“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie
Maybe you see yourself as a consistent overachiever—someone who always gets the job done well and on time—but you still have the sneaking suspicion that you’re not one of the boss’s favorite employees. Perhaps one of your coworkers has a much stronger rapport with your boss, even though you always go above and beyond expectations. Your coworker probably does each of these three things extremely well:
- Keeping your boss informed about her key accomplishments and their results for the organization.
- Striving to be a top performer, not only doing what is expected but taking on higher-level projects and responsibilities whenever possible.
- Proactively building relationships with leaders across the organization.
As a result, your coworker gets noticed by company leaders—not only your boss, but other leaders as well, like your boss’s boss.
Becoming the favorite employee at work requires some political maneuvering—think of it as strategic relationship building. The favorites know how to work the system in their favor, which ultimately means building a strong support base throughout all corners of the organization. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Learn the 7 Steps to Become Your Boss’s Favorite Employee
1. Keep your boss informed about what you accomplish on a weekly and monthly basis.
State specific, concrete project outcomes, illustrating what your successes mean for the company.
2. Work to cultivate relationships with your boss’s boss and executives as well.
Share your results with them, too—when your boss sees you getting praise from superiors and building relationships with executives, his confidence in you will grow.
3. Volunteer for more challenging projects that help you meet the personal goals you’ve set.
Taking on higher-profile projects will bring you closer to the job of your dreams. You’ll never feel fully ready for a new role or more difficult project; there’s a point where you just need to dive in and learn by doing, supported by the mentors you’ve cultivated. Take risks, stepping outside of your comfort zone and proposing innovative ideas that you feel could benefit the company. Hands-on experience is the only way to truly enhance your capabilities, and testing a new idea is the only way to determine whether it will work.
4. Tell your boss about your career aspirations and map out a plan toward achieving your goals.
Include clear objectives and benchmarks of success. Your boss will probably be impressed by your efforts and excited to support you.
5. Help your boss enhance her reputation.
Consider how you could volunteer to assist your boss (or higher-level leaders) in valuable ways that get their attention. Help them navigate a roadblock in a high-stakes project or overcome a problem that no one else has figured out how to solve. When you help your boss shine in front of her boss, you’ll quickly move to the top of her list of favorite employees.
6. Learn to lead others from the level you’re currently at.
As you assume the role of a leader, your boss will see you as one. Seize upon opportunities to coach and mentor others who seek to enhance their skillset. Propose and implement a peer-coaching program that pairs up people who can mentor each other through the development of particular skills. Show your boss that you have the qualities of a dynamic leader who helps people maximize their potential, and he’ll treat you like one.
7. Get to know people across the company, in a variety of functions, and welcome opportunities to collaborate with them.
Learn what they do, and show you appreciate their contributions. True leaders build a rapport with everyone and show they understand the value they bring. Your boss will take notice of your efforts to do so.
As you do these things, you’ll build a great deal of momentum in your career, which will continue propelling you forward. As your visibility and influence increase, you’ll experience a positive feedback loop occurring. This means the energy you initially invested in becoming a favorite employee will continue growing your reputation and influence.
Why? Influential people will advocate for you, speaking up on your behalf at meetings of senior executives. Because you’ve become your boss’s favorite, she’ll go to bat for you with other leaders, giving you her highest recommendation. In decision-making meetings, leaders will all know your name and key accomplishments, since you’ll always have advocates at the table. And because leaders see your potential, you’ll have consistent mentoring from those who are most effective in their roles, helping you develop the executive presence that will allow you to rise through the ranks. Coworkers and direct reports will have tremendous respect for you, enhancing your ability to lead them. In turn, your motivation and morale will soar.
Take these steps, and you’ll quickly become one of your boss’s favorite employees. As a result, you’ll be gearing up for career advancement and growing the confidence to handle exciting new responsibilities that will give you more satisfaction and fulfillment in your role.
Joel provides the one-on-one coaching that gives people the tools and feedback they need to make great strides in their career. Contact him to find out more about how he can help you to hone in on the areas where you need to grow, propelling your career forward.