I’m a major procrastinator, but I adore getting praise from my boss and am terrified of negative criticism. If you’re anything like me, you might be interested in these little acts of sucking up that can help you get praise at work — even when you’re going through a lazy phase.
1. Check in with your boss often.
Stopping by your boss’s office to say “Good morning!” when you arrive and “Hey, I finished ___, do you need anything else?” at the end of the day will win you major kudos. Boss’s love to hear that things were checked off your list, because it means they can check it off on theirs. And, they appreciate someone willing to “stay late” to help them. They’ll hopefully never take you up on it, but it shows initiative. Plus, by checking in, they know you’re arriving and leaving on time, so they won’t get mad if they come looking for you at 7pm and are shocked to find that you have a life! Another tip: If you arrive late, walk in loudly with a comment like “That front gate sure was backed up this morning!” to auto-justify.
2. Keep a big obvious to-do list…and keep it full of cross-offs. I keep a giant white board over my computer with all of my tasks for the week and my daily list. It’s really just me being OCD, but by putting it somewhere my boss can read it when he walks by rather than on a piece of paper, he can see how busy I am and will often assign new tasks to my coworkers because of this! It will also help your boss see you as organized and productive — be sure to break big projects into little tasks to fill that baby up!
3. Always meet your deadlines. I’m all about quality, but it looks a lot better to turn in something good-not-great on the due date rather than miss your deadline and actually have a count against you (and your boss, who’s being watched by her boss for things like getting projects done on time). If you procrastinate and you have one hour to finish your project, don’t get an extension – get it done as best as you can and turn it in. Another hint: sacrifice quantity of information over accuracy. One wrong fact or major typo will be an obvious blunder upon first read, but a missing step might not look like such a “stupid” mistake.
4. Speak up even if you’re uncertain. Managers became managers because they somehow gleamed in the spotlight and got noticed. That means your manager will be more impressed with someone who speaks up in every meeting (with intelligent and tasteful number of comments, of course) than someone who thinks through things alone and doesn’t share with the class. Use business buzzwords like “high-level,” “initiative” etc. to make slightly underinformed comments sound professional.
5. Offer to pick up the little tasks. Things like scheduling meetings, creating agendas and coordinating progress reports won’t take an enormous amount of your time, but they will save your manager precious time he’d rather spend on real work and management. Offer to take on these tasks and you’ll be the golden child of your department. In fact, showing you’re an organized team player taking on administrative manager tasks might even get you a place in line for the throne!