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Advice for new employees: Stop trying to impress your boss

February 21, 2015, 4:00 PM UTC
Undercover Boss
Photograph by Jeffrey Neira — CBS Photo Archive via Getty Images

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “During your first few months on the job, how can you impress your boss?” is written by Kat Cole, group president of FOCUS Brands.

If you really want to impress your boss the first week on the job – there’s only one surefire way – don’t focus on impressing your boss. Or better yet – redefine your boss – work on impressing your customers or your team. I’ve seen too many new employees dwell so much on impressing their new boss – that they miss meeting, learning and developing relationships with others who are equally as important to impress during those first few critical days and weeks. Show these people you are willing to learn, but roll up your sleeves and get right to the hard work with them. Of course, don’t ignore your direct manager, instead check in with your boss at agreed upon intervals (respect his or her time). This is when you can share key observations, ask questions, and give props for good work you witness early on from other employees (it never hurts to spread the love).

Think about it – what’s better: you trying to tell/show your boss how great you are? Or your customers and coworkers sharing with each other and possibly your boss how great you are to work with? Your boss wants to see results, the right relationships being built, and an approach that is complimentary to company’s culture. Be clear on any early objectives and align your time and focus with those. And one more thing: if results are one of the most important drivers for perceived success, it’s typically your team and your customers that help you deliver results much more so than your boss – don’t ever forget that.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: During your first few months on the job, how can you impress your boss?

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