Your boss may be extremely clear in spelling out your job expectations, setting goals, adding to your do-list and measuring your performance, but she may not be telling you the most important things that she wants and needs from you. Here are five things your boss wants:
1. Solutions Not Problems
Your boss is too busy to solve the problems of everyone on the team. She hired you to solve those problems. When meeting with your boss for status updates, explain the situation, and then get her reaction to your proposed solution. If you don’t know the solution, seek it out either by consulting with people internally or reaching out to your network before meeting with your boss. And if you have a couple of options for solving the problem, present them as a menu of choices, along with your recommendations and reasoning. You want your boss to think of you as a problem solver, not a problem amplifier.
2. A Brand Ambassador
Every boss wants their team to be seen as important and productive. Become the team ambassador by touting your boss’ skill as a leader and your team’s success and commitment to stakeholders. Appoint yourself the head cheerleader and take opportunities in your meetings with others outside your organization and throughout the company to help them understand what your team is about and how it adds value to the organization.
3. Feedback About The Team
Most bosses want to know what people think about their organization yet they often don’t have access to accurate perceptions from stakeholders. What’s the team’s reputation? Proactively ask for feedback and listen to your stakeholders to understand external perceptions. Share them as appropriate with your boss. She doesn’t want to be kept in the dark. Revealing negative feedback will take a little finesse. You don’t want to be associated with the information you share if it is full of criticism or negativity. You want her to know you are concerned and supportive and (remember No. 1) you have a solution. If you show your sincere support, you will gradually earn her trust and respect.
4. A Collaborative Spirit
Be the glue that keeps everyone on the team working together. Every boss wants to lead a team that functions well together. And your boss certainly doesn’t want to be spending time mediating quarrels between team members. Reach out to team members to keep them connected with what’s happening. Offer to help members of the team who are not getting along. Thank and acknowledge team members for their contributions – especially in front of others on the team. Foster a spirit of transparency, gratitude and mutual support. It will be noticed and rewarded.
Your boss needs to lead. Her expertise must be in inspiring and engaging the team to achieve a mission in support of the company’s goals. She expects her team members to be experts. That means you need to keep your expertise up-to-date. What you know today may not be enough to solve the problems of tomorrow. Become a life-long learner – seeking out opportunities to learn and grow. And remain an innovator in your field by staying connected with others inside and outside your industry and job function. Benchmark best practices and tell your boss about ideas for improving systems, processes and performance. Become the perpetual innovator and your boss’ respect and support will grow.
When you deliver these five items to your boss, you are showing her that you are more than an employee – you’re a leading colleague and confidant.