Situation–Absent lucid, subject-specific conversation between supervisor and subordinate, this mystifying question evokes interest and discussion, even amongst the most high-achieving, talented work forces. The simplistic answer is appropriately described with two words-“meaningful dialogue”. (Meaningful being the operative word).
Employees are best served in obtaining this vital information when individual responsibility is taken for seeking it—in essence, “owning” the task of effectively conversing with supervisors. Doing so positions employees with the tools needed to draw inferences and fact-based conclusions on defined degrees of success. An impactful, professional resolution for staff at any level is to be accountable for the sanctity of significant, two-way communication. Why is this critical for employees who yearn for feedback?
Reasonably speaking, even the most well-intentioned boss is typically overwhelmed with too many subordinates and a myriad of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks, reports, stats, and budget variance explanations waiting in the wings. In a day and age where each staff member (leadership or otherwise) must consistently be perceived as valuable in order to “survive”, it is common for communication or “soft skills” to reside lower on the priority list. The modern motto for many is “show me the bottom line”.
Follow these suggestions in order to “shine”:
- Understand the job description and clarify exactly what is expected
- Ask for methods of measurement which will be used to assess performance
- Agree upon criteria which will dictate sub, achieves, and exceeds performance standards
- Volunteer for stretch assignments
- Request peer reviews and anonymous feedback from cross-functional leadership
- Network for the sake of creative ingenuity across industries; utilize synergistic collaboration
- Conduct needs-based surveys, especially if a service-provider, and share your action-items with participants
- Revisit goals at least once per quarter to maintain congruency with evolving business objectives
- What worked this year should not work the next; every year must be better than the preceding
- All bosses are human; as diverse as the population is, expect variances in needs, values, and goal prioritization and be prepared to adapt—it’s your job!
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