10 Things You (and Your Boss) Can Do To Change Your World

by Ramesh Natarajan on February 15, 2012

Most of your waking hours are spent at work. While at work, you spend most of your time working on the projects that are assigned to you by your boss. Complaining about your work and boss will not make you happy even when you think your boss is difficult, doesn’t understand your point of view, doesn’t give you freedom, etc.

These are the 10 things you can do at work that will make both you and your boss happy. Surprisingly, these 10 things are relatively easy to do, and mostly requires you to change your mental attitude towards which you approach things.

1. Show up to Work on Time

Don’t be the last one to show up to work, and the first one to leave work. It makes you look like a slacker. If you are enthusiastic about your work, you have to show up early, and preferably before your boss shows up. Leave after your boss leaves. Don’t mistake this suggestion that you are coming early and staying late just for show off. You have to show up to work early because you genuinely want to contribute to your company’s growth.

If you are a boss: You have to show up to work on time, before you can expect others to show up on time. You have to lead by example. You should be the 1st person to come to work, and the last one to leave. It is OK, if your subordinate don’t show up on time occasionally. Just like you, they also have days when they might have to take care of some personal issues.

2. Appreciate Your Boss

Just like you, your boss is also working hard. You might have only one project that you are currently working on. But, your boss might be responsible to his boss to deliver multiple projects on time and within budget. When things go wrong in a project, your boss might be taking lot of heat from his boss, which you might not even know. Once in a while, genuinely appreciate your boss. When your boss is assigning you some exciting project that you really like to work on, genuinely thank your boss for assigning that project to you.

If you are a boss: When your subordinate completes a project, appreciate them. Just a simple ‘Thank You’ might be enough. They need to feel that their work is getting recognized. Ask them what was the most challenging and interesting things they did on the project. Just showing interest in the details of the work they do will make them feel appreciated. When they complete a high profile project that is visible to the whole company, give all the credit to them. Don’t take any credit for yourself. They did the job, and they deserve to be recognized.

3. Go the Extra Mile Before Asking for Promotion or Raise

Don’t just sit and complain that you are not getting the raise or promotion you deserve. Nobody gets a raise or promotion for the things they are supposed to do. i.e If you do only the tasks of your current role, you don’t deseve a raise or promotion. You should be doing additional projects, or doing the jobs of your next role, before you get there. If you are a developer, you should be doing what a team lead does, before you ask for a team lead promotion. If you are a team lead, you should be doing the tasks of a manager before you ask for a manager promotion.

Don’t just do the bare minimum tasks that are necessary to complete a project. Go the extra mail and do additional things that adds value to the project, which nobody expected you to do. Take time to think about all the additional things you can do on a project, that will bring value to your organization and your customers. Put in additional hours to do those. When you deliver more than what people expect you to deliver, you’ll definitely get recognized.

If you are a boss: Give the necessary promotion and bonus even before your subordinate asks for it. Approximately only 2 out of 100 employees will genuinely go the extra mile. They are your super stars. Treat them well and pay them well. Do everything possible within your power, to keep them happy. Your success depends on them.

4. Finish Your Projects on Time

Your boss doesn’t assign you a project, just to keep you busy. Every project that you complete will move your company forward, even when you think the project is not significant. Several small successful projects will eventually have a huge impact on the overall growth of the company. So, put your full heart into everything you do at work, and try to finish all your projects on time. If everybody around you is completing their projects on time, try to complete your project ahead of time. Stay one step ahead of everybody else at your work, which will make you feel good, and everybody will notice your contributions. When you consistently delivery all your projects on time or ahead of time, you’ll definitely get recognized.

If you are a boss: When a project takes long time to complete than you anticipated, don’t come to a conclusion that it is because your subordinate it not capable of delivering the project on time. There might be various reasons for the project to get delayed. Probably you didn’t have a realistic expectation on the project, the project might’ve expanded in scope, etc. Sit with your team and understand the reasons for the delay. If your subordinate has been delivering projects consistently on-time, and slipped on one project, just give them a break, and don’t make it as an issue.

5. Ask for Help from Your Boss

When you are stuck on a project, get your boss involved, and ask for advice. Even when the problem is too technical and your boss can’t solve it, still ask for help. There are few advantages to this–your boss will appreciate you to get him involved in the project, your boss might even assign additional resources to help you solve the problem. Most bosses might not want to hear from you when things are going well, but they definitely want to hear from you when things are not working out, which will help them take appropriate action to get the project on track.

If you are a boss: Ask for suggestion from your subordinates on how to improve various processes. Find out from them whether you can do anything to help them do their job in an effective manner. When they know that you are asking this sincerely, you might be surprised with the kind of answers you get. It might take only few minutes to satisfy their request, which might make them extremely productive and happy. Also, get them involved early in the project life cycle, ask for their suggestion on how this project should be executed.

6. Help Your Boss Proactively

Your boss might assign you one project, but your boss might be working on multiple projects. If that is the case, find out what other projects your boss is working on, and see how you can proactively help without being asked. Probably you can just do some research on some new technologies that might be helpful in executing that project. Create a report and send your findings to your boss on how this new technology might help in those future projects. You can even do simple things like installing few useful add-ons on your boss browser that might make your boss productive. Your boss be very thankful to you for this small help you did without being asked.

If you are a boss: When you assign a project to your subordinate, make sure you give them all the resources they need to successfully complete the project. If there is something in the project that you think you can finish effectively, offer that help. Don’t just delegate all the tasks in a big project. Make sure to take ownership on some of the tasks in a project and assign your name to it, and deliver it on time. When your team sees that you are delivering your tasks on time, they’ll make sure to finish the project on time.

7. Help Others at Work

If you see one of your colleagues is struggling on a task, offer them a helping hand. When you help someone else to finish their task, don’t cc your boss in that email thread. Don’t go to your boss and explain how you went out of your way to help the other person. Just help someone else without expecting anything in return. Make it as a habit to constantly help someone at work. If you do this consistently, when you are stuck in an issue, they’ll voluntarily help you even before you ask them.

If you are a boss: Constantly pay attention to your team and projects, and see if they need any help. Occasionally, assign one of your resources to help another team. When your team sees that you are helping other teams that you are not responsible for without they asking for your help, your team will also get motivated and do everything they can do to make your project successful.

8. Believe in Company’s Mission and Vision

Every company has a mission and vision. Most of the companies do a good job in trying to make it very clear and pass it to the entire organization. You should truly understand what your company stands for. If you don’t believe in the mission of your company, you are wasting your time working there. When your values matches the values of your company, and when you believe in your company mission and vision, you’ll be extremely productive and go to work with full of enthusiasm. If you don’t believe in your company mission, vision and values, you should start looking for a new company who’s mission resonates with you.

If you are a boss: If your company mission statement is fuzzy, and not written using simple words, create a mission statement for your own team. Make sure you believe in it first, before you expect your team to belive in it. Even when your company mission statement is clear, you should still create a mission statement for your own team, that is in alignment with the overall mission of the company, but at the same time should be specific to your team, and motivate your team.

9. When Working from Home, Do the Work

When your boss allows you to telecommute, make sure you really work. Don’t take advantage of working from home and finish your personal tasks on that day. You should be thankful that you don’t have to deal with the stress of driving to work that day. Make sure to put additional hours on the day you work from home and finish few additional tasks. When working from home, don’t send an email 1st thing in the morning to someone at work cc-ing your boss, and last thing at night another email to someone at work cc-ing your boss. It is very lame.

If you are a boss: Make sure to allow your team to work from home. For most part, they’ll be extremely productive when they are working from home. Even if you know that they are not really “working” from home, it is Ok, as long as they deliver all their projects on time.

10. Finish the TPS Report and Move on

Finally, finish the TPS report (or whatever report you boss is asking) on time. Even when your boss is asking you to finish some totally useless report that nobody would ever review, just finish it and submit it to him on time, and move on to the next project. If running TPS report takes only 1 hour, don’t talk to your colleagues for 2 hours about how lame your boss is to request you the TPS report.

If you are a boss: Don’t ask your subordinate to run any useless TPS report. It is better for them to be browse the internet and learn something, than to run your lame TPS report.

Click here to leave a comment: What else do you think you (or your boss) can do to make your life at work more enjoyable?


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sergio February 15, 2012 at 1:53 am

I strongly disagree with your assertion in reference to point 3.

“Put in additional hours to do those. When you deliver more than what people expect you to deliver, you’ll definitely get recognized.”

I guess it depends on the country, in Spain you can do that and sometimes you will get appreciation but not always. It’s miles easier if you enjoy what you do, and you do it because is fun for you, basically you love it.

In my opinion this advice it’s not the best one. Your boss give you a rise because you are a hard worker, proactive , efficient and you’re willing to help your colleagues for instance.

If you work more than you have to , just expecting to get a raise, you are taking the wrong approach, after you get your raise or promotion they will expect from you to keep up with.

I know what you mean about putting some extra hours, but do it because you’re doing something interesting.

2 benjamin February 15, 2012 at 3:06 am

TPS report whoa :)

I agree with all points but specially agree to point 3. I also think companies should have realistic mission statement that is achievable and can be remembered.

3 sem February 15, 2012 at 3:37 am

go the extra file?

4 Stephen Kenny February 15, 2012 at 3:37 am

Re point 1: “Don’t be the last one to show up to work, and the first one to leave work. It makes you look like a slacker. ”

You can’t be serious – if the work done is of a high quality, you won’t look
like a slacker. On the other hand you will look a bit sad if you’re afraid to
go home just because your boss is still chained to his desk. It’s the quality
of the work that counts, not the number of hours that you are seen to be
in the workplace. Coming in before your boss and leaving after him is a
form of behaviour designed purely to give the appearance that you’re
“working hard”. The number of hours spent in the workplace, however,
is no measure of the quality of work done.

5 sivakumar February 15, 2012 at 5:39 am

//Don’t be the last one to show up to work, and the first one to leave work. It makes you look like a slacker. If you are enthusiastic about your work, you have to show up early, and preferably before your boss shows up. Leave after your boss leaves. Don’t mistake this suggestion that you are coming early and staying late just for show off. You have to show up to work early because you genuinely want to contribute to your company’s growth.//I don’t buy this argument…If boss is single he don’t have any family committment then he will stay late…not everyone..These days 8 hrs work start anytime and finish anytime is concept. I believe you are still teaching late 90′s and early 2000′s rule. Then by sitting in chair whole day people will all sort of medical problem. No one living just 4 kms from work place , some are travelling more than hours. So your theory is work.

6 SFSecurity February 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

If you are the boss, don’t try to do it all yourself, delegate. If you don’t you’ll be the one with the heart attack and your subordinates will never be challenged to learn new things.

7 Vonskippy February 15, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Ward Cleaver and the 1950′s called – they want their work ethics back.

Does the color wipe off your nose or is it permanently stained brown?

8 siva February 15, 2012 at 8:50 pm

These days most of the boss delegate. Some boss work over to the extend never respect his team member and do decision making on his own for most of the technical stuff. If you raise your concern then he circle you. In my experience its very hard to get ideal boss.

9 Prasad February 16, 2012 at 3:21 am

What I feel is 70% of the Managers that we work under do not know what we work.

LIKE
You work for a JAVA project and your manager is from ERP.
You Work as a Bike Mechanic and your manager is a Marketing guy.
You work as a HR and your manager is a Finance guy.

When your Manager does not understand what you are working on ,it doesnt matter if you come early or go late or do some extra work to get Promoted since every thing is Black and White for them…
Lucky are those who get correct manager …. HR to HR , Finance to Finance , Mktg to Mktg , they know what you work and they would also know how to appreciate you.

10 Mackenzie Gunn April 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I value the article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

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