In our dream world, we would have phenomenal mentors guiding our career development. There are some bosses who are fantastic guides, but we don’t always end up with one. That doesn’t mean that your career growth should be stifled. When it comes to your career, don’t leave it to chance.
The ongoing development of the employee and manager relationship is essential for positive results, and for your career satisfaction.
Yes, the greater onus falls to the manager to make this happen. A manager’s responsibility is to know their team members well enough to understand their strengths, key responsibility areas, and their technical expertise. However, if you have a manager who does not make this a priority, don’t wait for your career to stall because of their shortcomings. You can initiate these conversations.
It doesn’t have to be in a formalized meeting. Having these types of conversations can happen over coffee. They should, however, be part of an ongoing and positive dialogue. Working in these significant communication points during conversations will help you and your manager improve the way you interact.
8 Things You Should Always Tell Your Boss
1. How You Work Best
What type of atmosphere do you thrive in? Aside from the job itself, one factor that significantly influences how employees feel about their job is the environment. This could mean everything from the work itself to the relationship with co-workers, or even the physical environment. A positive work environment makes you feel good about coming to work. If you can work with your manager for a good atmosphere, your satisfaction will be enhanced.
2. How You Want to Develop Professionally
Staying relevant to the organization, to your career, and in your industry is one way to help bullet-proof your career. Organizations also know that having a skilled team drives results. Let your manager know how you want to progress so that you can both come up with a development plan to make this happen. Don’t be shy about letting your manager know about your relevant organizational goals. If you can talk big picture, your manager can see how all components of your job fit nicely with the direction of the company.
3. What You Really Love to Work On
There are things we love to do and things that drive us mad. We can’t always get away from those items that we dislike but perhaps your boss can work something out that makes sense. Suggest a project that you would like to manage or a task you want to take the lead on. Help them understand where you excel.
4. How You Like to Communicate
Do you like to be left alone to do your job or do you like regular sessions to touch base? What level of communication works for you? Some people love face-to-face interaction while others are just fine with short emails. Are you a “bottom line” person or do you need more of an overall account? Work will be less frustrating for both you and your manager if you can agree to a style that complements both of you.
5. How You Like to Receive Feedback
When your work is reviewed, how to do like to receive comments and feedback? Is email okay or do you need a meeting? How frequently do you like to receive feedback? Are you okay with a blunt style of feedback or do you require more explanation? If you can agree to a style, feedback will be easier and useful. No hard feelings.
6. How You Like to Participate
Do you enjoy participating in company functions or do you prefer to keep your social life and work life completely separated? Everyone has a participation style that suits them. Not everyone wants to be a member of the “Birthday Club.” Sometimes being the center of attention even on your birthday is uncomfortable and awkward. Address it up front so you don’t have to feel uncomfortable.
7. Your Ideas
Bring it on. Bring those ideas to improve the business. Managers love innovation and critical thinking. They also love better ways of performing the work. Don’t make a habit of saying what the company should stop doing but state what the company can do better. There’s a big difference in the interpretation of these items. Never underestimate what you bring to the table.
8. The Real Story
Managers do not like to be blindsided. Don’t sugarcoat issues or hold back information. For them to lead effectively and to help you, they need the complete picture. When information is withheld, you are protecting no one and you are not doing yourself any favors.
Build a Great Foundation
Start as soon as you can to build a great foundation and relationship with your boss. You never want to wait until you’ve really messed up, or it’s that dreaded performance review time. You may be happy flying under the radar, but if your boss knows all these things about you, you’ll make both your life and their life much less frustrating at work.
Getting honest and ongoing input from your boss is crucial to your relationship and to your career.
A Word to Managers
You should be leading the way on this. Don’t be afraid to ask your employees the above questions. One size does not fit all. If you understand the intricacies of your team, your effectiveness as a leader will be enhanced. Manager/employee communication is a two-way street. The goal is to add value and drive results. If you are all on the same page, success will be much easier.