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I'll try to write the question in a way that is as general as possible.

How do I help my company and my manager look good, highly competent, etc., especially when the manager is unaware that most clients are backing down because he can't exactly inspire trust?

Many of the articles I find online refer to praising your boss to his boss. This makes clear sense in a large corporate environment, where creating a win-win-win situation for all three parties by e.g. helping your boss with a crucial task is beneficial for everyone involved.

My query relates more to a position when there is no direct supervisor to one's boss. One might suggest that the clients somewhat take the position of a supervisor.

In such a case, should one try to get her boss bring her in client meetings? Should a person try to reach business contacts in an unsolicited but good-willed manner, in order to learn about their needs and requests which might put the company and the boss in a good light?

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    Let me be sure I'm on the same page with you - you want higher client retention but your boss isn't doing anything to assist with that in that they come across as one who doesn't inspire trust?
    – Makoto
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 14:50
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    @Makoto It's more like the following: I build the product/demo/prototype based on the specifications as the boss delivers them. I present it to him, he says he is satisfied/delighted with it, with remarks like "good job", "excellent", "it's more than I could ask you of, thank you" etc. So I'm inclined to think that I'm doing a good job. The progress we made is demonstrated to the client in a meeting, but I'm never invited to these meetings. After a couple of meetings, I'm assigned a completely unrelated work, without being told what happened. This happened 4 times, and I'm relatively new here.
    – foemre
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:21
  • It's not wholly unusual for a lead to shield you from meetings, but are you more concerned that you're not getting the kind of feedback that you need to improve the project to make the clients happy from the boss instead of making your boss look good? It doesn't seem to me from an initial take that you can do much else to improve or bolster them since you're delivering what they ask for and they already give you praise for it.
    – Makoto
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:23
  • " most clients are backing down because he can't exactly inspire trust" - that is unlikely to change, so, unless the boss is replaced, the company is likely to go downhill; keep your CV polished & one eye on the door
    – Mawg
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 6:41
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    "without being told what happened" - so what leads you to think that "clients are backing down because he can't exactly inspire trust"? Do you have some other source of information? Put it in the question if you do...
    – AakashM
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 8:04

2 Answers 2

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Making your boss look good does not apply in the same sense because his success does not depend on the uberboss' opinion of him. So you are correct that clients take the role of External Evaluator.

You should't get yourself invited to meeting with that plan in mind because people can smell lackeys, and no one likes lackeys. Your own manager might notice as well.

Same goes for contacting the client unsolicited; this can be seen as going behind your manager's back and will backfire on you even if nothing goes wrong. Talk with your boss to make your role more client-facing if you like that part of the job, but make sure everyone's onboard with you talking to the client.

Your best strategy is to make your boss not lose face, and do your best to do a job well done. Let your work speak for itself, and it will do wonders for your boss' image since he picked such a great worker.

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    not lose face, and do your best to do a job well done --This is the way to go. Do a good job as to not make them look bad.
    – Neo
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 14:51
  • Thanks for the answer. As per your suggestion, I'll try to put the best work I can and keep the boss happy. But I'm almost sure that the projects don't get canceled in the middle of my work because I don't do a good job. It feels that my manager cannot convince the clients to stick to us, no matter how productive I am.
    – foemre
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:27
  • @erdem hmm that's a different problem... and by the sound of it, not yours - happily. Keep your eyes open because if your manager keeps losing clients, you will need to look out for yourself at some point.
    – rath
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:31
  • @rath I received similar comments in my previous (and first) question in this site, so that seems to be the way to go :) anyway, thanks again!
    – foemre
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:56
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If you are working at a startup with few employees, then every employee is important. If you think that your manager makes most potential customers back off, then you have a situation that endangers the company and your employment.

In that situation, don't try to make your manager look good. Go to the next higher level and inform them of what is going on. BTW. Even though that person might be incompetent, going to customers behind their back and inviting yourself to business meetings will make that person and your company look even more incompetent.

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