3 Strategies to Position Yourself as Your Bossís Trusted Ally
Developing a strong relationship with your boss is one of the most important tools for career success.
For those looking to really excel in the workplace, itís about more than simply being a good worker or a contributing member of the team. If you truly want to get ahead, positioning yourself as a trusted ally for your boss is a great way to start.
To be clear: Aligning yourself with the boss doesnít mean being disloyal to your colleagues. The idea isnít that youíll be some kind of spy, reporting back to leadership about the inner machinations of your team.
It simply means that youíre positioning yourself as a partner, someone who is in tune with the bossís needs and concerns, and able to offer a valuable perspective as a confidant. Think of it as the kind of relationship that exists between a President and Vice President. The President is the one with ultimate authority, but the VP is a sounding board and advisor.
Now, the question is: How do you become a trusted ally when youíre not necessarily the official ďsecond-in-commandĒ? Here are some steps you can take, no matter what your position.
1. Find Solutions
An employee finds problems; a trusted ally finds solutions. When you identify an issue in the workplace, never simply drop it at your bossís feet and ask for a solution. By doing so, you position yourself as someone who needs to be managed. Youíve just added an item to your bossís already overflowing to-do list.
Instead, brainstorm to come up with possible solutions as well. Present the problem, along with your recommended solution, and be prepared to take the lead in executing it.
When you do this often, your boss begins to see you as a problem solver, a helper, someone who can make his or her life easier, not harder.
2. Offer Your Opinions
Every day, your boss is making a number of decisions that affect your team and the organization. Itís not always easy for leaders to see how these things will impact the people involved. By offering your informed opinion, you can provide useful insight that might otherwise be overlooked.
The trick when offering opinions is to do so respectfully, and with the understanding that it may or may not influence the final outcome. Always ask, ďCan I offer an opinion?Ē before launching into your perspective. If itís not wanted, donít push forward. If it is, be prepared to share specific, well-articulated evidence to back up your ideas.
3. Share Feedback
Leaders can, at times, operate in a bubble. They may not fully grasp how their team members are feeling about certain situations. As a trusted ally, you can essentially be a voice for the team. You can let your boss know when morale is low or when people are in need of recognition for a job well done. You can also share positive feedback, when things are going especially well.
The key here is to speak in broad strokes. Youíre not singling anyone out or sharing the micro-details of specific conversations. Your team trusts you; donít jeopardize that. Instead, think of yourself as a liaison between the collective group and leadership.
The idea of becoming a trusted ally for your boss may push you outside your comfort zone. But donít let that stop you. Leaders, like the rest of us, need people they can trust who want them to succeed. You have the power to be one of those