It’s probably been many years since someone reminded you to “say the magic words” to get what you wanted, but it turns out “please” and “thank you” aren’t the only phrases that can help you get ahead at work.
Here are four things your boss would love to hear—but all too often doesn’t.
“These words are music to a boss’s ears,” says career coach and author Aaron McDaniels. Asking the boss about his goals and offering assistance is never a bad idea. It shows you’re focusing on more than just yourself, your goals and your duties.
“If you concentrate on making others (especially your boss) look good, then people will take notice, since everyone wants someone on their team who aligns their personal goals with the mission of the team,” he adds.
“Initiative is the single most valuable skill,” says Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant. “As a boss, it is easy to fall in love with employees who see the gaps and fill them.”
Your boss’ nightmare is hiring someone who needs her hand held through every single step of a project. If you see something that maybe needs to be fixed, ask. If you know it needs fixing, just do it.
This one sounds a little like glad-handing, but it’s really not. If your boss floats an idea, find a way to agree with at least a portion of it or the underlying problem that’s up for discussion. If you can frame your remarks in a positive voice that “resonates enthusiasm, agreement and support,” the boss will appreciate that, says Sandra Lamb, author of “3000 Power Words and Phrases for Effective Performance Reviews.”
“Even when you don’t think something is possible, or a good idea, state your response in a positive, enthusiastic tone. ‘We should certainly consider that.’ or ‘That’s a great beginning to the process…’ will work,” says Lamb. If you ultimately disagree with the larger idea, framing at least some aspect of your boss’ concerns in a positive manner will help you get your point across and make him happy.
See also: “I’ll take the lead on that.” and “I’ll get right on it.”
These sentences “express a spirit of proactivity and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done. A person with this type of approach voluntarily takes on responsibilities, follows up and follows through, is a pleasure to work with, and contributes to the boss’ and the team’s success,” says Todd Cherches, adjunct professor in HR at NYU and CEO of BigBlueGumball, a management and leadership development consulting firm.
Incorporate these statements into your office discourse, plus a sincere “thank you” when appropriate, and your boss won’t know how she lived without you.