You might think that, to your boss, the only thing that matters is checking off all the boxes on your daily to do list. Of course that’s important, but while your job description probably provides an excellent catalog of all the tasks you need to perform on a daily basis, it doesn’t paint a complete story of what it takes to do your job – particularly if you want to move up the career ladder.
If you’re angling to get ahead, it helps to know these five skills that your boss is looking for. Be someone who:
1. Plays well with others.
Every workplace is collaborative, and the best employees are those who can work as part of a team. Being able to communicate well with your coworkers, play your role with efficiency, and solve conflicts as they come up are all crucial skills. With so much on his plate, your boss doesn’t want to waste time dealing problems that result from incompatible personalities.
Take a look at the way you work with your coworkers. Are you doing your best to be make things run smoothly? Or are you letting your work be derailed by interpersonal conflicts and frustrations? Focus on being the office problem solver rather than letting personality conflicts derail your work.
2. Takes initiative
Your boss is looking for someone who will go above and beyond, who always exceed expectations and does more than is actually required. Don’t just meet a deadline – blow it out of the water. Don’t just report a problem – come prepared with solutions to solve it. If you’re consistently taking work off your boss’s plate, you can be sure she’ll notice.
Keep an eye out for ways you can go the extra mile. And if you’re occasionally asked to do something beyond your normal tasks, definitely don’t ever respond with, “That’s not in my job description.” Instead, actively search out ways that you can improve your skill set and your job performance.
3. Brings ideas to the table
If you’re good at your job, you probably have thought of plenty of ways to improve things. Some may be a stretch to get implemented (nap room!), but others might just change the organization. Your boss (hopefully) isn’t looking for an employee who just fills a desk chair – he wants solid thinkers who can bring a new perspective to a problem.
What sort of major contribution can you add? Are there any glaring difficulties that the organization is facing? At the end of your time here, what problems do you want to be remembered for fixing? If you come up with a clear vision and present your plan to your boss, he’ll appreciate your efforts.
4. Pays attention to details
What may not seem like a big deal to you might be a huge problem for your boss. Things like showing up five minutes late for a meeting or forgetting to send one email attachment aren’t anything on their own – but continuously cutting corners or letting little things slide will catch your boss’s attention. Your boss has precious little time to waste it on constantly catching your mistakes.
Do your best to be detail-oriented even with policies you don’t agree with. You might think it doesn’t matter if you ignore a new irritating requirement, but remember that you’re not always plugged in to the deeper reasons behind things.
5. Doesn’t hide behind excuses
When things go wrong, your boss isn’t looking for excuses – she’s looking for someone who’s willing to step up and solve problems. If it’s your fault a deadline got missed, accept responsibility and don’t try to pass the blame. If it’s someone else’s, don’t throw them under the bus – understand that the problem belongs to the entire team.
Everybody makes mistakes, but if you do your best to make certain your mistakes don’t become your boss’s problem, she’ll thank you for it.