How to Succeed When Your Boss Isn’t Awesome

 
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BY: LACEY LEONE MCLAUGHLIN

Remember when you got a job and the new company asked you who you would like to be your boss? Me neither. In the game of “having a successful and happy career,” choosing our boss is rarely a decision you get to make. In spite of rolling the boss dice in each new opportunity you take on, there are powerful steps you can take to be successful, without an awesome boss helping to drive your success.

Find People Who Will Support You

If your boss is not your #1 supporter – go find one! Other leaders, managers, and colleagues in your organization are a great resource and support for you. Don’t underestimate the power of support in your organization, even if it doesn’t come from your direct manager. Is there a leader you (or your colleagues) admire and have met informally or worked with? Ask to pick their brain over lunch or coffee and build internal advocates.

Lift Your head Up - Look Outside of Your Own Organization

Internal support isn’t the only place to find and build your success network. Your brand outside your organization is incredibly valuable – particularly when you’re looking for an external perspective or looking to do something different. Ask to have coffee with people you admire, are in fields or roles you find interesting, or will simply give you sound advice and feedback. Be prepared, ask good questions, and (of course) pay for their coffee while building a lasting and valuable relationship. Do this consistently throughout the year (aim for 2-3 meetings a quarter) and by the end of the year, you have a network of people who know you, support you and are invested in your success.

Build Your Brand

You own your brand and have the opportunity to build it for yourself in any organization you join. In many workplaces there are opportunities to work across departments, take on stretch assignments and project/team-based work. Seek out these opportunities, volunteer for them (ask around if you don’t know what they are) and learn as much as you can, do good work and allow people to see what you can do. Seize these opportunities, do a good job and be intentional about how you’re perceived.

An awesome boss isn’t always in our control but creating our brand and finding people to support us is. Start making purposeful choices about projects you take on and people you connect with and see the power that a supportive network and positive brand creates.

 
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