“Make the boss look good and you’ll look good.”
That was some early advice I received in my professional career. There is a lot to that statement, and a lot of room for misinterpretation. A few meanings include:
- Don’t showboat
- Don’t try to one-up the boss
- Don’t publicly call-out the boss on his/her mistake
- Don’t go over the boss’ head (unless there are valid reasons for it, like legal, ethical, etc.)
But primarily it means just what it says. Prop the boss up. Do what you can to make the boss look good.
I can hear some of you now. “My boss is a clown and a jerk. Not gonna do it.”
That, of course, is your prerogative. But in my experience, the vast majority of the time, people take notice of YOU when you do your best, unselfishly, to make the boss look good, as opposed to trying to make yourself look good. It will take you much further in your career than doing the opposite.
Note: There is no FINE line between being a brown-noser and making the boss look good. It’s a big, fat, hairy, audacious line. Know the difference and don’t be a brown-noser.
Consulting is a lot like that.
Consultants aren’t paid to save the day. They aren’t paid to bring in that one big idea that is going to make a millionaire out of you. Sorry about that, Ace. Consultants are paid to help you look good. How?
Sometimes it’s through:
- Bringing specific, sometimes hard to find, expertise/experience to the team
- Providing a little inside industry knowledge that helps you make better decisions
- Sharing tidbits of actionable information
- Introducing a method or tool to help you do a better job
- Taking on some of your workload
- Helping you hold yourself accountable
A lot of the time, it’s simply by providing you with a sounding board (aka…just listen to you).
Note: A consultant is NOT there to tell you how badly you’re messing things up or how to run your business. Nor is a consultant there to tell you how handsome or pretty you are, or that you are God’s gift to all things everywhere.
Want to get ahead at work?
Be more than a great employee that is good at your job. Be a consultant, coach or advisor to your boss. Sometimes, that is more valuable than being the best task-master on the team.
More ways to get ahead.
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