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How to Prove Your Worth to Your Boss

If you want to prove your worth to your boss, your team, and the people at the top of your organization—and keep influencing them—then you need to keep getting better.

An investment in your leadership growth is an investment in your ability, your adaptability, and your promotability. No matter how much it costs you to keep growing and learning, the cost of doing nothing is greater.

What if you work for a bad boss?

Your leadership growth is even more important.

When you work for a boss who can’t or won’t lead, you feel trapped in a no-win situation. But when you learn to work with difficult people, be productive in a challenging situation, become a valuable contributor, and develop yourself as a leader, everything changes.

Your potential goes off the charts. Your prospects improve. Your “luck” changes. People seek to recruit you for their team. Organizations want you. Do your best, and your time will come. And when you get your chance to be the boss, you will do a better job. You will value and empower people, and they will spend their time being productive, instead of trying to figure out how to work around a boss who doesn’t lead.

More tips for dealing with a bad boss


In this book designed for quick reading by busy professionals, leadership expert John C. Maxwell unveils the keys to successfully navigating the challenges of working for a bad boss. Maxwell teaches how to position yourself for current and future success, take the high road with a poor leader, avoid common pitfalls, work well with teammates, and develop influence wherever you find yourself.

3 Ways to Prove Your Worth to Your Boss

1. Become an expert at your craft

Few things speak more loudly than excellence at one’s craft.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is believed to have said, “If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mouse trap than his neighbors, though he builds his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

If you become excellent at what you do, others notice, and they will seek you out. Expertise always has value.

The first place you should strive to prove your value is in your craft. Most people don’t start out as leaders. They demonstrate skill or ability in a particular area, and they get recognized for it. Expertise in a craft or profession does not make someone a leader, but it often gets a person promoted into leadership. It gives them their chance.

What can you do every day to help you become better at your core competency? Here are a few ideas:

  • Learn your craft today
  • Talk about your craft today
  • Practice your craft today
female employee reporting to a boss to try to prove her worth

2. Do jobs others won’t

Being excellent at what you do will make you valuable and give you a place on your team. But becoming an expert at your craft takes time. What can you do to prove your worth right now?

Take on jobs others won’t—even if they are outside of your craft or comfort zone. It is said that an aid group in South Africa once wrote to missionary and explorer David Livingstone asking, “Have you found a good road to where you are? If so, we want to know how to send other men

to join you.” Livingstone replied, “If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come even if there is no road at all.”

That’s the kind of attitude you need to have as you work with someone who can’t or won’t lead. You need to be willing to do what others won’t.

Few things gain the respect of a boss, a team, and the top leaders of an organization more quickly than someone with a whatever-it-takes attitude.

These people are willing and able to think outside of their job description and tackle the kinds of jobs that others are too proud or too frightened to take on. These things are what often create job security, elevate them above their peers, and get them promoted to a role where they can make a greater positive impact.

Perhaps you already possess a whatever-it-takes mindset, and if a task is honest, ethical, and beneficial, you’re willing to take it on. If so, good for you! Now all you need is to know how to direct that attitude into action so that you’re doing the things that will make the greatest impact and create influence with others.

Here are the top ten things I recommend you do to become the kind of person others look to:

  • Take the tough jobs
  • Pay your dues
  • Be willing to work in obscurity
  • Succeed with difficult people
  • Put yourself on the line
  • Admit faults but never make excuses
  • Be the first to step up and help
  • Take responsibility for your responsibilities
  • Perform tasks that are “not your job”

3. Become your boss’s go-to producer

All leaders are looking for people who can step up and make a difference when it matters. When they find such people, they come to rely on them and are inevitably influenced by them. Team members who can make things happen are their go-to players.

They demonstrate consistent competence, responsibility, and dependability. While becoming an expert at your craft is driven by a desire for excellence, and taking on jobs others won’t is about the willingness to jump in anywhere to contribute, being a producer is about having the will to win.

Few things elevate a person above his peers the way becoming a solid producer does. Everyone admires go-to players and looks to them when the heat is on—not only their bosses, but also their peers and team members. When I think of my go-to players, I think of the people who always produce.

Here are key ways you can prove your value as a go-to producer:

  • Produce when the pressure’s on
  • Produce when the resources are few
  • Produce when the momentum is low
  • Produce when the load is heavy
  • Produce when the leader is absent
  • Produce when the time is limited

Why you should take the road less travelled

The things I’m suggesting you do to prove yourself are not easy. And they can produce a lot of stress, especially since I’m asking you to take the high road as you work with your boss. But doing these things will give you the best chance to shine and succeed, even working for someone who doesn’t lead.

Want to read more? Get the book!

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John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, coach, and speaker who has sold more than 33 million books in fifty languages. He has been identified as the #1 leader in business and the most influential leadership expert in the world.

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