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Tag Archives: Be Nice at Work

UXL, Margaret Smith, Befriend Your Boss

Let’s face it, the key to achieving many of your career goals (that promotion, that next raise, etc.) is to pass through the office gatekeeper: your boss. Befriending your boss can be a tricky endeavor. You don’t want to seem like a brown-noser or disingenuous. What’s more, your boss might seem distant or guarded, reluctant to make new acquaintances with people from the lower ranks. If that’s the case, you might want to set your sights on making an impression on your boss, rather than a friendship. But, no matter the situation, there are certain steps you can take to become more visible in a positive way in your boss’ eyes.

The key is to approach your boss in a natural, authentic way and treat her like any other human being. The goal is to develop an authentic relationship with another person, not to feel intimidated or uneasy with a superior. Try getting to know your boss like any other person at the office:

  • Say hello
  • Ask about his or her family (and remember family member names when they come up in conversation)
  • Ask about their weekend plans or ask about what they did this past weekend
  • Attend company events and make small talk with your boss
  • Discuss shared interests (but do NOT pretend to like something your boss does just to fit in)

Notice that this list does not include things like “buy him small gifts” or “call her to have coffee.” Those kind of activities tend to cross the boss-employee line (unless, of course, you actually are close friends with your boss OR your boss is the kind of person who enjoys regularly going out for coffee with her employees).

The other way to gain positive attention from your boss is to make your achievements known. Stand out from the crowd by speaking up at meetings, volunteering for extra projects (and delivering excellent results), and involving yourself in extracurricular work events. Make yourself a positive presence—someone who is friendly and inclusive, rather than closed off and self-centered—and you will be noticed. Even if you do not quite reach friendship level with your boss, you can at least make yourself visible and visibility goes a long way toward reaching your career goals.

Are you having trouble with your boss? Not connecting with office leadership? Contact me and we can discuss some potential solutions.


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By Margaret Smith, UXL:

According to an article in INC Magazine this month, employee to employee squabbling and sniping can not only erode a team, but even end up costing you customers and make enemies of patrons.

The article’s author, J.J. McCorvey, explains that a recent study found that “when customers witness employees being disrespectful to one another—yelling, using profane language or openly criticizing another’s performance—customers not only get mad, but they often try to punish the company in some way.” The negative repercussions of rude interactions among employees often results in complaints, boycotting, and brand erosion inside and outside the company.

Often, the study illuminated, customers felt less likely to make a future purchase with the company.

Employee is…

Rude to me

Rude to another customer

Rude to another employee

Level of anger




Likelihood of another purchase




Level of interest in the company




The study was based on a series of customer surveys that revealed that “it’s not all about the customer’s own experience”, but also about “what they [the customers] perceived as unfair behavior toward an employee.” During the study, respondents were asked to recall a time when they had “witnessed an employee being uncivil to another worker.”

A shocking 92% of the respondents said they had “subsequently made negative comments to other people about the company”, while nearly half of the respondents said that they felt “less willing to repurchase the company’s products or services.”

McCorvey rightly reminds us that no matter how we try to keep hostility and rudeness behind closed doors in the workplace, it “often has a way of trickling down to customers, whether or not they witness it directly.”

Although leaders, teammates, and owners cannot monitor all of the actions of others, we are all still capable of changing the way we personally interact with the coworkers around us. This will not only elevate our brand and enable our efforts, it will also help motivate others to improve their own attitudes and interactions.

Not only does being nice result in happier customers and coworkers, but it also results in personal benefits for YOU:

1.  Get the Projects You Want Most: Being easy to work with, and getting along with a variety of personalities, encourages others to view you as more flexible and eligible for new and different opportunities.

2.  Build and Extend Your Brand: Building a brand that includes politeness and niceness means that people will feel comfortable being honest and open with you. It also sets you up for positions involving integration and interaction with new groups, individuals, and organizations.

3.  Jobs, Projects, and People Come to You: The referrals will come flooding in from coworkers and clients if you continue to make positive energy deposits in others. This goes for your time spent on the job, as well as during the job search.

4.  You’ll Meet More People: If you’re friendly and agreeable, more people want you around, whether during a project or networking opportunity such as a dinner, party, etc.

5.  Life is Easier: Things get expedited more often, people pull strings, and others are happy to do favors. Being nice builds social capital that makes life less of a hassle and allows your dreams to be realized.

Interested in learning more about how your behavior, and your attitude, can transform your relationships, your career, and your life? Contact UXL to discover how positive change and greater self-awareness can help you to realize your own potential!


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