9 proven ways to impress your manager

Did you know that one of the main reasons people leave organisations is their relationship with their manager? It’s surprising, yet true. 

There’s no relationship at work that’s more important to get right than the one you have with your direct line manager. They can make work fulfilling, exciting and rewarding – and help develop your career. 

On the flipside, a negative relationship with them will likely have you dreading Monday mornings and spending your work days unhappy, stressed and potentially running for the door.

The challenge here is that your career is – quite literally – in this person’s hands, so it’s vital to get it right. Luckily, it’s in your hands to create a good relationship from the outset.

Follow our tips on building a rich and fruitful relationship with your manager, whether you’ve worked with them for a while and want to improve relations, or you’re just starting out and want to get off on the right foot.  


1. Be open to feedback

Nothing gives a manager a greater sigh of relief than when an employee shows they can take constructive feedback. You’ve just made their life easier, and they’ll respect you for it. The feedback might even be useful too. 

2. Ask them about your predecessor

Anything you particularly liked or disliked about the way Jamie or Jane did things?’ ‘Oh, he was brilliant, but was often late.’ Or, ‘I found she dithered and procrastinated on projects she wasn’t keen on’, or ‘I liked that she took the initiative yet always kept me in the loop.’ All useful to know.

3. Identify their working style

Do they want everything in email, face-to-face or both? Long meetings or short? Are they impatient and short on time and pleasantries? If they write short, sharp emails, respond in kind – don’t waffle.  

Also, note when their productive times of day are – do they get right into work as soon as they get in the door, or do they take the time to settle in? Do they do ‘chit chat’ or does that irritate them? Match your style to theirs.  

4. Complete tasks and projects early

Even if it’s only by a few hours, completing tasks before a deadline shows you are in full control. It also builds up trust and respect faster than anything else. 

5. Back opinions up with facts

Don’t just say ‘I’ve heard it’s more efficient’. Say: ‘I read a Harvard Business School study that shows it’s 60% more effective, and I wondered if it’s worth considering. What do you think, John?’ 

Opinions, especially if you are new, are more respected when you share what you’ve based them on – whether that’s your observation of a process or data from a recognized resource.

6. Admit when you’ve made an error  

There’s just no other way to maintain respect. None of us likes to admit we have dropped the ball, but we’re all human. Mistakes can and do happen unintentionally. 

With authenticity and integrity being more important than ever, admit where you’ve gone wrong and notice how your relationship improves with your manager. 

Mistakes can be forgiven provided they aren’t happening consistently. If you’ve made an error, simply take that onboard, skill-up or practice the task or process to ensure it doesn’t happen again. 

7. Keep them updated on projects

If your manager is frequently asking for updates, it’s a sign that you’re not keeping them properly informed. Worse, they’re worried enough about your progress to check up on you. Even if your manager is hands-off, tell them that ‘the project’s going well, let me know if you want a progress report.’  
This reassures them that you’ve made quantifiable progress and that they were right in trusting that you don’t need micromanagement. 

8. Be 10 minutes early as a rule 

This shouldn’t need to be said, but for some reason, people still miss these ground rules of how to impress the boss. Most managers got to their respective roles by being a professional and committed. Turning up early is a great way of demonstrating that. 

9. Dress smartly

Dress codes vary, we know. But someone who makes more effort with their appearance in our ‘smart casual’ world makes a better impression – not only on their manager, but on others in the organisation. 

It shows others that you’re serious and that you have a personal brand. It’s never too early or late to create a healthy working relationship with your boss that’s based on mutual respect. Why not start today?  

For more insight on recruitment, careers and employee engagement, visit our blog or contact us today for a friendly, informal chat about how A&D Recruitment could support your business.