Focus on getting the job done right, on schedule, and only work late when you really have to.
While you may think that by staying late into the evening you're impressing your boss, you could actually be tarnishing your image. When your boss sees you working late or hears you talking about your long hours on the job, he may begin to wonder why you can't get the job done during your regular work hours. Worse yet, he may begin looking at you as "self-serving."
Believe it or not, your boss wants you to be happy. A happy employee is a loyal employee, who is more prone to produce better work. And a happy employee is one who isn't forced to work day and night.
Remember that your boss is a living, breathing person who has a pulse, and probably a family. In other words, bosses are mere mortals just like you. They too have supervisors they need to answer to, and sometimes can get overwhelmed.
If you can recognize that your boss may need help from time to time, and you have the ability to offer it, you will definitely notice an improvement in your relationship. The key is to know when to offer help. You don't want your boss thinking you're trying to muscle your way into her position, so play it smart and offer the help when you can tell she needs it most. Sometimes, the smallest gesture (or lack of it) can make a dramatic difference come performance review time.
Just like on the Reality TV show, "Project Runway," in the workplace you're either in or you're out. In a '90s "Harvard Business Review," it was discovered that within five days of meeting, a supervisor will sort employees into two categories: those who are in and those who are out.
Needless to say, the "ins" typically receive the accolades and promotions. The "outs" will toil endlessly and remain static. If you are currently in the "outs," you need to fix the problem--fast!
Since your supervisor won't be calling to discuss the issue with you, you need to be proactive and ask to schedule a meeting with him. Talk out your issues and show why you believe you have been mislabeled. Just like when two kids duke it out on the playground, afterward, the two of you will have a new-found respect for each other.
Don't make false promises or sugarcoat things. When your boss asks you a question, give her the facts, even when you know it's not what she wants to hear. An employee who is honest and truthful in every situation, is an employee who will not likely get fired before employees who act otherwise.
Give it to her straight; don't allow personal feelings about other employees to interfere and don't walk on glass around your boss' feelings. Your boss knows that the truth is what's best for the company, and she'll appreciate your honesty.
Treat your boss like he has all the answers (although you may think you know more about your job than your boss, and in some cases you probably do). Many supervisors like being asked to help solve a particularly difficult dilemma. It boosts their ego to know that only they have the insight to come up with the solution. After all, that's WHY they're the boss!
Just be careful not to overdo it. If you go to your boss for help with every problem under the sun, you will begin to look like an employee who can't handle his responsibilities. Do your job and ask your boss for help with a difficult problem every once in a while. It shows that you are willing to learn and that you aren't afraid to ask for help from those who "know more" than you do.
Provide relevant information in the format your boss can absorb best. For some, it may be via the printed page, and for others it may be through an email. Some may comprehend the information better through a face-to-face meeting. It may take some time to figure out which avenue your boss prefers her information, but once you know, be sure to use it. And don't be afraid of providing too much information. For most bosses, they can never receive too much information.
Be proactive in your own opportunity for advancement. Take initiative and ask for more responsibility (if you can handle it). Remember, your boss doesn't want to hear false promises. But, if you can manage more responsibility or you want to take a stab at a higher profile job task, ask for it. If you can prove yourself, you'll be making great strides toward a future promotion--and you'll be showing your boss just how valuable you really are.
Be cordial to everyone at work, share a smile and be positive. Nothing can bring a workplace atmosphere down to the ground like a negative person. Nobody wants to hear someone complain all day and nobody wants to look at your scowl all day either. A happy worker makes the workplace a happier environment--and your boss will definitely like having you around.
Dress for success. One way is to dress in a similar manner as your boss. If your boss wears a nicely tailored suit to each board meeting, you should do the same. It builds an instant camaraderie. Just don't try to overshadow your boss by wearing a more expensive suit or clone his look down to the socks! That will definitely work against you. Besides, those socks may have been the only clean ones he could find, and would never be caught dead in them otherwise.
Socialize with your boss, but know your limits. You can initiate an offer by saying to your boss, "Hey, a bunch of us are going to such-and-such for lunch, care to join us?" This will tell the boss that you enjoy her company on a personal level and that you wish to include her in your inner-circle.
However, if you should come across your boss during off-work hours, it's best to keep your meeting polite, but brief. You don't want to come across as overbearing. Employees who are "too friendly" with their boss are always looked upon negatively by their coworkers and in the eyes of their boss, may appear overeager.