Words your boss wants to hear
The right words can do wonders, to get you noticed. Career experts suggest these top magic phrases. BY SASHA GONZALES
1 “YES, I CAN DO IT”
Your boss wants to see that you’re up for a challenge, you can do what needs to be done and that you’re positive about seeing it through. But, only say this if you really think you can, says Yasmine Khater, founder of Transpiral.org, a motivational company for women. Don’t over-commit – otherwise, you won’t be able to deliver.
2“I KNOW HOW TO SOLVE THIS”
When your team runs into a problem, don’t complain about it; be proactive and bring solutions to the table, advises Elfarina Zaid, executive and leadership coach at Elf Coaching. If it’s a perennial problem, suggest an action plan. This shows that you know how to look at the big picture and understand that it’s important to continually improve.
“HOW CAN I HELP?”
Volunteering your time and skills for new roles and projects will help you exercise your leadership abilities. But don’t just offer your services, says Elfarina. Share how you can help and explain why you’re perfect for the task. This also shows your boss that you are willing to go out of your way to get involved. “This puts you well ahead of your peers who are only concerned about what they’ve been paid to do,” says Elfarina.
4“IT’S MY FAULT. I’M SORRY”
Admitting to a mistake is never easy. Yasmine says your boss wants to see that you can take responsibility instead of making excuses or blaming somebody else. However, owning up isn’t always enough. Coming up with a solution to the problem also conveys that you’re willing to put things right and that you’re aware of how not to make the same mistake again.
“LET ME HANDLE IT”
When there is a crisis, your boss wants to know that she can rely on you to solve it. Instead of just sitting back and watching the problem unfold, show that you can take charge of the situation, says Elfarina. She will be happy to know that you can think on your feet and make tough decisions, and will give you extra credit for understanding that her time is better spent dealing with more important matters.
6 “I’VE DONE THE RESEARCH AND HAVE SOME IDEAS”
Your boss wants to see that you’ve come to a meeting prepared and that you have something meaningful to contribute, says Jasveer Mallany, executive coach and trainer at Acquire Coaching. “Be someone who can help move things along during a meeting and make sure that everybody’s time is spent productively. You will come across as someone who is efficient and has initiative. You are also saying to your boss: ‘I want to be a part of this, I want to be involved.’”
7 “HOW CAN I FURTHER MY CAREER?”
Someone else in your department got promoted over you? Don’t be resentful or complain about it. Instead, show your boss that you take your job seriously and are invested in your career, suggests Yasmine. Request extra training, develop a stronger work ethic, and show that you’re passionate about your role and the industry you’re in. Expressing ambition and a keenness to get ahead will put you on your boss’ radar when she considers whom to promote at the next performance appraisal.
8 “YOU WON’T NEED TO TELL ME TWICE”
This tells your boss that you understood her the first time and that you don’t need to be reminded to get something done, says Jasveer. The last thing any boss wants to do is to chase their staff and keep following up with them. You want to show her that you can be trusted to see a task through from the get-go and that you’ve registered her instructions.
9 “I LOVE MY JOB!”
Higher-ups like to see that their employees are passionate about what they do. Do not shy away from expressing this enthusiasm, Jasveer advises. “From a boss’ perspective, it’s always great to see a team member really relish her role. Happy workers are usually very good at what they do. They care about the quality of work that they produce and are serious about making a great impression.”
10 “OUR TEAM DID BRILLIANTLY. WE’RE AMAZING!”
By speaking positively about your team and acknowledging everybody’s contributions, you show that you are a team player. “Your people skills are what drive your ‘hard skills’ – that is, your milestones and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators),” says Elfarina. “Bosses notice when you have good relationships with your peers and subordinates. Team players are great at motivating others and helping them be better workers in the process.”