- The signs that your boss likes you aren’t always immediately obvious.
- Managers may try to avoid appearing like they have staff favorites.
- You can keep an eye out for subtle clues that your boss thinks you’re great.
The signs that your boss likes you can be quite subtle.
But it’s crucial to definitively establish that your manager is on your side. Getting along with your boss is a pretty important part of succeeding at work. Your manager likely controls whether or not you get promoted, demoted, or fired, after all. Your job is in their hands.
Some bosses make their appreciation clear. They heap on the praise, give positive and detailed feedback, and make you feel like you’re an integral part of the success of the organization.
But not all managers are so open.
It's always good to ask for honest feedback. Before you make inquiries, though, here are a number of signs that your boss probably is pretty impressed with your work:
They give you tough love
"A boss who sees you as promising may give you a lot of feedback, not all of it positive - some of it might be 'tough love' because he or she sees you as someone who can handle it and is ready for more responsibility," she said.
They challenge you
If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, then that might not be a terrible thing.
"The boss will probably give you more than you feel you can handle at times, not because he or she is trying to punish you, but because they want to test you on tough assignments," said Bates.
They share your priorities
"Ask your boss what his or her top priorities are and put up your hand for challenging assignments," said Bates. "Give the boss a chance to see you in action, especially on a project important to him or her, so that they can see what you're made of."
They respect you
At the end of the day, likability is overrated.
"Stop worrying so much about whether the boss 'likes you' because what really matters most is whether they respect you, include you, and engage you in important conversations," Bates said. "Likability is not as important as making a contribution, being a thought partner, and helping the team and the organization thrive."
They ask for your input
"If the boss often asks your input in one-on-ones and team meetings and leaves plenty of time for you to talk and then responds favorably to what you say - these are good signs," he said.
They're not always forthcoming with the compliments
You might think that managers shower the employees whom they value with praise, but Bates notes that this isn't always the case.
"They either think you already know you're in good standing, they don't want to seem to be favoring you, or they simply just forget because you do so many things well," she said.
Bates recommended that you ask for feedback and make it clear that you want your manager to tell it like it is.
Tulgan agreed, saying that workers shouldn't always expect unprompted feedback.
"You should always make sure you are getting expectations spelled out in vivid detail and you should be tracking your performance every step of the way," he said. "Keep score for yourself! Then you won't have to guess."
They go to you first
Tulgan said that it's promising if your boss seems to use you as a "go to" person. They hit you up first when something needs to be done, whether it's a regular assignment or a special one.
They give you more responsibility
Managers often deputize their most talented employees. You probably won't get a gold-star badge, but you will get put in charge of important projects and even your fellow coworkers.
They defer to you
When other employees are struggling, your manager sends them to you.
"If your boss tells others to go to you for guidance or instruction or examples of good work, this is a good sign," Tulgan said.
They give you important tasks
Tulgan said that one major sign of trust is your boss specifically asking you to deal with important customers.
They check in with you
Tulgan said that bosses will go out of their way to check on the workers they like. They'll ask about your happiness, whether or not you're planning to leave, and how the company can keep you on.
Your boss isn't interrogating you - they're proactively figuring out what steps they'll need to take to retain you.
They ask you to teach others
If your manager is constantly asking you to show the office newbie the ropes or explain how things work to your colleagues, it may feel like they're just pawning off extra tasks on you.
And that might be the case, in some instances.
But your boss also might also so impressed with your skills that they want to spread them around to others. Instead of looking at these requests as extra busy work, use them as opportunities to hone your own leadership abilities and showcase your expertise in the office.