Get Ahead By Getting in Front of Your Boss

Not everyone is quitting their job right now. For those staying put, the Great Resignation that is filling the news could be a great time to get ahead. But there’s one catch: your boss has to know the results of your work.

We have found that a surprising number of managers are having trouble tracking employees’ work, especially in the remote-work era. Even the most engaged manager divides their attention between other employees and responsibilities. But proving you’ve hit the mark may be critical toward reaching the goals of incentive plans, which can account for 5-40% of many workers’ salaries. Here are tips I’ve found work for reporting your results.

Get on their calendar.

Schedule a meeting with your boss to set some short- to medium-term goals. The idea is to have something to show for your work relatively soon. Before you leave that conversation, schedule the next meeting in a month or so.

The next time you follow up, review the goals and show quantitative and qualitative progress on each of them. This is also a good time to bring up anything significant you’ve accomplished that wasn’t on the list of goals, and to discuss whether the original goals are still relevant or need to be tweaked.

Measure your results.

Quantitative results are the best way to show your impact in a way that will translate all the way up the ladder. I recommend showing a mix of large and small wins. Smaller-scale wins can set you up to explain some qualitative results that aren’t as visible at first glance.

Make a special effort to highlight examples of when you saved the company time or money or took initiative––perhaps shouldering some responsibilities that previously belonged to a person who quit.

Show your skills and why they matter.

Let your manager know which skills you used to accomplish your quantitative goals — soft skills included. If they’re not already aware of the skills you consider to be your greatest strengths or natural abilities, bring that up in the conversation.

This is also a good time to demonstrate your eagerness to learn. Tell your boss which skills you want to build, and ask which abilities they think you should develop so you'll be ready for your next role. Then, you can build an upskilling plan together.

Use your results to set ongoing goals.

Every time you share progress with your manager, discuss the projects that were most important for them and for the company, as well as the projects that energized you most. Then set a few new goals––a mix of short- and long-term––that fall at the intersection of their needs and your enjoyment. Goals will be easier to accomplish if the challenge energizes you.

If you keep making consistent progress and demonstrating your results on a regular basis, your boss should know exactly what you’ve accomplished when it's time to discuss raises and promotions.

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.
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