How To Keep Your Boss Happy (And Why You Should Care)

If you want to be happier at work, you need to keep your boss happy. If this isn’t obvious to you now, don’t worry I will explain why. In this article I will share with you what I do that makes my boss happy. I know it does because he tells me regularly. I know, I am very luck to have such a great relationship my boss. But it is really luck? Read on to find out how I have achieved this.  

Why Should You Keep Your Boss Happy

There are many reasons why you should keep your boss happy. Personally, I want to work in a friendly environment, free from tensions, where I feel supported, and I can have a laugh with my colleagues. I am very lucky to be able to call my current team members friends, and that includes my boss.

But it wasn’t always the case. I have worked in environments that were tense, with difficult managers and colleagues, where there was competition, lack of trust and just too much ego.    

Let’s be honest, your boss is the team leader and sets the tone. So, if you want to work in a friendly environment, it starts with making the boss happy.

But there will be other, long terms advantages to keeping your manager happy. Your boss will be more inclined to say yes to your requests (for example if you want to take prolonged time-off or reduce your hours) and to support your development and promotion.

So really it is in the greater good 😉

Now let me show you how you can influence your boss’ mood!

How To Keep Your Boss Happy

When you are new

I like this article published on Forbes on how to make your boss happy when you start a new role: 

25 Easy Ways To Make Your Boss Happy but I don’t agree with all of it.

For example, you will see the author, Liz Ryan, suggest that you plan the next day in the evening at home and that you plan your week at the weekend at home. This might impress your boss, but I personally think this is not healthy as you never switch off. My recommendation in How To Put Yourself First At Work (Without Losing Your Job) is to fully disconnect from work in the evenings and at the evening to improve your wellbeing.

While Liz’s advice is good and you should absolutely plan the next day’s and next week’s work, my advice is to do this before you leave the office.     

When you have been here for a while and want to change things

High Quality Work

The most important thing is to produce high quality work. Don’t just do the bare minimum to get by, produce outstanding work consistently.  

I like the way Linda Raynier explains this point in her video How To Gain Respect (From Your Boss Or Manager):

But even though this is the first step, this alone is not enough. I have actually seen extremely good employees (from a technical point of view) being in conflict with their manager.

Be a team player

Put yourself in the shoes of your boss for a minute. What is her job? Her job is to manage a team. She needs her direct reports to work together well and to keep her updated of what is going on.

This is what you can do to make her job easier:

  • Keep your boss updated;
  • Support your team members – their success is the team’s success; it doesn’t take anything from you and your boss will be grateful; 
  • Do not gossip about your team members – if you have an issue with someone, be a grown-up, solve it between the two of you. If you need advice on managing conflict at work, click here 😊;  and
  • Put your hand up when you have capacity – if you are aware that the team is struggling with a high workload and you have capacity to take one more work, mention it to your boss.

Bring your best self to work

This may sound obvious, but it is worth mentioning. Moods are contagious, so you want to be spreading happiness and positivity. Which always reminds me of…

If you turn up to work with a positive attitude and a smile on your face, you will light up the people around you and that includes your boss and your team members.

If you are enjoying this article, you might enjoy this one too:  How To Find A Job That Makes You Happier

I know that I pay particular attention to the vibe of a person when I am interviewing because I want to be surrounded by people who lift me up, not dragged me down. There is nothing I can do about the people who were in the team before I join, but our team is more fun since I have started to get involved in the recruitment process. They are of course competent too; this goes without saying.

Embrace change 

Management don’t just change things in the company for the sake of it. They know change is disruptive so if they ask for it, it is because they believe it is in the best interest of the company.

Your boss will have to implement the change and deal with the people who are resisting it.

By embracing the change and responding positively to it, you are creating one less issue for your boss to deal with. She will be more grateful than you know.

Also there is no point resisting a change decided by the management. So, by embracing it, you are also making your life easier.

Take feedback with grace

This is another dreaded moment for most managers: giving feedback to direct reports. You can make this easier for your boss if you accept feedback for what it is: a discussion on how you can improve your performance.

Feedback is NOT a personal attack. In fact, it is a discussion for your benefit. No one is perfect, we all have areas for development. So do not take it personally, listen to what your boss has to say and be open to understanding how you can improve things going forward.

If you can listen to feedback, take it on board and make the changes required, not only will you keep your boss happy, but you will progress faster because you will get better at your job.

Make your boss look good

Support your boss wherever you can. It will be greatly appreciated.

  • Are they struggling with a deadline? Offer to help.
  • Are they producing an output for senior management? Offer to proof-read and suggest improvements (with diplomacy).
  • Do they need to not attend a call you are also attending due to other priorities? Offer to take the lead and report back to them afterwards.  

Also thinking long term, by getting involved with your boss’ work is a good learning exercise for you and will help you improve. Your boss is the boss for a reason. If you want to progress, learn from her.

Bring solutions, not problems

If you need to bring something to your boss because it needs her approval or because you need a sounding board, spend some time first really thinking about this matter. Prepare for the discussion by gathering all the relevant facts that your boss would need to be able to make a decision, and propose a recommendation

This will save a lot of time for all parties involved. If you have correctly anticipated the questions your boss was going to ask, you won’t need to go on a factfinding mission afterwards. In fact, this is exactly what you want to avoid because it would make you look like you don’t know what you are talking about, and it is a waste of your boss’ time.

Also by making a recommendation, you are showing you are ready to make the decision yourself.

Key take-aways

By doing the following regularly:

  • Produce high quality work 
  • Be a team player
  • Bring your best self to work
  • Embrace change
  • Take feedback with grace
  • Make your boss look good
  • Bring solutions, not problems

you will keep your boss happy, which in turn will make you happier at work, and it might give a boost to your career. You’re welcome 😊

This article is part of the series Happier At Work, which you can find here.

As always I want to hear your stories! What is the one thing that you do that keep YOUR boss happy? Let me know in the comments!

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