When people talk about management skills, they’re usually referring to how a manager oversees his or her workers. This neglects one of the most important dynamics in a job, and that’s something called “upward management” — it’s how well a worker manages and delivers on the expectations of a boss. Taking initiative — such as using your own talents and energy to go the extra mile — is one of the key ways you’ll accomplish this.

  • Bring solutions. Though it may not look like your boss is engaged in the day-to-day work operations, it’s much more likely that there’s an entire package of responsibilities that you know nothing about. Because of that, bosses generally deal with more problems than you could imagine. Whenever possible, try to bring your boss SOLUTIONS. Let the boss know if a snag has occurred, but also offer solutions that simply need approval to be carried out.
  • Work toward a bigger goal. Figure out how your job can help you progress toward your short- and long-term goals, then ask for extra work in those areas. Your boss will appreciate the initiative and you will get the opportunity to learn skills to help you later.
  • Create side projects. Want to shine at your job? Create tasks to tackle when you finish your other work early. Don’t let side projects stop your main work from getting done, but feel free to work on something incrementally, over time. When you finally finish and present the project, it’ll look like you invested a massive amount of extra effort to deliver something significant.
  • Ask for extra tasks. You can also volunteer to help out with any additional work that’s on your boss’s desk. Even if the answer’s no, you’ll always be remembered, and appreciated, for asking.
  • Help out your co-workers. When your co-workers need help, step in. Not only will they appreciate it, but they’ll be there for you if you ever fall behind yourself.
  • Taking initiative and extra work often go hand-in-hand, but they are two skill sets most valued by employers. If you’re willing to work hard, your employer will notice, and you’ll be rewarded with a promotion, more money, and more prestige at your company.