Get noticed: 8 things that your boss wished you did more

After working with thousands of directors and leaders from many different countries, I have noticed that there common areas which they wished their team members are better in.

Your boss will surely notice you if you do these!

1.    Speak up more by giving feedback or share ideas

Bosses wished their people spoke up more. A lot more. They look forward to hearing opinions and ideas on how things can be different or better. But in many cases, team members are sometimes not as expressive as they wished.

They don’t want team members to just sit quietly in a meeting and not say anything at all. They want them to give real-time feedback on how things are working, share ideas and possibilities. If there is something that needs to be fixed or done differently, speak up! Your boss is not a mind reader and don’t let them guess.

2.    Be more strategic

I know, this word “strategic” has thousands of definitions, depending on the boss you work with. To make this easily understood, we can simply say that it is looking at things and see how they link together.

Your boss is looking at how you can create more value for your stakeholders and link them to the overall goal of your department. They also hope that you could anticipate intended and unintended consequences that might arise out of your actions.

3.    Have more ownership and be proactive

“I wished my people had more ownership over what they are doing!” This is definitely one of the more common statements that I have heard.

Bosses want their people to be responsible for their area of work. They do not want their staff to shift responsibility to others or to the boss. If they give you a task, they want you to see to its completion and not sit on it.

They don’t want to be constantly chasing you to do things and prefer that you embark on it yourself and make things happen. 

Most of them don’t expect you to instantly solve everything but you must be able to at least try without constantly going back to them with problems.

4.    Be solutions-oriented rather than problem-centred

When there are problems, leaders want their people to be solutions-oriented.

“I know problems usually happen but I want them to tell me what can be done, instead of all the problems that are holding us back. At least give me a solution,” says a leader.

Anybody can whine, but not everyone can come up with solutions quickly. The one who is able to work out small steps to move beyond the complexities of a problem and straight into solutions is definitely going to get the boss’s attention.

5.    Be more focused and prioritise accordingly

Leaders know that they probably pile up a lot of work to their team members. The art is not to drown in it but still able to skilfully focus on what really matters and execute them well.

Let’s face it, there will always be things to do. By completing them according to priority from importance takes skill.

6.    Be results-oriented

Your boss knows that you are working hard (or maybe they don’t know). However, what really matters is the results.

It is easy to keep doing things, but what does it result to? If you say that you are working on it, when will you be able to deliver it? Does everything you do result in something or gets buried in urgent but unimportant things?

7.  Update them more often

Your boss has their own projects and deliverables. Imagine them tracking all ten of your team’s work too?

As much as your boss needs to manage you, you also need to manage your boss. Email or update them personally on your progress. A five-minute brief keeps them happy and lets them know you are on top of things. Best of all, it keeps them off your back.

8.    Be less calculative

If you keep taking stock of all the overtime and grumble about the ‘extra’ amount of work there is, or start drawing lines, you are really being calculative. Bosses want people to go through the extra mile (I admit that this can be subjective) and they don’t want you to constantly remind them that you have done this and that at your expense.

Go the extra mile – they will notice you.

Do share with me which one of the above things do you foresee your boss want more from you? What are some other things to add to this list?

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Picture of Kenneth Kwan, CSP
Kenneth Kwan, CSP

Kenneth Kwan is an internationally recognized Author, Global Leadership and Motivational Speaker, renowned for his ability to inspire and empower audiences worldwide. With over a decade of experience, he has spoken to leaders from 40 countries, helping transform cultures and shift mindsets within Multi-National Companies (MNCs) and Government Organizations. Kenneth’s expertise in solution-focused thinking and strategic planning has guided numerous businesses toward significant results and high-performance environments. Featured in esteemed media outlets like Channel News Asia and Malaysia's BFM89.9, his insights on leadership and motivation are highly sought after. Kenneth's book, "Small Steps To Big Changes," showcases his profound wisdom and practical strategies, making a lasting impact in lectures and training programs across the region.