How to look smart to your boss

How to look smart to your boss

1. Make it a habit of walking in with a smile on your face and a willing attitude.

1. Make it a habit of walking in with a smile on your face and a willing attitude.

by Kathy Gates — 

“Stop being a smart-aleck,” my dad would say. And I must say it took me a few years to understand that there’s a big difference between being a smart-aleck and being smart.

Showing off your smarts to your boss is a great way to impress him or her. Go ahead, make his/her day. It’s an investment of your time, spirit and energy that will reap you the benefits of not only monetary rewards, but also the healthy essential of a great place to work.

1. Make it a habit of walking in with a smile on your face and a willing attitude. If that’s just something you simply can’t muster at your current job, it’s a clue to start thinking about moving on.

2. Make saying “please” and “thank you” a habit. Even if others at your workplace don’t presently bother with these niceties, you’ll notice that if you start, even the grouchiest will pick up this simple habit.

3. Ask for help if you need it. Be specific about what you don’t understand, not arrogant or resentful. If you’re overloaded, ask for a priority check. But don’t ask for help if you’re just being lazy — everybody can see right through that strategy.

4. Act interested. A boss will only be impressed — and you’ll only be able to give your best — if you’re really interested and invested in helping him or her do a good job. If you find your job boring and uninteresting, find another one that does interest you.

5. Get organized, and have all the materials you need to work with. When the boss asks for something, you’ll be able to hand it over immediately, without having to rummage through things.

6. Be careful of using too much of your workday on personal affairs. Yes, everyone needs to use a bit of company time to handle certain things, but you have a lunch hour during which you can make phone calls or run your errands. If you surf the Internet instead of doing your work, you’ll get behind and find yourself not doing your best work.

7. Be sincere. Laugh if the jokes are funny, but set boundaries when things make you uncomfortable. Yes, you want to fit in, but not at the expense of your own integrity.

Follow these simple suggestions, and at the end of the week you’ll look like the smartest employee. When a special project comes up, you’ll be the one your boss thinks of because he or she knows you have the right attitude and are reliable. Making the boss happy is one of the smartest career decisions you can make.


Kathy Gates is a professional life coach in Scottsdale, Ariz., who helps people deal with the stress of everyday living in a more organized and efficient manner. 480-998-5843.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

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