The Wisdom of Making Your Boss Look Good


Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this. Why? Every career professional today faces unrelenting time pressure. The continuing chore of having to get things done wears on everyone – your boss included. When you prove to be a valuable team player who knows how to get your assignments done, benefit the team and the organization, and make your boss look good, you stand out like few employees ever will.

First, Become More Productive

Here are techniques that transcend traditional approaches to time management and lay a foundation for greater achievement, while letting you remain balanced.

  1. Managing the beforehand, as opposed to the aftermath, involves creating space – mentally or physically – in advance of what comes next. I regard it as clearing out the old and unsupportive and making room for the new and supportive. It requires anticipation and vision.

  2. Conditioning your environments means taking charge of your office, home, car and other physical spaces. You arrange, stock, and maintain such spaces in a manner that supports your efforts. You realistically assess how you work and live best, and then summon the resources to support your efforts.

  3. Multiple Stations – If you wear contact lenses, you may already know the value of using multiple stations. Lens wearers know to keep extra saline solution and storage tubes at the various stations of their lives: their desks, cars, lockers at the gym, etc. Hence, you are always prepared without having to carry these materials.

Creating a Clearing

Armed with these three approaches to your work, you can create the time and space to make your boss look good. Begin by handling your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion. If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it's still likely that you'll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you've been doing more than your share, and he or she won't be able to take a new position without your help.

What else can you do?

Become a Mentor to Others

Maybe you're only 27 years old, or maybe you've only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you're willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Know What's Needed

Stay on top of your job, your department's goals, and your company's objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department's goals are, and determining your company's objectives. Knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization; an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Learn and Understand the Goals of Your Part of the Company

By whatever method your organization is broken into groups (department, division, project team), your group has objectives. Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group's goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

Be Aware of Your Organization's Mission

Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don't already know it, find out. Your organization's brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out. The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

Copyright © Jeff Davidson

About the Author
Jeff Davidson

Jeff Davidson, MBA, CMC, is the internationally recognized expert on work-life balance and holds the registered trademark from the USPTO as the "Work-Life Balance Expert"®. Delivered with passion, Jeff has offered his cutting edge, hands-on strategies for a balanced career and a balanced life to audiences worldwide. He is a five-time state winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration's "media advocate of the year" award. Jeff's breakthrough books and articles have made him a favorite, repeat interview subject of USA Today, the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, and the Career Weekly of the Wall Street Journal. Jeff can be reached via his web site at

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