Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you.
Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.
The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion. If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it's still likely that you'll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you've been doing more than your share, and he or she won't be able to take a new position without your help.
Maybe you're only 27 years old, or maybe you've only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you're willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.
Stay on top of your job, your department's goals, and your company's objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department's goals are, and determining your company's objectives. First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion. Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.
Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups -- department, division, project team -- your group has objectives. As discussed previously, goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group's goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.
Finally, be aware of your organization's mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don't already know it, find out. Your organization's brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out. The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.
Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" and the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com