Everyone has a boss. Some are wonderful. Others are not. Whatever your particular situation might be, it is inevitable that you will have to interact with the person who supervises you. So here are 3 suggestions on how to impress the hell out of your boss:
Never, ever say “that’s not my job.” – From a purely legal standpoint, this could be a disaster. Most employment contracts that I have written, read, seen, or signed have a simple clause that many people miss. It is usually under the “duties” section. It reads something like this: “perform other duties that may be assigned.” That is your employer’s fail-safe. You signed the contract so you are bound by its contents. If you’re asked to do something that is outside the scope of your position, there is usually a pretty good reason that the boss is asking you to do it. Of course, you should never be forced to do something that would put you in danger of any kind and if you have a reasonable excuse as to why you may not be able to perform a task, by all means, state your case respectfully. But to refuse to do something outright is insanely stupid. Think about it this way – perhaps you are being asked to do something because the boss wants to see how you perform or wants to see your reaction. Your initial reaction will be viewed as a sign of your maturity and your willingness to be a team player. The boss might be considering you for a promotion. So don’t blow the chance to be accommodating! Now, if you feel that you are being taken advantage of, you need to talk to your boss’s boss before the situation gets any worse. Yes, for the record, I told you to talk to your boss’s boss.
Ask for more work. That’s right. Make it known that you are able to do more. We all know by now that the job market isn’t too great. So the very last thing that you want your boss to think is that the credit union has exhausted your skill set (and thus your usefulness) and that you have become expendable. You need to know about your job. That’s obvious. But why not learn about how other departments operate? You can do this without stepping on toes or crossing boundaries. Make sure the boss knows what you’re doing. This way if there ever comes a time (here’s hoping that time will never come) that your employer is put into the position of having to make cutbacks through the elimination of some positions, you’ve proven that you’re versatile and adaptable. As such, your name will hopefully not come up in those conversations.
Be prepared for meetings. If you have asked for a meeting and the boss says yes, then you better not waste his or her time. Make sure that the reason for the meeting is crystal clear from the beginning. If you’re going to ask for more money (listen up marketing & BD folks!) or for permission to try something new, come to that meeting with DATA – numbers that you have crunched, examples of how other credit unions have done similar things and the results they enjoy and as much supporting documentation that you can muster. You don’t necessarily have to give all of that information to your boss at the meeting but you damn well want them to know that you have it (in case they want to take a look.) Of course, if the boss calls for a meeting and you don’t come prepared (and on time) well, that’s just silly.
Now all of this assumes that you have a somewhat decent relationship with your boss. If, however, you do all of the above (come prepared, make a good argument, support your analysis) and you still get nowhere over time, it could be that you just have a crappy boss. No one likes to work for a crappy boss. So start looking for other opportunities. If you’re miserable at work, you’re not going to be productive. If you’re not productive, they are going to fire you anyway. So make the first move and look for something that will make you truly happy and where you will be made to feel as if you are valued.