If you’re anything like me, you want your manager to like you.
It’s only human to want to be liked. Back in the cave ages, our survival depended on our fellow cave-dwellers enjoying our company. Our monkey brains tell us to form those bonds — and approval from our superiors increased our chances of survival.
Nowadays, of course, we don’t have caves: we have jobs.
Fully 25% of all people spend more time thinking about their work than money or sex.
Aside from the very human need to be liked, having your boss like you means your working life will be easier, more enjoyable, and more rewarding.
How can you do this?
1. Own up to your successes — and your failures.
Accountability is key in the working world. While it may be our instinct to only take credit for the good we do in the company, bosses and managers prefer it when we also admit to our failures.
When we are candid about our successes and our failures, accepting responsibility for both, our managers know that we can be trusted to manage projects responsibly on our own, without needing to watch over us.
They know that if we’re not doing well, or made a mistake, we’ll tell them and immediately work to resolve the situation. Likewise, when we recognize our successes, they know that we can pinpoint what went well and why, allowing us to replicate our successes down the line.
Taking ownership is crucial to the growth of all businesses, no matter what role you perform.
“It is a rare quality with invaluable worth when an employee takes responsibility for every aspect of a business process.” — Matthew DiGeronimo, the vice president of operations for Veolia Energy North America
2. Ask questions.
Asking questions can feel like you’re admitting you don’t know something. If you’re in a meeting, or watching a presentation, you may not want to ask anything, for fear of demonstrating your ignorance, or admitting that you don’t know something that you should.
However, asking questions isn’t bad. Managers and bosses interpret this as sign of wanting to learn, as well as having an honest view of your own knowledge.
This means that when you go off to work on your tasks, they’re confident you know all you need to in order to succeed.
By using questions to reflect on the meeting or presentation, as well as your personal knowledge, you’re demonstrating active listening, a skill which managers value in their employees.
“Bosses notice when an employee is willing to raise her head above the fray and ask, ‘Why?’ ” — Matthew DiGeronimo, the vice president of operations for Veolia Energy North America
3. Take breaks seriously.
Don’t try to impress your boss by staying at your desk the whole lunch break — they want to see you taking your health seriously, recharging your motivation, and freshening your mind to come back to the afternoon’s tasks with a clear head.
Managers will appreciate that you understand taking breaks is beneficial to productivity, and can help you do your best at work.
“My best performing employees tend to get away from a screen and read during their breaks.” — Jake Tully, head of the creative department for truckdrivingjobs.com
4. Show that you want to learn
Managers are impressed by employees who take their development and personal improvement seriously. By signing up to courses, taking classes and lessons, or even just being mentored by a more senior member of staff, your boss will see you’re going to provide more value to them in the long run.
Some employees think their time would be better spent focusing solely on their existing jobs, but a truly brilliant employee is thinking about how they can improve their worth to the company tomorrow.
“The most valued talent of an employee is their ability to receive coaching and feedback and implement the suggestions.” — Dr. Jennifer Freed, co-founder/director of AHA!
5. Learn to speak your manager’s language
Take the time to learn how your boss or manager likes you to pass them information. Just like love languages, every person has a way they like to learn and communicate, and it’s worth your while to learn what works best for your boss.
This can be as easy as simply asking them if they prefer a verbal report or a spreadsheet. You might learn from other employees what has worked for them in the past.
By combining the most effective form of communication for whatever you’re talking about, with the way they prefer to receive information, you’re ensuring that they’ll be open-minded and receptive to whatever you have to say.
You can’t make your boss’s life easier if you don’t understand how he fundamentally operates. — Lea McLeod, Career Coach.
Managers are people, just like us. If we take the time to show them we care about ourselves, our work, and how to effectively communicate, they’ll appreciate us as employees, making our lives at work and at home easier and more enjoyable.