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You're not at work to find a BFF, but it certainly doesn't hurt to be well-liked either. If you want to gauge your boss's enthusiasm for you and the job you're doing, look for a few basic clues such as giving you room to do your work and trusting you with special projects. When it comes to your relationship with your boss, being among the favored means you may be more likely to get a raise or promotion, but it can also make simple day-to-day interactions a little more pleasant.
When your boss is micromanaging you, it's a sure sign that she doesn't trust you to do your work. On the flip side, a hands-off manager might not be giving you the cold shoulder; she may instead be showing you that she's confident in your abilities – meaning she likes you as an employee – and doesn't need to hover over your shoulder.
Getting overly friendly with the boss may delve into some ethically challenging territory, but there may be other social cues that show she likes you. You don't have to hang out on the weekends, but she may usher you into her office for a private chat, or she may invite you out to lunch. She may also share sensitive or private information about the company with you – a sign that she trusts you and wants you to stick around. Believe it or not, bosses also like to be liked, advises "Inc." That said, tread carefully along the line between friendliness and revealing too much personal information.
No one likes getting extra work piled on to their already heavy workload, but getting extra work isn't always a punishment. In the same way that being hands-off is a sign of trust, getting assigned special projects is another way your boss shows she values your work. In some cases, those extra projects may allow you to explore a more creative aspect of your job, or in the best-case scenario, your boss is grooming you for bigger and better things. If she looks upset when you ask for time off, it may not be because she dislikes you, but rather that she needs you around, says "Women's Health."
Knowing your boss likes you is great and all, but you're really there for the money. When your boss likes you, the greatest compliment is financial reward. Your boss may not have the cash to start paying you that six-figure salary right now, but she may be able to give you a pay bump, provide you with an expense account, or give you a company car to show you that you're a valued employee. Also keep in mind that rewards, praise and general goodwill go both ways. Too few people take the time to tell a boss when she's getting it right, reminds U.S. News & World Report's Alison Green.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.
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