impress your bossNo matter the field or industry in which you work, you want to succeed at what you do. Success means sometimes learning how to impress your boss to receive recognition, promotions, raises, and even good references for your next job.

While success can be defined personally, others often need to recognize your professional success as well. You want to do well in the eyes of your peers and boss. If the boss sees your accomplishments, you’ll have more opportunities for advancement.

So what can you do to impress your boss and push your career to the next level?

Below you’ll find the top four things that anyone in any industry should do in order to be a strong employee and make an impression on coworkers and superiors.


  1. Take initiative to impress your boss.

Every boss wants to see that you’re hardworking and care about the business. Taking initiative is twofold: rolling up your sleeves and being a voice for the company.

Get to work:

If there’s a slow time during your shift, start filling sugar shakers or folding clothes. Show up to work a few minutes early, and leave a few minutes late. Even a little bit of extra elbow grease will get you noticed. The more you’re noticed, the more likely you’ll be remembered when a promotion is available.

Do the tasks that others don’t want to do. This is a surefire way to put yourself in a positive light with your boss and fellow coworkers. Does everyone gripe about taking the garbage out at the end of the night? Take the garbage out every time you have a closing shift. Your coworkers will notice, and they’ll appreciate you for it. When your coworkers appreciate you, they’re more likely to be your advocates in the future.

Share your ideas:

If you notice that something’s wrong, find a way to fix it or find someone who can. Most managers want to streamline processes for their employees and customers. You are on the front lines everyday, so you see what is and isn’t working. Don’t be afraid to speak up. But if you do speak up, don’t just offer up an opinion: offer a solution. Be creative, and present new ideas that can push the company forward.

Take a look at your overall output. How are you spending your hours at work? Are you being productive for your own growth as well as the growth of the company? How are you “earning your pay?”


  1. Be a team player.

Despite getting noticed by rolling up your sleeves and sharing your ideas, you also want to show that you can grow your team. Bosses want to see that you care about and support others. A key quality of leadership is empathy and a team-player mindset. Show this type of leadership in every role—even if you aren’t in a management position. This will automatically make your bosses think of you as a strong leader, and they’re more likely to push you through the promotion pipeline faster.

Being a team player means understanding the common goals of your group. These goals can be everything from “putting the customer first” to “fostering a positive work environment.” What does your team value, and how are you working to promote those values every day? How do you interact with your coworkers within this environment?

For example, if you function in a tip-heavy restaurant, do you hoard tips or offer to split them? Are you the first to share your tips with bus boys and dishwashers? Although this depends on the culture of the restaurant, you want to be the person who promotes equality. This is a short-term loss of money for a long-term gain.

But it’s more than just money as well. Are you listening to the opinions and feelings of others? Are you staying out of “drama” in order to promote a healthy work environment for all?


  1. Keep up with your industry.

What’s going on in the industry that will affect your company? What technological changes are influencing the way your business will operate? How is the market adapting? Are there any shifts in consumer behavior?

Knowing your business demonstrates a genuine care and investment in your job, the company, and the people on a larger scale. Having snippets of industry-related information to talk about is a great way to get noticed, remembered, and recognized. Plus, knowing your industry will make your shared ideas more credible (as we discussed in number 1).

Keeping up with the industry doesn’t have to be time-consuming or invasive. Follow relevant industry leaders, organizations, influencers, and news sources on social media; this will come up on your news feeds, so you have quick and simple access to crucial industry information. You can also read books in your field for a more in-depth review, especially if you plan on continuing forward in the same industry.

Even if you don’t plan on staying within the industry, the more you know, the better you will do. Plus, more information is always good for future interviews and jobs as well. Staying informed shows you are a hard worker with an investment in and passion for what you do.

How are you developing yourself within your industry? How will this accelerate your career?


  1. Ask for feedback.

Everyone hates getting negative feedback. It can be uncomfortable and hard to swallow. But no one is a perfect worker, and feedback is a great way to strive to be better. Voluntarily asking for feedback shows your boss that you want to grow professionally, which is a crucial skill in leaders and managers. Leaders grow so the company can grow in tandem.

Ask for an open line of communication with your peers. Encourage your boss and coworkers to give you 360-degree feedback. Then, handle that feedback with poise, whether positive or negative. Always listen to what they have to say, and thank them for their opinion.

Of course, you don’t need to take every piece of feedback as a personal assault or a necessary change. Consider the source and remember what was said. For example, a peer who works with you 20 hours per week may have more constructive feedback than a manager that works with you once or twice per month. Still, both opinions are valid. The former may better understand your work habits, while the latter may give you insight into how you are perceived in a short period. Think about the feedback you receive, who is giving that feedback, and how it can relate to your professional development.

How could you use that information to grow in your role? How will growing in your role impress your boss and make you a better worker?


The Bottom Line

There’s one more thing you should do to impress your boss and push forward your development: set goals. Setting appropriate goals will push you to 1) take initiative, 2) be a team player, 3) keep up with the industry, and 4) ask for feedback. A goal helps you better visualize where you want to be and how you can use these four steps to get to that end result.

Impressing your boss first comes from accomplishing those tasks and responsibilities that make you a strong, dedicated, and respected employee.

How do you add value to your workplace?