5 Ways to Make Your Boss Look Good (and Yourself, Too)

By Robert Half on August 14, 2015 at 1:00pm

Your boss is one of the most important people in your career, but even great managers aren’t perfect. Wondering how to make your boss look good without coming off as a kiss-up or compromising your principles? Can it even be done? Absolutely.

Making your boss look good isn’t about being the first to say something positive or pretending an idea is better than it really is. You don’t have to feel like you’re abandoning your principles or standards to shine a positive light on your manager. Here are five ways to make your boss look good without sacrificing your dignity:

1. Give credit where it’s due 

One of the easiest ways to make your boss look good is to simply acknowledge his or her contributions when one of your projects goes well and praise comes your way. If your manager contributed to the success (even in small way), be sure to mention it. Publicly praising your manager — and other helpful creative colleagues who pitched in — shows everyone that you’re a team player who appreciates the help you get from others.

2. Always focus on the positives 

Your manager’s list of skills, accomplishments and virtues may be a mile long, or it may leave something to be desired. Some bosses are certainly easier to compliment than others, but there’s always something praiseworthy to talk about: Maybe your boss is approachable and humorous, maybe you work for someone with the uncanny ability to inspire others, or perhaps he or she helped you plot your career path. Find the positives whether you’re talking with the newly hired intern, a manager from another department, or the CEO.

3. Flag issues early

Your performance reflects on your boss. So, when there’s a storm brewing — an unhappy client, communication breakdowns with other departments, a malfunctioning copy machine — your boss needs to be one of the first to know. While you don’t want to tell your employer about every issue that arises, you also don’t want to let your boss get blindsided by bad news or challenging situations. These decisions can be tricky, so try seeing things from your manager’s perspective: Would you want to know about this?

4. Offer help when you can

If you have extra time on your hands, find out where your boss needs additional assistance and get to it. You might offer to help with copy editing, research or attending a meeting on his or her behalf. Simply put: Ask where your boss could use some help, and then do what you can to pitch in.

5. Look good yourself 

Be a positive force all on your own. Whatever your responsibilities, commit to giving your all. The higher-ups will see your boss managing a dedicated and hard-working employee, and that will reflect positively on both of you.

In the end, you don’t have to kiss up to anyone to make your boss look good. Be a loyal and team-oriented employee and your boss — and your boss’s boss! — will notice.

Read our free guide on how to navigate office politics now!

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