Tons of bosses struggle with relinquishing control. They don’t delegate enough. They won’t fully cut loose a colleague so he can take the project and run. They insist on giving final approval when they’re already 99% sure that the thing was done well. I’ve been both a boss and an employee. As a boss I’ve been guilty of all these things – mostly because I didn’t realize I was doing them and slowing everything down. Asking this question helps an employee “manage up” with his boss. Once a boss sees the bottlenecks clearly, she can more easily take action to delegate them away. Continue reading What are your bottlenecks?
It happens in all kinds of situations. Someone assumes you’re familiar with a term (or concept / organization / person / thing) that you don’t actually know about. “I was talking to her at SoCap when…” “I think their run rate is $400k but the more important thing is…” “We asked our boys not to use YikYak but what’s hard is…” In these situations it’s super easy to just let the reference pass. Nobody wants to look like they’re not in the know. But it’s actually pretty powerful to get eye contact and interject with some form of “Wait, what is that?” Admit you don’t know and be the kind of person who learns quickly from there. That’s more effective (and impressive) than being a know-it-all (or posturing that you are). Continue reading I’m not familiar with that. Could you fill me in?
Ask this respectfully and make sure to do the task well if it’s still given to you. But if you’re the kind of person who gets a lot done, your boss/team might start over-relying on you for high-output instead of high-impact. This question can help you be about high impact – moving the needle instead of just checking off boxes. (But you need good rapport for this question to work!) Continue reading Is that the best use of my time? (If it is, I’ll get right on it. BUT I’d like to ask up front just to make sure we’re all on the same page.)
Be coachable. Ask this question. It will give your boss an opportunity to tell you point blank about how to improve (particularly helpful if your boss is not good at giving you direction or constructive criticism). Take the response seriously and it will probably improve your everyday work life as well as what you hear during your next performance review. Continue reading What’s one thing I could do differently?
Understanding exactly how (and when) your boss prefers to get your input will make it drastically more likely that your voice will be heard on the team and in the company. It’s best to ask this question in your first week or two on the job. Continue reading How would you like to receive feedback from me?