Work & Career
Developing trust between you and your boss will make you a better worker, and you’ll likely end up with the freedom to take on bigger assignments.
Review your job description together
You might be excelling at your personal goals, but that won’t help if you and your boss define success differently, says A. Roger Merrill, consultant and author of Talent Unleashed: 3 Leadership Conversations to Ignite the Unlimited Potential in People. Ask your manager if to go over his or her expectations and what your most important tasks are. “As you talk it over, you’ll almost always find some discrepancies,” Merrill says. “You can work hard and your boss thinks you’re not doing a job, not because you’re untrustworthy but because you’re not on the same page.” Don’t make it a one-time conversation either—keep an ongoing dialogue to make sure you’re hitting all your boss’s goals for you, Merrill says. Start on the right foot before getting an offer by avoiding these 15 body language mistakes you make during job interviews.
Make concrete goals
Discuss goals with your boss that are action-oriented rather than outcome-oriented so that you can prove you’re making measurable steps to help the company, says Paul Zak, PhD, author of Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High Performance Companies. “If I say to increase sales, it’s so vague that it’s a chronic stressor,” he says. “But if I say the goal is to make five more sales calls per week, that’s an action I can take and document and be really transparent about.”
Explore solutions before asking for help
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help—a good boss will be more than happy to assist so you and the company can succeed. But instead of just saying, “I’m stumped,” and expecting your boss to come up with an answer, brainstorm some possibilities and pick the solution you’re leaning toward before you talk, says Joel Peterson, MBA, chairman of JetBlue Airways and author of The 10 Laws of Trust. “It’s way more constructive because your boss can see you’ve really looked at the alternatives,” he says. “You’re not just asking for help—you’ve done a lot of the thinking, and now you just want input.” Learn how to spot 18 signs that you have a terrible boss.