by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs
It's more important than ever to make sure your boss is happy with your performance. In tenuous times, your supervisor is one of the few people who may be able to shield you from a layoff. She may also be able to help you pursue a promotion down the road.
However, like any relationship, the one between you and your boss can get stale. You may grow complacent over time or you may never start off on the right foot. The good news is that it's never too late to breathe new life into how you work with your supervisor, thanks to these expert tips from Alexandra Levit, author of "New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career."
If you heed these five hints, you'll not only contribute to your job security; you'll also win your boss's admiration and appreciation -- as well as a little loyalty.
1. Be humble. In other words, be mindful of the fact that it's not all about you. Says Levit, "Don't approach your boss with a sense of entitlement, as though he is personally responsible for furthering your career. Instead, focus on learning what you can do to make his life easier, contribute to your company's goals, and make him look good to his boss."
2. Be honest. Everyone makes mistakes -- and you're no exception. Be forthcoming about it from the start. "Admit if you do something wrong, and then ask your boss how you can rectify the situation. Don't allow yourself to get caught in a maze of lies or excuses that will result in a loss of credibility," she advises.
3. Be respectful of the boss's time. If you think your plate is full, consider that of your boss. Use your time together wisely and efficiently. Levit suggests, "Appear in her office with a checklist of things you need to cover, and don't dwell too long on any particular subject. Your boss will be more receptive to meeting with you if she knows you'll be in and out of his office quickly."
4. Be self-sufficient. Be mindful of the fact that your supervisor doesn't have the bandwidth to hold your hand through every crisis or help you make every difficult decision that lands on your desk.
"Only approach your boss with a problem or complaint if you've explored all options for resolving it yourself. When you do, be prepared to have a solution at hand that you could implement with her help," says Levit, who is also a contributor to The Wall Street Journal.
"Choose your battles wisely, and decide carefully if bringing an issue to your boss's attention is really necessary or if you would be better off letting it go," she adds.
5. Be a "can-do" employee. Redefine the concept of a "yes man" (or "yes woman") at the office. She advises, "When your boss asks you to do something, accommodate him, if possible. The words 'I don't have time' should never escape your lips. If you know something needs to be done, do it without being prodded, and if your boss asks for help in a group setting, be the first to volunteer."
If you're always amenable, Levit believes,
"Your boss will quickly come to see you as a huge asset to the team and as someone he can count on…”