5 Ways To Help Your Staff Make You Look Good

Early in my career I got some sage advice at a work party. Being younger and naive and feeling sorry for myself I could not resist complaining about my manager to the head of our business, the COO. Our then Chief Operations Officer told me something that got me quite unexpectedly:

Your job is to make your boss look good!

This can be a tough one to swallow especially if respect and trust ranks low. The reality however is that this is the best advice I have ever been given. This fundamental politics of organizational life and politics is not always sweet. Putting it in perspective, this applies up the chain right to the top. If your job is to make your boss look good then your bosses job is to make his boss look good and up it goes. This applies to everyone at work.

When people make their bosses look bad by under-performing it reflects on their bosses performance. By the same token your high performance reflects well on those above you and in more cases that not a shrewd manager knows who makes him/her look good. Applying this rule in almost all cases will bode well for you.

So what is the take-away lesson?

Doing your best is mandatory. It must not be contingent on the behaviour of others. Yes, even your boss.

If you manage people there are things you can do to help them make you look good. In discussing this with an employee of mine he requested 5 things from me to help him do his job well so that I would look good. Here they are:

  1. Be Available
  2. Be Responsive
  3. Be Decisive
  4. Be Open
  5. Be Communicative

Once again excellent council comes from your people.

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