Updated: May 10, 2019
The secret to making your boss happy comes down to three things:
Making their life easier
Keeping them in the loop
What if you could knock out all three in your first week on the job? Impossible? Not at all. Keep reading to learn the three things you should do right away to make a great impression on your boss – and set the stage for a positive working relationship.
Request a Priorities/Expectations Meeting
Let’s be honest for a moment. Even though it’s your first week on the job, that doesn’t mean you’re the center of attention. Just like any other day, your boss still has a million other priorities competing for his/her time.
Depending on the organization, you may or may not have a thorough orientation. And in most cases, your boss probably had great intentions to organize everything you need for your first day. But… that doesn’t always happen. It’s now your job to gather what’s missing.
As early as possible in the week, request a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor to discuss their expectations and priorities (both for you and for the department). This touches on the first secret of making a boss happy – making their life easier. Be prepared with a list of questions such as:
How would you define a successful first week for me? What would I have accomplished?
Can we make a list of goals?
What is "top of mind" for you right now? What’s the hottest priority?
What are the goals/objectives for our department – for this week, quarter, or year?
If you’re busy, what can I do to use my time effectively (until I’m working on my own)?
How can I learn about my responsibilities without taking up a lot of your time?
Volunteer for an Important Project
Rather than waiting for your boss to give you responsibility, show your initiative by volunteering to work on an important project. Use the insights you learned from your priorities/expectations meeting to decide what project would have the most impact. Select a something that’s high visibility and will relieve stress from your supervisor. For example:
Based on our priorities/expectations meeting yesterday, I thought it might be helpful for me to work on the statistical analysis for your Board meeting next week. I can set up the Excel spreadsheet with all the data and run some preliminary models, so at least you won’t have to start from scratch.
You’ve just made their life easier. Plus, when you do a great job, you’ll inspire confidence (the second secret to making your boss happy). They’ll feel more comfortable delegating work to you in the future and appreciate your initiative.
Provide a Weekly Status Report
The last task for your first week is to provide a status report. Sum up everything you’ve done and ask for feedback. This accomplishes the last secret of boss happiness – keeping them in the loop. Here are some ideas for what to include:
New employee trainings
Online courses for software
Meetings with coworkers
Materials you read or watched
Tasks you completed (even if you were doing them together with someone else)
Let your boss know if there were tasks or trainings you couldn’t complete for some reason
(the person was on vacation, you ran out of time, etc.). That way, they know to schedule these next week.
You could also ask your boss if they’d like a status report every Friday. In most cases, they will, especially for a while when you’re new. It’s also an easy way for them to report on your progress to their superiors.
Look at that. You just wowed your boss in three easy steps. And you’ve only been there a week.
Now keep it up. You’ll always be your boss’ favorite employee if you focus on making their life easier, inspiring confidence, and keeping them in the loop.