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The Simple Change You Can Make Today That Will Transform How Your Boss Sees You

By | Stav Ziv |

What if I told you there’s one simple—though admittedly not always easy—way to make yourself a better employee? What if I promised that this approach would impress your boss, your team, and anyone else you work with, and make you seem far more competent, experienced, and ready to take on more responsibility? And what if I added that you can probably use it at least once a week if not every single day?

Well, here it is: Whenever you’re presenting someone with a question, a problem, or a sticky situation, have a suggested solution, too.

My parents taught me never to show up empty-handed. When you go to a birthday party, you bring a gift or a card. When a friend invites you over for dinner, you arrive with a bottle of wine or dessert. Similarly, when you approach your boss with any kind of query, you should bring at least one potential way to handle whatever it is. Brainstorming solutions might not be as fun as picking out a silly card or baking cookies (and eating a few before you give them away), but it’ll earn you major credibility.

In the most immediate sense, it reduces the burden you’re putting on them to tackle the issue from scratch and do all the work themselves. And because bosses are typically busy people, saving them time and effort is basically like giving them a pile of chocolate. (Relevant: While I was writing this article, my manager came back to her desk announcing that an hour and a half’s worth of meetings had just been canceled and I dare say she was beaming.)

But wait, there’s a metaphorical pile of chocolate in it for you too! While you’re making your boss’s job easier, you’ll also be demonstrating that you’re willing to put in the effort and able to take on bigger, more important tasks. You’ll also be getting actual practice handling complicated scenarios—before you have the onus of being the last word on them. In other words, there’s less pressure at this point in the game. Your answer doesn’t have to be exactly right—the point is just to have one. That’s how you’ll learn. Wins for everyone.

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