5 Ways to Support Your Boss (Without Kissing Up)

I don’t know your boss.

She may be great. He may be a pain in the neck. He may be supportive. She may be a real witch.

I’ve been that boss. I’ve had all those bosses. All leaders have “bosses” of one sort or another. Sometimes you are the boss of you. Most of the times, someone else also enters the boss scene. Regardless of what breed of boss you have today.

My guess is your boss also…

  • wants you to succeed
  • is dealing with pressures you don’t fully understand
  • sometimes feels overwhelmed
  • is trying to please a boss too
  • is working to balance work and family
  • is doing the best s/he can
  • could use your help
  • ?

There’s the age-old advice “always make your boss look good.” I find it also useful to make them feel good– reduce the stress by making their job a bit easier.

5 Ways To Support Your Boss

  1. Sweat the small stuff. Do what you say you will, without reminding. Get ahead of deadlines. Administrative stuff is a drag, you boss has better things to do than to chase down your paper work.
  2. Communicate frequently in bulleted summaries— leaders often suffer from information overload. They are often called upon to summarize complex issues on the fly, that’s not when they want to go digging through emails. Resist the urge to cc and forward emails without a summary attached.
  3. Uncover issues & address them — your boss knows there are problems, shielding her from them will only make her nervous. Lift up the issues you are finding, along with the solutions to address them. She will sleep better knowing you are paying attention and are all over it.
  4. Thank him for his help. Be honest and specific. Done well and privately this is not brown-nosing– it’s feedback that can help him help you. A side benefit he will grow as a leader.
  5. Document your accomplishments. This is not bragging, it’s useful. Well timed, detailed summaries helps to support the performance management process.