How To Make Your Boss’s Life Easier
Today is National Boss’ Day, a day to thank your supervisor for being fair, reasonable, kind, and overall great at leading you in your work and making you look good. If that sounds like your boss, wish her a happy Boss’ Day. Not everybody is lucky to have a great boss. Some are out there dealing with micromanaging types or moody supervisors. But yours is great. And, remember that, while sometimes, we may not love every directive that comes down from above, our bosses take on a lot of extra stress and responsibility so that we don’t have to. By the time you get your instructions from your boss, it’s because she sat through tedious meetings and perhaps even advocated on your behalf with her bosses (everybody has a higher-up, after all). She probably does many things every day that make your life easier, so perhaps it’s time to take stock of how you could make her life easier. Here are ways you could quickly become one of your boss’ preferred employees.
Look at old emails for answers
Need an answer to a question that you know was answered in some email from your boss, long ago? Do the work of digging it up. Look through those old emails. Even if it takes you 15 minutes to find the answer, it’s better than asking your boss to answer the question a second time. That makes it seem like you don’t pay attention.
Or research online for an answer
Always try to find an answer without asking your boss. Here’s the thing about bosses: yes, they are there to give you guidance, but their favorite employees don’t need that much guidance. Your boss does have more important jobs to do than helping you with yours. Try to keep the emails you send her to a minimum. If you can find an answer online or another way, do so.
Provide several possible routes
If there are several options for how to complete a project or do a task, run them by your boss. Show her that you’re flexible, and that you’ve thought of every way to handle something. If you only provide one option and she doesn’t like it, you leave her with the work of finding other routes.
Find a solution before presenting a problem
If you discover a problem, look into solutions before going to your boss. By the time you tell your boss about the problem, it should only be to let her know that you’re already on top of fixing it.
Help other employees when she can’t
If you have the knowledge to help an employee out while your boss is too busy to do so, just help her out. Be the “acting boss” if you can do so effectively, since it will take work off your boss’ plate.
Prepare early for holidays
Taking some days off in the near future? Sit down and look at what may come up while you’re away, and find ways to address it before you leave. Leave your boss with more than enough information and completed tasks, so that she barely feels your absence.
Start work early in case issues come up
If you’re working with a long deadline, don’t put off the project until the last minute. You may discover issues that you must bring up to your boss. If you bring those up a week before your deadline, it will be clear that you waited too long to start this project.
Say yes first, then ask questions
Should your boss ask if you’d like to take on a project, always respond first with an enthusiastic and can-do attitude. You may have questions about whether or not it will pay more or how long it will take. First say, “That sounds great! Love it!” and then ask your questions. Leading with the concerns/questions makes you look negative.
Get all questions into one email
Do your best to consolidate questions and comments surrounding one issue into one email. Don’t send your boss eight small emails, all on the same project, while you slowly pick away at it. Look over the work, collect all the information you need, and try to get all your questions out in one email.
Don’t nitpick over small overtime
If you’re asked to arrive 20 minutes early to work to get something done, just do it. Don’t bring up little bouts of overtime. Only bring it up if it becomes a regular occurrence.
Read every memo in full
Every boss out there wishes that her employees would just read the memos. Employees often think they’ve read a memo, but they really just scan it, and then start asking their boss questions that were covered in the memo.
Look for small opportunities for the company
Go above and beyond by finding small opportunities for the company. Perhaps you notice a potential branding partnership with another company or know of a college hoping to place interns in this exact field of work, which would relieve the office assistant of some tasks.
Double-check your own work
Always double-check your work before turning it into your boss. Sure, it’s her job to find your mistakes before passing your work onto her boss, but what she loves to see is that you checked for those mistakes, too.
Communicate your mistakes to her
Trying to hide your mistakes from your boss never works. She will find them, and then she’ll realize you tried to hide them. Be open about it when you mess up. Hiding your mistakes only makes her look bad.
Learn new skills, without being asked
If you become aware of a skill that would enhance your quality of work, pick it up, without being asked. You never know if it will result in more responsibilities and higher pay.