Have you ever wished you could read your boss’s mind and know what they really want from you? While it’s kind of a good thing this superpower doesn’t exist (you might be totally crushed by what you find inside their brain), you can still be your boss’s hero.
Deborah Sweeney via Fairygodboss
How? All you need to do is bring up these six phrases during your next meeting, one-on-one lunch date, or email correspondence together.
1. “How can I help?”
From their first day on the job, employees are advised that if they have questions, ask them early and often. But what about employers? How often do you see your boss asking for help versus trying to do it all on their own? If you have a bit of downtime, ask your manager if they need any help — even if they don’t appear to be busy or stressed. They will probably be a little surprised at first, but quickly able to assign you a project that might have been neglected otherwise.
2. “Want to hear about this new skill I learned?”
No matter what your job title is, you should still be able to “wow” your boss. It’s one thing to say you’re hungry for the experience, and it’s another to start taking big bites. As you progress within your given department, you’ll likely run into things you don’t know how to do yet. When that happens, it’s time to invest in a crash test prep course so you can excel and bring new skills to the table that ultimately benefit the entire company. Trust me — your employer will want to hear about the new things you’ve taught yourself, as it shows your ability to take initiative and solve problems.
3. “I’ll volunteer.”
From taking an extra round of sales calls to coming into work early, when employers put out a call for volunteers, it usually ends with crickets chirping. Nobody wants to be bold enough to break the ice — and that’s where you come in. By simply raising your hand or saying “put me down for it,” you ultimately reveal that you have a “can do,” team player attitude and are willing to jump in wherever you can. Taking charge is brave and extremely memorable, especially when it comes time for promotions and raises.
4. “It’s my fault.”
Yes, you heard that right. If you made a mistake in the workplace, you should own up to it instead of pinning somebody else with the blame. While no one likes to admit when they are wrong, it’s actually a courageous move. Depending on the situation, your boss will likely be much more understanding and willing to work things out if you approach them honestly than they would if you did not.
5. “How can I improve?”
You’re a human being and just like every other human, you make your fair share of mistakes. Ask your boss what you can do to improve any weak spots you may have. You may not be as strong as you think when an extra set of eyes are observing you – and that’s okay. There’s always room to improve and keep improving.
6. “I’ve got this!”
Own your confidence! When your boss gives you a project or a new employee to train, they want to know that you are capable of doing it and ready to take on the challenges without coming to them every five minutes with questions. If you’re at the point where you can say that you’ve got this, you’re definitely ready to take on the new responsibilities and prove yourself as a true leader.
A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice.
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