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How to Satisfy the Boss

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Cultivating a working relationship requires you and your boss to become fully vested in the connected responsibility you have -- contributing to the success of the organization, as individuals and as a team. Nowhere in your job description does it indicate that one of your tasks is to "satisfy your boss," but that's what you must do to live up to your end of the teamwork bargain. You're hired to satisfy the professional requirements of your boss through meeting her expectations, exhibiting admirable professional traits and being fully engaged in your work.

Meet Expectations

Living up to the expectations of your boss is at the core of satisfying any supervisor or manager. When you accepted your position, a manager or someone from human resources described your job duties or gave you a written job description. One of the key factors of a job description is the final statement that states, "And other such duties required," which means that the expectations of your boss include not just the duties that you already know are part of your job, but other responsibilities your boss deems are required.

Be Dependable

Dependability and reliability are among those professional traits that employers search for in promising candidates and employees. During the interview process, it's likely that you talked about all the positive attributes you possess, including how committed your are to your field and how you devote the time necessary to complete your work. Job candidates stress their capabilities because they know employers want workers they can depend on to be at work and to put in a day's work for a day's pay, according to the old adage. When you lobbied for your position and the company extended an offer, you essentially entered into a social contract with the prospective employer. That said, to satisfy your boss, follow through and demonstrate all those wonderful characteristics you talked about before you were hired.

Exercise Discretion

Depending on your position, you might be privy to information that your boss would be disappointed to learn that you disclosed to others. Treat all of your business matters and job responsibilities with discretion, even if you're not handling something that's specifically labeled "confidential." Gaining the trust of your boss is critical to developing a solid professional relationship that will benefit you in the long run. If you're interested in promotional opportunities, one way to ensure your boss will consider you is to demonstrate trustworthy behavior and sound business ethics.

Show Initiative

Sitting back waiting and for your boss to hand out assignments doesn't showcase your interest in career advancement. Speak up if you're interested in learning more about the business and the organization, and tell you boss if you want training to acquire new skills or update the ones you have. These are part of a strategy to increase your value to your boss and the organization. Inquire about more work if you're willing to illustrate aptitude for new business areas and varied job duties.

Show Engagement

The more you enjoy what you're doing, the more engaged and enthusiastic you are about your job. Employees who are -- what HR experts call "fully engaged" -- take ownership of their role within the organization, and they perform their job duties to make their bosses proud of them. That's a surefire way to satisfy your boss, because if you make her look good, she's more likely to bestow upon you both tangible and intangible rewards to express her appreciation.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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