In grade school, I was a “teacher’s pet.”

I was smart.  I was polite.  I always raised my hand first to answer their questions.  I picked up stuff when they dropped it.

In short, I did a lot of things “right” to earn their admiration.  And this admiration turned into tangible rewards, too.

Of course, we only have classroom teachers for so long in our lives.  Eventually, we transition to the work world and our authority figures aren’t teachers, but leaders.

So, what can you do to earn your leader’s admiration?  To earn those tangible rewards?  To be “leader’s pet?”

Well, here are a few ideas:

  • Get to the point.  Everyone says they are busy.  And, everyone feels that their time is valuable.  Especially business leaders whose paychecks prove that their time is valuable.  So, leaders hate people who beat around the proverbial bush and waste their time with too many words to communicate something simple.  But they love people who can be concise, speak in instantly understandable terms, and get to the point quickly.  Always try to communicate the most points with the fewest words when communicating with leaders.
  • Don’t make excuses.  Almost everything important that has ever been done was accomplished after obstacles were encountered.  Most obstacles make things difficult, but not impossible.  Because of your leader’s elevated position, he or she has likely overcome many obstacles in his or her career rise.  So, the last thing a leader wants to hear is excuses why something can’t be done.  So, embrace the tough assignment you are given or suggest a different way to accomplish the same or better end result.  When accepting an assignment, you can certainly state what the obstacles are, but you should also state that you are up for the challenge.
  • Be enthusiastically loyal.  When you are a subordinate, lock into your leader’s vision.  View your role as helping your leader take the organization where he or she wants it to go.  Either don’t say anything negative about your leader or his/her vision or be very careful not to have the wrong person know about your dissatisfaction.  Disloyalty and two-facedness can get back to your leader and make your work environment very awkward.  I’m not saying to sacrifice your ethics or morals to be a good follower to a bad leader.  But, if you find yourself in a moral or ethical dilemma, you probably want to reevaluate whether you’re in the right job.

I may add to this list in the future or link this post to additional posts on the topic.  So, I encourage you to check back.

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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