Regardless of your rank in the Army, you will have a boss. Even Generals have a boss.
It’s important to remember that whether you lead one person on ten thousand, you still are part of someone else’s team, too.
Not only do you have a responsibility to make your team successful, but you have the responsibility to help your supervisor’s team be successful, too.
As a Soldier, NCO or Officer, there are some things you can do to make life easier for yourself, and for your boss.
Today, I want to teach you a simple question you can ask your boss frequently, to make life easier for the two of you, and to improve your working relationship.
That question is “what can I do to make your life easier, boss?”
I used to ask that question all the time while I was in the Army, and I have to tell you that it worked like hotcakes.
You see, your boss is probably a lot like you.
Yes, you might have different responsibilities, personalities, skill-sets, and leadership styles, but you also have a few things in common.
Your boss has a lot on their plate. They are tired, maybe burnt out. They are managing lots of Soldiers and leaders and are sometimes overwhelmed. They’re trying to put 80 pounds of work into a 40 pound bag and are struggling to get EVERYTHING done.
It really doesn’t matter if you are a low ranking Private or a two-star General. Everyone is busy, especially in the ARNG and USAR.
Therefore, when you ask your boss “what can I do to make life easier for you?” good things will happen.
First and foremost, your boss will know you care about them being successful.
In addition, you will probably be the ONLY direct report they have that asks them this question.
That will make you stand out above your peers very quickly.
In addition, it shows that you are willing to take on some additional responsibilities and do what most of your peers aren’t willing to do.
Will some of your peers think you are kissing butt by doing this? Maybe. But, who really cares?
I don’t think it’s kissing butt. I think it’s a wise move.
Think about it this way, would you like to have a few of your direct reports ask YOU this question every single day?
I’m sure you would. Heck, I know I would.
Following this advice really helped me launch my career. And here’s the kicker. Most of the time, my boss didn’t ask me to do anything or give me an additional assignment when I asked the question.
Sometimes, they did, but I’d bet that every ten times I asked this question, I might have been given a task once.
Here’s the bottom line. Be DAMN GOOD at what you do and make sure you go the extra mile and try to help out your boss whenever you can. Find out what they need help with and HELP them.
When you help them succeed, you will become successful! You will also learn new skills and be a team player at the same time.
These are just my thoughts. What do you think about this advice of asking your Army boss what you can do to make their life easier? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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12 thoughts on “The Best Question to Ask Your Army Boss”
If your boss is successful – so are you! Top Brass isn’t watching the grunts or the more minor positions – they’re watching the head guys. So, as an officer, if you can make your boss’s life easier, he’ll/she’ll be sure to throw you a bone too. It’s a trickle-down effect (may not have worked economically, but it always does with people!).
I couldn’t agree more.
This is great, Chuck! I wish more people asked this question! The bottom line of this is: If you make your boss look good – your team looks good – and eventually it will trickle down and you look good. I have to believe that hard work and going the extra mile will be rewarded. Maybe not financially, maybe not with ribbons or medals, but definitely through networking. Word of mouth is GOLD if it’s good.
Do the right thing and everything works out. Take care of your boss and your folks and they will take care of you.
I don’t think it’s kissing butt. We should all want to make our bosses’ lives easier, and make them look good. My Soldiers took pride in their jobs, both for their own sake and to make me look good because they didn’t want to fail me. We all know it’s a team effort. I know I’m not out to seek glory, and doing anything I can to help my boss out, just teaches me more too (especially if they give me something that is outside of my normal realm).
That’s a good way of looking at things, Candace.
I also don’t consider a move like this as “kissing butt.” What I liked is what Chuck said about those who think you are really do not matter. As a matter of fact, the ones who usually say things of the sort are in many cases, slackers. They say things like that to reinforce there laziness and irresponsibility.
Usually people who call you a butt kisser, are jealous, even though they could have done the same thing. And any boss will be happy to have multiple subordinates asking them this question, but usually only one or two actually ask – so they get relied on.
Excellent article. This piece really gives a simple and easy way to take the initiative and show pride in one’s work. Practicing this approach builds a skill that can be applied to any workplace environment or relationship.
Can’t wait to start using it!
I agree that this works well for civilian jobs and military jobs. We can apply this information anywhere. Our bosses will appreciate the initiative and help! It doesn’t take much effort, but it goes a long way.
As a former supervisor, I always appreciated when Soldiers did this with me.
Great advice Chuck. I used to use that in jobs I have had and bosses are quite happy to give you an answer. Not only that, they gain more respect for you. Promotions and raises come a whole lot easier.