10 No-Fail Ways to Wow Your Boss

You already arrive before she does, stay late, and always volunteer for projects big and small. Now knock her socks off with these winning tips guaranteed to impress even the toughest managers.

1 SAVE HER MONEY. "Bosses are under enormous financial pressure, and if you can relieve some of that with money-saving strategies, you'll show your boss that you care about her welfare and the success of the company." — Jessica Eaves Mathews, founder and CEO of Leverage a Lawyer, a virtual law firm, Albuquerque, NM

2 MAKE HER WEAKNESS YOUR STRENGTH. "Study your boss' skill set and excel in the areas she doesn't. Does she hate public speaking? Offer to run the morning meeting. Is she bad with numbers? Manage her spreadsheets. When you ace a task that's not her strong suit, she'll look to you as someone she needs and you'll create a forum where you can easily shine." — Abby Ziff, digital ad director of WebMD, Washington, D.C.

3 DON'T BE AFRAID TO DISAGREE. "Contrary to popular belief, bosses don't want to be told they're right all the time. So if everyone is agreeing on a concept in a meeting but you have a gut feeling it's not a smart decision, speak up. It takes confidence, but if you sometimes buck the system, you'll be respected for it." — Cathy Corman, CEO of CC Productions Inc., a tech sales company, Hoboken, NJ

4 LEARN IT — EVEN IF IT'S NOT IN THE JOB DESCRIPTION. "My job is to make sure the office runs smoothly — managing my boss' schedule, manning the phones. But I also make a point to learn about the science behind the products and treatments we offer. These things aren't applicable to my daily routine, but my boss can always rely on me to answer client questions on my own." — Amy Knowles, office manager at Dr. Patty's Dental Boutique, a cosmetic and general dentistry spa, Fort Lauderdale, FL

5. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR EXPERTISE. "If a task is beyond your level of experience, say so. Bosses just want their needs met, so if you can't do something, don't pretend you can; it'll only cause problems down the road." — Rosemary Camposano, owner of Halo Blowdry Bar, San Francisco, CA

6 EMBRACE CRITICISM. "If you get a lukewarm review, don't get defensive. Instead, accept criticism gracefully, thank your boss for her honesty, and ask how you can improve. Afterward, send her a follow-up e-mail recapping your goals, then ask if you can meet again in a few months to reassess your progress. When you put the boss's advice into action, she'll feel valued and you'll have turned a poor review into a positive one." — Vanessa Vega, regional director for Quest Workspaces, an executive office suite retailer, Miami, FL

7 WHEN FORWARDING LINKS, ALWAYS INCLUDE USABLE IDEAS. "Don't just cut and paste the link and write, 'Check this out.' Instead, summarize what the story is about in one to two lines, then explain why you're sending it by saying something like, 'Here's what I think we should do with this information' or 'It gave me an idea to do X, Y, and Z.' Your boss will be more motivated to read it." — Reema Ghody, director of product management at HBO, New York, NY

8 GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT'S DUE. "When your boss compliments you on a job well done, give your coworkers credit if they helped by saying, 'Thanks so much. I enjoyed the project. And Lisa was such an asset, as well.' You'll show your boss that you're looking out for her entire team and not just yourself." — Stacey Whelan, safety and integration team leader at General Motors, Detroit, MI

9 YOU EXCEL WHEN THE BOSS DOES. "Your boss has a boss, too. So do what you can to make your direct supervisor look impressive. If she's preparing for a meeting, help her with research and talking points. Or, if her boss praises her for your idea, let her take the credit. Your boss will see you as an ally, and she'll return the favor down the road." — Ilona Fordham, program development manager at Jenny Craig, Carlsbad, CA

10 PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO PERSONAL DETAILS. "I always make a point to remember not just the names of my boss' spouse and children but also important dates and events for his family, or a book he's reading or a movie he just saw. That way, I can ask informed questions when we're speaking, and he knows I pay attention to details." — Ayanna Mancuso, associate strategist at Jack Morton Worldwide, a brand marketing agency, Boston, MA