Have you ever been new at a job and worried that you would not pass your probation period because your boss does not like you? Have you ever felt eager to get on your boss’s good side, but you were not sure how to do it? If so, you are not alone. Many people who are new at a job are nervous about what their bosses think about them. It is normal. In this article, learn 10 easy ways to get on the good side of your boss when you are the new kid on the block.
- Don’t try too hard (don’t overdo it, just hint at what you can do)
Trying too hard at anything and with anyone can only get you branded as “too competitive” at best, and “radioactive” at worst. This is true at work and in other contexts as well. You might think you are doing a good thing by doing your very best, and trying hard, but the person at the receiving end can just dismiss you as “annoying”, and as “trying too hard”, which is even worse. And this can breed distrust. They will question your motives. They will think you are not being honest and transparent. Consequently, they will begin to block you out and distance themselves from you. The reason is that people usually think that people who try too hard are hiding something or overcompensating for something. When you try too hard, people can think you are fake, and therefore untrustworthy. So, easy does it. Do your best, but make it look easy and unforced. Don’t try too hard.
- Observe your boss and imitate what he or she does (work style)
Sure, you may have great ideas, but you have to understand that your boss is the star of the movie; and, at work, it is your boss’s show, not yours. You should not be trying to outshine your boss or making your boss feel inadequate when you are a newbie who is trying to hold on to your job. This is a big mistake that a lot of new kids on the block make. They try to outshine the boss and they try to show the boss how smart they are, thinking this will make their boss like them more and think they are “valuable.” But this only makes your boss feel threatened, and usually this means you will not pass your three-month probation. If you want to survive, keep enough of a low profile while making your boss feel that you think he or she is a rock star. The way you do that, is to imitate your boss and do what he or she does but try to do it with a bit less “perfection”. That way, your boss always feels useful, like he or she is teaching you and helping to develop you as an employee. As a result, your boss is more likely to keep you on past the 3-month mark.
- Be dependable and consistent.
A lot of newbies make the mistake of being flaky in the first few weeks or months of their employment. They call in sick or they say they will do something and then they do not follow through. If you promise your boss that you will do something by a particular deadline, do it. Or do not promise your boss you will do it by that deadline. And, unless there is a dire emergency, do not call in sick and show up late in the first three months of your new job. Also, if your boss needs you to work overtime during these first few weeks and months, try to be there. Be dependable, in other words. And be consistent. If you start out strong and work at a certain pace in the first week, and then in the second week you are lazy and unproductive, this is not going to impress your boss. You must be consistent if you want to be on the good side of your boss.
- Offer to work overtime, as needed.
Nobody expects you to be a slave, but being available to work overtime is a way to get on your boss’s good side – especially if you knew that overtime hours were a part of the job when you took the job. A strict 9 to 5 schedule is not necessarily the culture at every workplace. You must gauge your workplace. If overtime is needed, be prepared to do the overtime. This is a way to get on your boss’s good side. A way to get on your boss’s bad side is to take a job that you know requires overtime, then refuse to work overtime once you get the job. Don’t let that be you.
- Understand the difference between working “hard” and working “smart”.
A lot of people confuse this concept of working “hard” and working “smart”. There is a big difference between the two. People can work hard their whole lives and have nothing to show for it at the end of their working life. Others succeed by doing a lot less. They do less but they get all the accolades and praise, and they have money to show at the end. They have a good retirement nest egg. Whereas other people worked hard and in the end, they are struggling to make ends meet when they retire.
When you are new on a job, it is the same thing. There is a big difference between working hard and working smart. Working “smart” means a lot of things. It is about networking and knowing the right people. It is about having the respect and admiration (as opposed to the fear and resentment) of your boss. It is about always looking for your chance to climb up the ladder, but doing it in a way that you do not cause other people to get nervous. It is about having good negotiation skills. It is about always improving your skills so that you are indispensable to your boss. It is about always making your boss feel like the star without trapping yourself in a low-level situation for your whole career. It is about always looking busy even when you are not. It is about knowing how to bring value to your boss and to your company. It is not just about working overtime. The right people have to know that you are working overtime. And the overtime that you work must bring value to your boss and to your organization. You will get on your boss’s good side a lot quicker if you work “smart.”
- Work well with the team.
People who are team players usually get on their boss’s good side quicker than people who are more independent, or who do not work well in a team. Bosses do not have time to referee office conflicts. They want someone who fits in and blends in right away. They do not want employees who are headaches and whose time at the office ends up in the HR department or in a courtroom. So, if possible, try to get along with the team –especially in the beginning few months of your employment. Your boss will love you a lot more when you get along with the team, because it makes his or her job a lot easier.
- Don’t ask too many questions (act like you know)
If you ask to many questions in the beginning of your time at the office, and you seem like you do not know what you are doing, this could be a problem. Your boss will get irritated with you because usually, your boss does not have the time to spoon feed you. Sure, you need training. Everybody needs training in the beginning. But if you seem like you just don’t understand anything at all, and if your boss needs to keep explaining things to you, you probably are not going to get on her good side, and you will not succeed. So that means that sometimes, you have to try to figure it out for yourself. Do not ask your boss too many questions. Try to find a co-worker who you can ask, but be careful here as well because co-workers can talk about you behind your back to the boss. They can set you up to look bad to your boss. So be careful. Try to figure out as much as you can for yourself, so that your boss thinks you know what you are doing.
- Take short lunches and other breaks.
Sure, you are entitled to an hour lunch and many companies allow you to take two breaks during the day. Legally, this is your right. But if you choose to shorten your lunch break and your other breaks so that you can get the job done, this is something a lot of bosses will appreciate very much. On the other hand, if you are prone to taking long lunches and long breaks, your boss will notice, and he or she will not like that. So, the choice is yours. But, if you want to get on the good side of your boss, try to take short lunches and breaks as often as possible during your probation period.
- Show loyalty to your boss as opposed to your company at this point.
In the beginning weeks and months of your new job, if you want to survive your probation, make your boss feel like the rock star. This is who you need to be loyal to in the first few months, not the company. Your boss needs to know that you have his or her back. They need to know where your loyalties lie. They need to believe they can trust you. So, if you want to be on your boss’ good side in the beginning, be sure that your boss knows that it is he or she that you are “loyal” to – not the company in general.
- Know “who is who” and be able to adapt to any situation.
Even though you are a newbie, you can’t be sitting there in Lalaland, not knowing “who is who”, and “what is what” at your workplace. You have to be enterprising. You have got to know what is going on. You have got to know who the players are. As quickly as possible, you have got to acquaint yourself with the people around you. You have got to know the lay of the land. And you have got to be flexible and adaptable. Your boss will love you for it and you will be sure to get on his or her good side.