Boss Magic: how to succeed by influencing your boss

Getting ahead involves way more than just doing a great job. You’ve got to know how to lead the leaders and move the shakers. Here are 15 subtle yet powerful tips to help you influence your boss in a way that positions you for great favour and advantage.

How to succeed by influencing your boss

  1. Be reliable. Be the person who can be relied on to do what they promised they would do without drama, delays or excuses.
  2. Be honest. Be the person who can be relied on to tell the truth in a way that is open, transparent and respectful of those concerned.
  3. Be available. Be the person who will drop everything for the boss and be there when they call on you, especially in their hour of need.
  4. Be diplomatic. Be the person who is sensitive to the boss’s situation – their priorities, pressures, difficulties and struggles – and can be effective for them in a way that is wise and tactful.
  5. Be trustworthy. Be the person who can be relied on to preserve the confidentiality of everything the boss shares with you.
    How to succeed by influencing your boss | Be trustworthy
  6. Be invaluable. Be the person who understands what is most important to the boss – what they want and how they want it – and delivers it to them the moment they need it.
  7. Be loyal. Be the person who openly declares that they’re working hard to make the boss’s life easier and help them succeed in the short and long term.
  8. Be lead-able. Be the person who is enthusiastic to follow the boss’s vision, directions and way of doing things, even if it’s not the way you would do it.
    How to succeed by influencing your boss | Be lead-able
  9. Be respectful. Be the person who can disagree with the boss without making them wrong. This means being able to hear them out and respect their right to have a different opinion from you.
  10. Be receptive. Be the person who welcomes the input of the boss. This means being open and willing to receive their knowledge, experience, opinions, ideas, directions, feedback or advice.
  11. Be curious. Be the person whose first priority is to ask the boss for their opinion, experience or advice, rather than give your own. Be careful to not overdo your questions. Timing and tact are important.
  12. Be action-oriented. Be the person who is not only receptive to the input of the boss, but also acts upon it. If they give you advice or a recommendation, implement it and then report back to them as to how you went. Doing this honours them at the highest level.
  13. Be flexible. Be the person who can be gracious and flexible when it comes to scheduling and rescheduling meetings and other arrangements – never making them feel that you are doing them a huge favour.
  14. Be attentive. Be the person who will continue a conversation only for as long as the boss is driving it. The second you sense they need to go – even if you are mid-sentence – you will quickly end it and let them move on to their next meeting or task.
  15. Be robust. Be the person who is easy to talk to about the difficult things; who can hear criticism and negative feedback without taking it personally.

How to succeed by influencing your boss | Be robust

From your experience, what would you add to this list? Leave a comment and let’s discuss your thoughts.

For more illustrated ideas on influencing leaders refer to Chapter 5 in Robin’s book, The Fortune 8.

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  1. Helen Crozier on April 11, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    Love these tips Robin. They are so concise but critical and easy to forget in all of the noise we are surrounded by in today’s business. Loved reading this in your book and am grateful for the pop-up reminder.

  2. Ivor Kellock on April 13, 2014 at 2:44 am

    great share tx Robin 😉 great advice

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