9 ways to market yourself to your boss without looking like a brown nose

November 8, 2010 · 1 comment

Do you ever do any personal marketing? I mean the kind of ‘personal’ marketing where you’re selling yourself and your strengths to your boss or supervisor? Have you ever thought about the fact that you personally can do things to build your brand just like any other business does?All of us understand the importance of marketing our products and/or services and our company to the community around us, but we often forget or overlook the importance of marketing ourselves to the people we work for.

I believe one of the best ways anyone can market themselves to their boss is by simply showing gratitude and appreciation for the job they’ve been given. But exactly how do you say thank you to your boss without looking like a brown nose?

A lot of people have a different viewpoint on this, but no matter how much you debate the topic of showing gratitude to your employer, the truth is we should always show gratitude to those that help us. I have owned my own business for 27 years now, but during the 15 years previously when I had a boss, I know I advanced my career much faster because I made a habit of letting all of my bosses know how much I appreciated the job and opportunity they gave me.

Here is my list of nine creative ways to say “thank you” to your boss. You may find these ideas helpful as you build your personal brand:

1. Show up. I was always there, at work, and rarely did I take a day off because I was sick. Though there were plenty of times when I had headaches or stomach bugs, or maybe I was tired from doing too much on the weekend, I never let it keep me away from my work. In fact, there were many years where I had perfect attendance. Now, you may think your boss doesn’t notice, but they do. “Being there” demonstrates your dependability and reliability, and it makes your boss’s job easier.

2. Be on time. I made a habit of getting to work on time no matter what the weather was like or how much traffic there was. I just planned ahead. In fact, one of the best career tips I ever got was from my old wood-shop teacher in high school. He taught all of us that being on time meant arriving 5 to 7 minutes early and not flying in the door 5 seconds before the bell rang. Frankly, as an employer, I am continually surprised year after year by how difficult it is for some employees to make it to work on time. This is an area where you can make a very positive impression, and it’s really easy to do. Being on time isn’t complicated. It just requires a different way of thinking. You honor your boss by showing up on time, and you make yourself look good in the process.

3. Buy them a can of pop. If you really want to freak out your boss the next time you walk by his office, poke your head in the door, smile, and say, “Hey, I’m on the way to the break room. Can I buy you a Coke or Pepsi?” If you know what kind of soda pop they drink, it’s even better just to buy it and drop it by their office. At the most, I did this about twice a year, and every time I did it my bosses seemed genuinely surprised and thanked me profusely. Just imagine how good it made them feel, and only cost me $.75.

4. Ask your boss the “most important question ever.” There is one question I would ask my new boss on the first or second day I started working for them. I would ask, Is there anything around here that needs to be done that nobody else wants to do?” That simple, but powerful question always — and I mean always — got my relationship with my new boss off to a good start. Yes, I did get assigned some pretty tough and creepy assignments. But I never complained and did the very best job I could. Several of my bosses told me they’d never had anybody ask a question like that before. You don’t have to be a new employee to ask your boss this question. You can ask it any time, and I would encourage you to just try it and watch what happens.

5. Say thank you on payday. It’s very easy to think of your paycheck as a type of entitlement because “you’ve earned it.” Of course, you have worked hard, but try to keep sight of the fact that payroll is probably the single largest expense at the company you work for. Sometimes, in smaller businesses that have less than 25 employees, it is not uncommon for the owner of the company to sometimes bypass paying themselves just to make sure that everybody else gets paid. I have discovered in my 27 years of owning a business that very few of my employees have ever said thank you on payday. I don’t feel badly when they don’t, but I’m always pleasantly surprised when they do. Going out of your way to say “thank you” on payday is a small way to express gratitude to your boss.

6. Quote your boss. If you’ve been in a situation where your boss has really helped you in some way, then don’t hesitate to quote him in situations where you can pass on the helpful concept to another coworker. So if he or she has helped you solve a problem and you are now demonstrating the solution to one of your coworkers, it’s a great idea to make sure you quote your boss. There are usually opportunities to do this in their presence or absence, and there is no harm in giving credit to those who deserve it.

7. Ask for advice. When you are facing a problem, don’t overlook going to your boss directly and asking for advice. Thank him or her for the help they have offered in the past and ask for the help again. Use this as an opportunity to thank your boss for something which they maybe did in the past. The fact that you remembered and brought it up shows kindness and respect. These are characteristics that bosses admire in employees and will remember the next time they have some plum assignment or an open spot somewhere else in the organization. It could result in a promotion or pay raise for you.

8. Send Christmas cards. I always made a point to send Christmas cards that had a couple of sentences or a personal note from me on them. I never sent birthday cards because I thought that might seem like I was trying a little too hard or brown nosing, but I did frequently send National Boss Day cards. National Boss Day has been around for 50 or 60 years, but it’s not a very popular “holiday.” In fact, I’m pretty sure the whole concept of National Boss Day was contrived by somebody at Hallmark Cards. But that doesn’t really make any difference because most bosses have heard of it, and they rarely will get a National Boss Day card from anyone else in the organization, even if the company has two or 300 employees. One time, I sent one of my bosses a National Boss Day card, and when I went in his office about three weeks later, I saw that card sitting over on the corner of his desk. He’d saved it all that time, and even though he never said anything directly to me, it was clear to me at that moment that he appreciated it.

9. Be gentle when you quit. You have to understand that your boss may not be too happy when they hear you’re going to be leaving. One of the smartest things you can do if you quit your job is to thank your boss in personal communications or during your last public statements as you’re leaving. I always made a point to be full of humility and gratefulness during my last days of employment. It’s not a time to brag it up among your coworkers about what a great new job and opportunity you have with your new employer. I actually went an extra step with all of my employers and tried to keep in touch with them — at least on a limited basis — after I’d left their employment. Today, everyone is so connected through social media like Facebook are LinkedIn, you never know where and how a good recommendation from a past employer will come in handy. Leaving on a positive note is good for everybody.

So there you have it: nine ways that I used to show appreciation to my past employers. A thank you is not always necessarily shown or demonstrated simply by saying two words. There are many ways that you can show gratitude and appreciation to your boss. If you do it with sincerity, you will not only get noticed by your boss but, chances are, you’ll receive favor from him or her as well. You won’t be doing it to receive favor, but there’s a very good chance you will anyway. That’s why I call it marketing yourself… and building your brand.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that the marketing ideas shared here are free for you to use. If you have a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page for your printing firm, you are more than welcome to use this article as a link on any of your social media pages.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Barry Martin November 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Great Tips, Mike!
I have been surprised how few people show gratitude today, and when they do, it is so refreshing and rare that it really stands out!
Speaking of which, Thank-You for the many ways you have contributed to the printing industry! You are truly an example of sharing your knowledge and expertise with others. In turn, you have been blessed, even though that was not your motive for doing so.


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