- When it comes to your job, chances are, there are certain things you wish your employer knew about you.
- From sharing your long-term goals with your boss to talking about your personal work style, communicating with your manager can lead to positive changes in your work life.
- We asked 11 people what they wish their bosses knew about them and here’s what we found.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
While there may be things you wish your boss knew about you – things that could significantly improve your work life – for some reason, you keep them to yourself.
As a result, your job situation may not be as ideal as you’d like it to be.
“Effective communication is essential to a successful working relationship with your boss,” Julia Rock, CEO of Rock Career Development, told Business Insider in an email. “We get frustrated because the boss doesn’t appear to be giving us the responsiveness or support we need, or it appears they aren’t setting the right expectations. However, communication is a two-way street.”
For instance, if your boss doesn’t have a clear understanding of your preferred working style – autonomous versus structured – you may feel crowded or abandoned, Rock said.
“While it’s your manager’s responsibility to share their expectations for your performance and the results they want you to deliver, it is your responsibility to speak up and ask for what you need,” she said.
We asked people what they wish their boss knew about them. Some subjects interviewed were given permission to use either just their first name or, in some cases, a pseudonym in order to protect their anonymity.
Here are the things real workers wish their bosses knew about them.
“The way I work.”
“When I was just starting out in my current position, the one thing I really wanted my boss to know is the way I work,” Olga Mykhoparkina, chief marketing officer at Chanty, told Business Insider.
“I’m more motivated by task completions and deadlines, rather than working hours. So instead of putting in a 9-to-5 workday, I would rather get a set list of tasks and finish them.”
She said the problem is there are other people who depend on her work and they are all in the office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., so they primarily have to keep to a uniform working style.
“But if I ever launch a company of my own, I would definitely set it up to be remote and with flexible working hours,” Mykhoparkina said. “However, I understand that this kind of approach doesn’t work with all people and all companies.”
Shayne Sherman, CEO of TechLoris, also told Business Insider that he wished his former bosses understood how to get the best work out of him.
“We all have different ways of being truly productive, and I always felt that the one-size-fits-all approach that a lot of employers take falls a bit short.”
He said while it was usually a technique that worked best for his employer, that didn’t mean it worked best for him.
“I knew it was affecting the quality of the work I was doing, and I didn’t like that at all,” Sherman said. “Because of this, these days, I always talk to my employees to figure out how they work best. There’s nothing worse than being stuck using a methodology that works really well for someone else, but inhibits your ability to do your best work.”
“I’m an introvert.”
David Pipp, who blogs about personal finance and frugal living at LivingLowKey.com, works as a senior production supervisor for a major medical device company by day.
“My secret – that my boss doesn’t know but probably should – is that I’m an introvert,” he told Business Insider. “I oversee a production floor with more than 50 employees reporting to me, and I’m constantly speaking in front of the large group, engaging in conversation with my employees, and going to meetings with high-level leadership where I have to present information.”
He said no one would think he’s an introvert, but it takes a lot of energy for him to pretend to be an extrovert throughout the day.
“I have to be charismatic and outgoing all day long, but honestly, I don’t enjoy speaking in front of crowds or giving presentations,” Pipp said.
He said he doesn’t say anything to his boss since he’s seen introverts struggle in job roles such as his.
“It’s hard to build the trust and loyalty of your team if you don’t interact with others well or would rather hide in a cube all day,” he said. “Having a strong team that performs well factors into my end-of-year performance reviews, so I throw on an extrovert persona each day to motivate them to do great work.”
On the upside, he said his “secret” gets him out of his comfort zone, which helps him grow as an employee and person.
“I’m able to balance it pretty well,” Pipp said.
“My long-term aspirations.”
“When I worked for IBM, I wished my bosses knew my long-term aspirations and recognised my potential,” Jeff Skipper of Jeff Skipper Consulting told Business Insider. “The problem was that they didn’t ask the ‘right’ questions and I didn’t speak up. Looking back, the fault was mine.”
He said he would have liked more responsibility and the ability to advise on a senior level, which is what he does now in his own practice.
“What I needed was close mentoring by an expert so I could learn the nuances of consulting,” Skipper said. “These days, when I coach leaders to achieve higher performance, we focus heavily on making aspirations clear and encouraging employees to share them.”
Ciara Hautau, lead digital marketing strategist at Fuelled, also wishes her bosses knew her future goals, both in and out of the office, she told Business Insider.
“When I started working for my current company, I was so set on creating these strong boundaries with my bosses and not letting them into who I am beyond my career,” she said. “I think when you start a new job or get assigned a new boss, it’s hard to be vulnerable. You want so badly to impress your manager and seem strong, but that can come at a loss of them getting to know who you truly are.”
But once she broke down those barriers, she said she found her work life to be a lot more enjoyable.
“The bonds with my manager became a lot more strengthened,” she said.
“I was having a nervous breakdown.”
Nicole, an interviewee who wished to use a pseudonym, was working as a director of a division at a public relations company when her brother, who was also her best friend, was diagnosed with an incurable form of cancer.
“It was heartbreaking for me, and I had what I called a ‘walking nervous breakdown,’ but I don’t think I fully understood what was going on,” she told Business Insider. “I became moody, snappy, and more anxious. It probably didn’t help that I was a senior-level employee in an office filled with younger people who likely didn’t understand the pain I was going through.”
She said it all came to a head when her boss called her in and told Nicole no one liked working with her anymore. This made her more skittish and paranoid, she said, and she was later fired.
“I wished it had been handled a bit more sensitively,” Nicole said. “Depression is often magnified in work, and I’ve found that most people run away from people who act depressed as if it is contagious. I think when a long time-employee changes so much, like I had, there should be more compassion instead of kicking them when they’re down.”
“I don’t want to organise every work activity.”
Rachel Davidson, founder of Houston Party Ride, previously worked with a team of 18 people for a corporate company. During her employment there, she was constantly picked to organise team activities and other employee-engagement events that required team participation, she told Business Insider.
“What I desperately wished my manager knew about me at that time was that although I enjoyed organising team outings and parties, I would have appreciated a break from doing them,” she said. “I may have previously volunteered for a task no one else on the team wanted, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to volunteer every single time.”
She said, just once, she wanted to be a player, not the game master.
“I always felt that I was missing out on the team spirit of these events because I had to act as an outside force all the time,” she said.
“I wish my boss knew about my illness.”
Olivia Sod, a millennial career and lifestyle expert who runs the site TheDIYFeminist.com, also teaches English online.
“I wish my boss knew about my illness, premenstrual dysphoric disorder,” she told Business Insider. “Living with PMDD means that 10 days before my period, I become a different person: All of the energy drains out of me, I feel depressed and anxious, and I’ll burst into tears for no reason.”
She said although she tries her best to manage her symptoms, there’s nothing she can do to make them go away completely. As a result, she sometimes won’t be able to show up for work.
“So, instead, I’ll send an email about having a fake illness,” she said.
Similarly, Dana, who has opted to use a pseudonym, told Business Insider she wishes her bosses knew that her attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, isn’t an excuse, nor does it make her a bad employee.
She said her ADHD is something she struggles with and wishes she didn’t have – but unfortunately does. In spite of it, she’s still hard-working, yet enthusiastic and eager. Sometimes that eagerness results in small – but easily fixable – mistakes, she said.
“I have to work within the parameters to make it work for me, even though it primarily works against me in the corporate world,” Dana said. “So, bosses, work with me on it, give me the comfort and space to share that I have it with you, and ask me what I need to make it work for both of us.”
“I wish they said ‘thank you’ more.”
Co-founder of Fortunly.com Igor Mitic wishes his boss acknowledged his efforts more often.
“I wish he said ‘thank you’ and ‘good job’ more, instead of only noticing my mistakes,” Mitic told Business Insider.
As a result, he said he’d stay at work longer, especially if his boss enabled him to do his job freely and without restraint.
Adrienne Redelings, a working mum of three who is a paralegal in a busy law firm, also wishes she’d get more positive reinforcement from her boss.
“I wish my boss knew how dedicated I am to his success,” she told Business Insider. “I strive to do my best when I am clocked in – often coming in early, skipping lunches, and staying late to keep up with the demands of the job. I’ve even forfeited family time to catch up on work emails in the evenings to lighten the load for the following day.”
She said though she’s aware and completely understanding of the manager-employee relationship, it’s hard when her boss comes waltzing in from golf, an extended lunch with colleagues, or another personal matter and asks why something in particular hasn’t been completed when a hundred other items are also on her to-do list.
“He is every bit entitled to do those outings, but it is hurtful when I am struggling to keep up with the daily demands to then be made out to be slacking and unproductive,” Redelings said. “Instead, I think bosses should take the time to evaluate their employees’ workloads and let them know when they go above and beyond. A little bit of appreciation and empathy goes a long way and keeps an employee loyal and committed to your success.”
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