People like to be told their actions and words matter, and this is as true for your boss as it is for you and your coworkers. Showing appreciation for your boss can strengthen your relationship, improve your standing in your boss’s eyes, and help further your career.
Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to praise someone professionally, especially when the person in question is a manager or supervisor. Overdo the compliments and you come off looking like a sycophant, eager to curry favor with the boss by heaping praise on him or her. To compliment a work superior professionally, you need to know how to make someone feel valued without going too far.
Practicality Beats Grand Gestures
A quick Google search for creative ways to show employee appreciation for a boss yields some pretty elaborate methods, including surprise parties and gifts on Boss’s Day. Such gestures are best made by the team as a whole; otherwise, they come off as self-serving.
Often it’s the small, practical gestures that show your boss you appreciate his or her efforts. Many of the following approaches to showing your thanks require little effort but are effective ways to make the boss feel valued.
Simply Say Thank You
One of the most important business tips is taught in kindergarten — when someone does something for you, say thank you. It’s surprising how often discussions on how to make someone feel valued in the workplace neglect this simple life lesson. Often, a simple “thank you” is the most professional way to make someone feel appreciated.
Received a commendation from your boss? Say thank you. Had some unexpected time-off approved? Say thank you. Received important feedback during your 1:1? Say thank you. Expressing thanks verbally, in writing or through a public forum demonstrates your appreciation for your boss without resorting to flowery words or extravagant gifts.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide to One-on-Ones
Be Punctual and Reliable
Being on time for work, 1:1 meetings, conferences, and other work events shows you understand time is a finite commodity for both your boss and the organization. When your boss knows they can count on your punctuality, they know you value their time. This small courtesy goes a long way in a work environment.
Be Willing to Volunteer
Managers have plenty to concern themselves with. In addition to the regular business day, they have to contend with unforeseen events, such as sick employees and sudden changes to deadlines. Being willing to volunteer, work late, or take an absent employee’s shift takes some of the pressure off your boss, which they’ll appreciate.
Be proactive when volunteering. During 1:1 meetings, ask your boss what you can do to help him or her reach department or organization goals. Taking on extra responsibilities isn’t just a way to show appreciation for your boss; it also opens up avenues for career development you may not have considered.
Honesty is a vital component in any relationship, including that between an employee and his or her manager. Being honest shows you respect your manager as a professional, especially when they ask for feedback.
If you have concerns or questions, don’t hide them. Arrange 1:1 meetings to discuss issues. Be clear you’re bringing up concerns because you value your role (and that of your manager) in the organization, and want to ensure your department performs as efficiently as possible. If you’re really worried about your manager’s response to your input, read up on how to give feedback to your boss.
SEE ALSO: Ultimate Guide to Employee Check-Ins
Talk (Positively) Behind Their Back
Perhaps one of the most creative ways to show employee appreciation for your boss is a little gossip. The office water cooler or break room has long been a hub for work news and rumors. Use this to your advantage. Talk about problems the boss helped you solve or times when they stepped in to advocate for you. You don’t have to sing their praises to the heavens: just mention you appreciated their actions. You’ll improve their reputation, and given the nature of office break room talk, word is likely to get back to them you support his actions.
All of these tips have the potential to improve the outcomes of your 1:1 meetings with the boss. If he or she sees you as honest, appreciative, and willing to step up to help out, you’ll find your relationship with management improves tremendously, with positive results in the quality of feedback you receive, your daily work life, and your career development options.