Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The question every employee should ask and every manager should be able to answer

Over the years as both an employee and a manager, I’ve determined that the answer to this very question is crucial to the success of both sides of this the relationship…the answer? 

“What does success and excellence look like for me in this role?”

It’s obvious. A large part of your manager’s responsibility is to assess your performance – and let’s face it, that’s the bit that leads to the important stuff you probably care about: money, rewards and new opportunities. Any manager will naturally be looking for a realm of specific actions, behaviors and deliverables that they’ll use to see if your performing at your best. Most obviously they will be based on company values or targets, and you should at least make sure that you are aware of these.

But there is more. Remember that each manager is an individual, a real person, so they have their own personal preferences. Some love people with get-up-and-go - that ‘va-va-voom’ that shows drive for results. Some look for people to simply deliver on time. Some look for leaders. Some look for peace-makers. Some look for people to shake up the status quo, etc.

The key is to ASK what they are looking for. Every good manager worth his/ her salt will be able to answer this – and if they can’t straight off, then ask them to have a think and get back to you. When they tell you, make sure you write it down. Hey, why not even print it out and stick it on your wall right in front of your desk. They owe it to you to tell you what you need to aim for.
For managers, it’s an excellent exercise – what are you looking for? What do you value? How does it relate to the culture you’d like to build in your team? And then the important question….have you communicated this in words of one syllable to your team? If not….then go do it.

So for all you employees…once you’ve got the answer, it’s all up to you to live it, breathe it and succeed!

1 comment:

  1. Yes, yes, yes! This is so important to remember. If a manager and employee aren't aligned on what success would look like, it causes all kinds of problems and frustrations (on both sides). Explicitly talking about what a successful year, or successful six months, or successful month would look like is crucial.