead and solve the problem. Tell your boss about it a week or two later.

A good boss will appreciate your initiative and your nonchalance about your service.

10. Be respectful of your manager’s time and energy. Be a good team member by staying out of your manager’s face. Know when to talk and take up your boss’s time.

11. Minimize office politics. If you’re a supporter of your coworkers, avoid gossip and stay low-key, you’ll minimize the likelihood of jealousy by your peers.

If tension does rear its ugly head from office politics, it’s OK. Keep focusing on the doing the right thing for the organization and you’ll be fine. For more insights, see 18 Tips for Productive Behavior to Win in Office Politics.

From the Coach’s Corner, more career tips:

3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company — So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment. To get the job you must interview well.

13 Tips on Coping with Change at Work – Conquer Your Fears — In this economy, it seems normal to fear losing your job. Plus, budget cuts, hiring freezes, revised job descriptions and getting a new boss can all be unnerving.

Acting, Speaking Coach: How to Improve Communication with Others — Do you know when you marginalize others?   If you’re having communication problems with someone important in your career or life, chances are one or both of you will profit from tips in honest communication.

Dos and Don’ts: How to Advance Your Career via Your Boss’s Boss — You can improve your career prospects by maximizing your communications – with your boss’s boss.

Nervous About Your New Boss? Here’s How to Deal with It — Whether you just got a new job or whether your company just assigned a new boss for you, it might seem hard to deal with it. But deal with it you must. 

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”

-Ann Landers


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.