How to Move Ahead at Work With Ease

Do you know what’s expected of you? Have you asked?

How many times have you heard someone say (or even said yourself) something like this: “Sally got promoted, not me. What’s the deal? I’ve contributed so much more than she has!” or “I just don’t know what else my boss wants from me, I did everything I could think of on this last project, and still, it wasn’t enough.” or “I’m afraid I’m going to be let go, I think I’ve done what they wanted, but I just don’t know.”

My response is always the same, “Did you ask?”

Often we assume that someone will tell us what’s expected of us at work, what we are expected to complete or accomplish, or if we are making a mistake. But that is not necessarily true. Our managers, supervisors, or peers may not do that.

Do you really want to leave your career in the hands of another, even if it’s your boss? Whether you are starting a new job, or have been working for awhile, it is important to know with absolute clarity what is expected of you. Know your performance objectives. Never assume. Always know. Even better, get it in writing, even if you have to write it! You want to be clear (as clear as you can) about how your performance and success will be measured and evaluated.

At the beginning of a job, or a project, ask what is expected of you. I know, it so simple when I write it out like this. And it is that simple. Ask your boss, the one who writes (or authorizes) your paychecks, what does she want to see? What outcomes or results does she expect? What information does she want you to provide along the way?

Any good boss will be grateful you initiated this conversation. It will be one less thing for him to worry about. He will be free to just tell you what is needed, wanted, expected from his view. He will feel supported, encouraged, relieved.

So how do you do this? One way is for you to take the time to write down what you believe your performance objectives are for the year. Then schedule a meeting with your boss and confirm your list. Once you know your objectives, you can ask questions about how you’re doing so far. You can also do a self-assessment of your performance. This way you will be equipped with concrete information about what is expected of you.

And if you want a promotion, ask your boss what you need to do to get one.

Take the initiative, take control. Find out what is expected, without guesswork. And earn their trust in the process.

By Lori Howard