Hey, bosses are people, too. Most bosses went through the process of being an entry-level employee. They worked hard to get where they are. And now that they are “the boss” they discover there are things they want, but will never say to staff. Indeed, communication in the workplace as a boss is one of the most difficult things to master.
We explain what these things are and why they won’t tell everyone they manage. These are more so universal truths and bosses who are not so great at communicating will learn from this advice.
1. “I want to hear problems and solutions, not just problems.”
It is very easy to point out problems. The true test of skill is being able to solve the problems you discover. Now, if you are an employee and bring it up to a boss, they should reply positively. If you are a boss and reply negatively to any staff who mentions problems, you teach your staff it is a bad idea to bring up bad news. That’s a good way to lose control of your staff and it creates a toxic culture.
So, bosses will rarely ever say something so negative as, “Don’t tell me about the problem. Tell me solutions”. It sounds too harsh and will scare anyway who does not yet possess the skill to solve problems. The saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger”, comes to mind here; a saying that has been around since 442 B.C. Employees who feel bringing up a problem will lead to a boss getting angry will always stay silent.
Your boss will be okay with employees coming with a problem and a solution, even if the solution is wrong. An employee who tries to solve problems is much more valuable than one that only has the skill of pointing problems out.
2. “I want you to prove you can learn new skills.”
Everyone pretty much knows we do not stay in one job forever doing the exact same thing. Your boss knows you will not be in your current role forever. So, the boss cares that you are always learning and growing.
Yes, your boss wants results, too, and does not want you to be distracted from your duties. But when things change, and they often change quickly, the boss wants to know you can learn a new skill. Being really good at what you do now, does not mean you will be good at something later in your next role.
Bosses have a difficulty communicating this because they are trying to balance your “learning” with “staying dedicated to your current role”. As an employee, try being proactive. Show a desire to learn. Show an ability to manage time. Your boss will start to feel comfortable with giving you more challenges and a promotion.
3. "I want you to be able to step in for me when I cannot work."
Your boss wants you to be an “understudy” of sorts; a person who is standing by to play an actor’s role in case the actor cannot perform. You are in your role today but what if tomorrow you have to stand in for your bosses role?
If you want to make yourself indispensable to a company, be just as valuable as the boss you have now. Be able to slip into his or her role if called upon. One day, you will be the boss especially if the boss lacks a skill or information that you happen to possess and can jump in with.
Your boss wants you to be able to step in because it makes your boss’ job 100 times easier. And at the same time, your boss knows one day you will be successful. Believe it or not, bosses love to hear when their former staff grow into something special.
Of course, as the “understudy” you do not have all the experience, yet. But the more you work at it the greater your chances of becoming a boss quicker!