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15 signs your boss is impressed with you, even if it doesn't seem like it

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By Áine Cain,Allana Akhtar, Business Insider

  • 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, as they likely control whether or not you get promoted, demoted, or fired.

Some bosses make their appreciation clear by heaping on the praise - but not all managers are so open.

Here are a number of signs that your boss probably is pretty impressed with your work even if they don't show it:


If your boss gives you "tough love," it could mean they think you can handle the responsibility.

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Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communications and author of "All the Leader You Can Be," told Business Insider that it can be difficult to figure out whether or not your boss likes you.

"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.


Your boss challenges you because they think you are prepared for tough assignments.

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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.


Your boss shares your priorities for wanting to succeed.

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"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."


Your boss might not seem like they "like" you, but they respect you.

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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."


Your boss asks for your input because they value you.

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Bruce Tulgan, the founder and CEO of RainmakerThinking and author of "It's Okay to Manage Your Boss," said that bosses confer more with the employees whom they like and trust.

"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.


It's not always a bad thing if your boss isn't forthcoming with the compliments.

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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."


If your boss turns to you when they need something done ASAP, take that as a positive.

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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.


Don't fret when your boss gives you more responsibility.

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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.


When other employees are struggling, your manager sends them to you.

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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.


Rejoice when your boss gives you important tasks.

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Tulgan said that one major sign of trust is your boss specifically asking you to deal with important customers.


Don't worry if your boss is asking questions about how you are doing.

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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.


Your manager asks you to teach others because they're impressed by you.

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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.


A manager assigns side projects not to overwork employees, but because she wants the best for them.

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Ultra Mobile CEO David Glickman said the no. 1 way to tell if your boss is impressed with you is if they assign you to side projects or extra work.

No one enjoys working more, and getting handed more assignments may suggest your boss doesn't understand your work load.

But Glickman says that on the contrary, a manager assigns challenges to his best employees so that they can shine.

"While your manager may see your competency and smarts firsthand, they can't promote you without buy-in and support from others," Glickman told Business Insider's Áine Cain. "By putting you on projects that involve other teams, they are helping you build your own support for future promotion."


If your boss uses the phrase "you did a good job" it might not feel like a lot, but it's one of the best compliments a manager can provide.

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Appreciation separates good managers from the duds, writes Brian de Haaff, cofounder and CEO of the software company Aha!

In particular, the phrase "you did a good job" is the most important praise you can receive from your manager for three reasons: 

1. You feel special after specific accomplishments are celebrated.

2. It signals you contributed to making the team stronger, which can motivate other colleagues.

3. The praise doesn't coddle you or bring up unnecessary criticism - it just signals you achieved something of value to the company.

"All bosses should pull for their employees and celebrate them when they are great," Haaff writes on LinkedIn. "Using those five magic words 'You did a good job' creates happy employees - and happy employees are committed employees who do their best work."


If your boss isn't paying enough attention to you or seems like they're more hands off, it could mean they trust you more.

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"If you get more latitude than other employees - more freedom to take risks, to work your own hours, and make your own decisions - that's an excellent sign that you're in your boss' good books," Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of "The Humor Advantage," previously told Business Insider.

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