There are a lot of things you should never say to your boss. Those are pretty easy to figure out. Things like “I don’t really like your tie” or “wow, what did you do to your hair this morning?” are obvious things that won’t get you a promotion. But what about the flip side: what should you be saying to your boss to help build the relationship between the two of you and put your first on the list for a raise or promotion? Here are ten different things that every employee should say to their boss.
1. “I’ll take care of it.” Managers love to see employees step up and take charge of something. It means they don’t have to worry about it, and they know whatever the task is, it’s now in capable hands. Offering to take on additional work like this also shows that you’re not afraid to step up and take on other duties.
2. “How did I do?” After completing a project, it’s always a good idea to ask for feedback. This does two things: it shows your boss you’re not afraid of criticism, and it shows that you want to improve. It also helps you know what areas you may need to improve. Ask for more than just “you did a good job.” If possible, walk away from each task knowing one thing you did exceedingly well and one thing you could work on.
3. “Here’s what I learned, and here’s what I’ll do better next time.” Be your own critic, too. If you’ve made a mistake or did something in a less-than-great way, own up to it. Your boss wants to see that you’re self-aware and know what your strengths and weaknesses are. If you see an area where you need to improve, don’t be afraid to point it out and ask for advice or help.
4. “Why do we do it that way?” Just because the office has always done a task the same way doesn’t mean there’s not a better option. While it may get annoying if you question every single thing, sometimes asking why a rule or process is in place is a good idea. The answer may be “well, um, that’s just how we’ve always done it….” If that’s the case, you might be able to come up with a new system that’s more efficient.
5. “I’m not sure that’s the best way of doing that.” This goes along with #3. If something doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid to suggest an alternative. Being a yes-man is sometimes the best way to go with some bosses, but those who are truly good managers want their employees to disagree if they can back up their arguments.
6. “I just heard about X, and that gave me an idea.” If you hear, see, or read about something that you think you could apply to your current job, bring it up. Sometimes, these ideas don’t pan out, but sometimes they lead to great things. Even if it’s an idea that you aren’t sure can be applied to your job or the industry you work in, bring it up. You never know what someone else may take from it.
7. “Here’s what I’d recommend, and here’s why.” Speaking up and sharing your ideas is always great, but including your thought process and reasoning shows your boss that you’re not just tossing out whatever happens to come to mind. You’re logically thinking things through. Being able to think critically and provide rationale for your decisions is a sign of a great employee.
8. “Look at this, I think you’ll like it.” While sharing great work ideas is important, sometimes you want to share something personal or a little silly. Don’t be afraid to mention things that you think your boss would be interested in, even if it’s something like the latest internet joke. Don’t do it all the time, of course, but if you see a funny cat picture that seems to apply to your boss or your company, it’s ok to share it. Just don’t look for these things when you should be working.
9. “Who can help me understand this better?” If you’re stuck on something, speak up and ask for help. Some people believe asking for help shows that they’re weak or that they aren’t a good employee because they don’t know everything, but the opposite is actually true. Bosses appreciate employees who aren’t afraid to say that they don’t understand something and need some help.
10. “How can I help?” Be proactive. If you have some free time or can take on something else, don’t wait for other people to come to you. Ask if you can help out, especially if you know someone else is struggling with a large project.
All of these suggestions will show your boss that you’re not just another employee doing what you have to do to get by. You want to step up and help the company in whatever way you can, and that’s a sign of someone who cares about his/her work. It’s also a sign of someone who deserves that raise or promotion!
Don’t forget to show your boss how much you appreciate him/her on Boss’s Day! We’ve got some great Boss’s Day Flowers for delivery in Washington, D.C.
Read more about these ideas in the original article by Steve Radick at http://steveradick.com/2012/08/21/ten-things-you-should-be-saying-to-your-boss/.