There's no magic formula for wowing the boss, but there is a particular set of skills and characteristics that is universally attractive to employers and will serve you well in any workplace. Once you've mastered the 15 qualities most likely to impress the boss, up the ante with even more. Remember: learning and anticipating your manager's needs, understanding her expectations, and talking to her about shared goals are the best ways to get ahead, but you can also get a head start by putting your best foot forward. Here are more helpful suggestions.
- Be Giving - Maintain a healthy work-life balance, but commit yourself to your job. If you don't love it, or even like it, it will show. Give your talent, insight, time, and effort when you are on the clock and show you aren't afraid to get your hands dirty. You're being paid to work, so give it what you've got. Your boss expects it, but if you give enough she'll be impressed.
- Show Leadership - As important as it is to take initiative and prioritize your own workload, it's equally important to show you can lead others. This is particularly important if you hope to rise in the ranks and someday manage a team. Your boss wants to know you can direct and delegate, and get your job done.
- Look the Part - or Try - Wearing the right work attire is vital for making a good impression and upholding professional appearances. Sadly, you are being judged for your attire whether it's fair or not.
- Be a Go-Getter - Once you've mastered the art of productivity, aim for "go-getter" status. You won't be bored by your job if you challenge yourself, take on tasks, and hope to learn and grow in your position. Taking on new tasks and collecting a bag of tricks and skills will aid you throughout your career and impress your boss.
- Be Flexible - Nothing ever goes as planned in business. Be flexible and hide your stress when things go awry or off plan. Your boss expects you to be able to keep your cool in intense situations and will be reviewing you on your ability to do so. Confront changes with a relaxed attitude.
- Be Time- and Deadline-Conscious - Showing up and being on the ball makes you stand out, but go beyond that. Make sure to hit deadlines and be aware of other people's schedules. If you scheduled a meeting, show up on time. Round up the troops. Do your part to keep everyone on task.
- Be Friendly and Upbeat - Whether you're chitchatting in the elevator or stopping by an office fete, try and be upbeat with your co-workers and boss. They care about you, but they don't want to hear all your sob stories. Steady enthusiasm and effort goes a long way in the "interpersonal relations" department.
- Be Accountable - Did you mess something up? Admit it and help fix it if you can, or seek assistance from someone who can help. Everyone will appreciate you being honest and accountable for your actions. It shows you care.
- Know How to Put Out the Fire - If something goes awry or a problem pops up, know how to stop and fix it. Offering up a game plan earns big bonus points with any boss, who may not understand the nuances of the situation the way you do.
- Be Dependable -Don't be on the ball one week, then out to lunch the next. Be dependable in terms of your work flow, attitude, and effort so those around you know what to expect.
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