By Sujan Patel, Co-Founder Web Profits
Looking to get ahead in your career? It all comes down to using the right language.
As you build your career, you’ll need to build great relationships with those you work with–especially your boss. But the thing is, it’s a two-way street.
Your boss is looking to develop staff into leaders, likely making him or her the one who makes the next promotion decision. As a result, it pays to show your boss that you’re ready for additional responsibilities. Here are seven phrases you can use to show your boss how promotable you really are:
1. “I’ll take care of that.”
One thing that makes you entirely unpromotable is only being willing to do the exact tasks that are specified in your job description. If you’ve ever come across a person like this, you know how frustrating it can be to hear over and over again, “Sorry–that’s not my job.”
When you take on extra tasks–beyond those that are technically your responsibility–you’re showing initiative. This will make you stand out as a self-starter–someone who can take care of things without needing a hand to hold. And when it comes down to it, those are exactly the kind of people bosses are looking to promote to the next level.
2. “Here’s a possible solution.”
Bosses love employees who are solution-oriented. The employee who’s constantly trying to pass problems off to other people doesn’t earn any favors from the boss. And while you can certainly let your boss know if something’s wrong, you’ll be perceived in a far better light if you follow up your announcement with what you plan to do about the problem.
When you propose solutions, you’re showing that you’re proactive and that you’re not a complainer. Of course, you’ll probably be put in charge of the solution you propose–but if you take that opportunity and run with it, you’re showing your boss how truly promotable you are.
3. “That’s no big deal.”
Being drama-free is a breath of fresh air in any office environment, but that goes double for your boss. Considering how many employees are quick to complain about the air conditioner, the heater, the lighting, the color of Post-It notes, and more, being willing to roll with the punches helps you stand out. Of course, if there really is a concern, broach it professionally. However, if it’s no big deal, say so–your boss will notice.
4. “According to my notes…”
Bosses love to hear this phrase, because it means that not only were you paying attention in a meeting, you actually took the next step and ensured you’d be prepared in the future by making notes. Is this the kind of behavior that would have labeled you the class brown-noser back in school? Yes. Is it appropriate in an office setting? Absolutely.
No one likes having to repeat themselves or give instructions more than once. When you use this phrase, you show that you take your work and assignments seriously enough to write them down–which definitely shows that you’re ready for the next level. Taking notes also helps you realize where you need clarification so you can ask questions on the spot, instead of having to track your boss down later. (Here’s a hint: Bosses don’t really like that either).
5. “I’ll certainly be at the office party!”
Whether you consider it unfair or not, the reality is that important networking happens in these semi-formal situations. If you’re the one who never comes to office social events, you’ll probably stand out–but not in the right way.
Sometimes, managers suspect that staff members who miss parties and events are planning to leave the company. Even if that’s not on your boss’s mind, he or she will notice that you’re not spending time with the folks you work with all week. No matter how you slice it, being at office social events shows your boss you’re engaged with the company and ready to be promoted.
6. “How can I help on this project?”
Asking how you can help is a great way to get positive attention from your boss. Just about every supervisor and manager has more on their plate than they can comfortably handle, and they welcome competent help. In addition, this shows that you’re not averse to taking on extra work to help out the team. Considering how many employees try to avoid work whenever possible, using this phrase shows that you really are a team player, and this kind of initiative helps your boss see how promotable you really are.
(Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t offer to help if you either a) aren’t qualified to handle the tasks required, or b) can’t spare the extra time without jeopardizing your own to-do list. Being eager is great, but you’ll land in even hotter water if your helpfulness backfires in the end.)
7. “I feel like this task is the priority–would you agree?”
No matter how great an employee you are, you won’t be able to do everything all the time. When you realize that you’re running out of time and that a choice needs to be made, recognize it verbally and ask your boss to confirm your priorities. This is a great way to let your boss know that he or she can’t have everything today, but that you’re willing to focus your efforts on their top priority.
When you present what you believe to be the top priority, you show your critical thinking skills while also giving your boss an easy answer. Prioritizing is a key skill you’ll want to demonstrate when you’re looking to be promoted–after all, how can you be considered qualified to take on a role at the next level if you can’t effectively manage your time in your current position?
These phrases may sound simple, but what you say at work really matters. When you regularly use these seven phrases, you’ll show your boss your initiative and willingness to take on responsibility, demonstrating that you’re ready to be promoted. If you consistently do the opposite, don’t expect to advance.