Want to be a star player and crush your professional goals? Ask your boss these 12 questions next year!
By Brent Gleeson, INC.
According to 2017 Gallop research, globally 67% of the workforce is disengaged in their jobs. These individuals are difficult to spot because they generally are relatively happy but do the bare minimum and aren't usually sure what it is they are supposed to focus on or how their performance is measured.
Only 15% of the workforce can be defined as engaged, meaning they are emotionally connected to their work, understand how their work drives mission success, have a go-above-and-beyond attitude and have a very clear understanding of their performance metrics and expectations.
This leaves 18% that are actively disengaged - they are actively or passively working against the organization and creating a toxic environment. And therefor need to go.
The highest-rated organizations on sites like Glassdoor and Indeed score very well when it comes to culture-management and the prioritization of employee engagement.
In large part because they have cultures that support leading up the chain of command and upward transparency in communication. And most well-run companies are going to have big goals for next year - which means change is coming. And that means engagement from everyone is critical.
If you want to crush your professional goals in 2018 and be that star player all managers hope for, ask these questions - once a month, in this order!
And you managers out there, listen up! Because unless you're the Chairman and CEO, you most likely have a boss too.
Question to ask: What are your top 3 to 5 priorities for me this year, how will those be measured and how do they related to the company's 2018 plans?
Why to ask it: This may have already been discussed in a year-end review but shows you want to hit the ground running, have clarity in expectations and ensure your activities align with the company's mission plan.
Question to ask: Now that my 2018 goals have been set - if we reflect back to last year - do you have any advice on how I can surpass this year's goals?
Why to ask it: You're 2018 goals are already set, so this is a great opportunity for further reflection on mindsets, behaviors and areas of focus that could be improved to ensure upward mobility and goal achievement.
Question to ask: As we near the end of Q1, what tangible progress are you seeing me make against the KPIs we set for my 2018 goals? Is any course correction needed?
Why to ask it: It is always good to get your boss's perspective on your progress towards the goals set and the defined KPIs - don't just assume you are killing it because you've received no feedback.
Question to ask: In January we talked about the company's 2018 vision and goals. Now that we are in the second quarter of the year, have any of those goals or milestones to fulfill that vision changed or shifted? If so, how does that potentially apply to my set of goals?
Why to ask it: This shows you care about the big picture and how your role fits into mission success. This also shows an "emerging leadership" attitude - all great managers love that!
Question to ask: Outside of more easily measurable goals we have set for me, how do you feel I rank against my peers when it comes to trust, discipline, teamwork and accountability? If you think about the best team members you have managed, how do I compare?
Why to ask it: This question will knock your boss out of her chair - in a good way. It shows maturity and high levels of emotional intelligence. Being accepting of this type of feedback is one thing. Asking for it is next-level awesome!
Question to ask: As we move into the second half of the year, are there any resources available that you feel would assist in my professional and personal development - resources that would help me meet or exceed the goals we have set?
Why to ask it: Professional development for the team is usually a big topic among leaders and managers - especially when it comes to timing and budget. If you don't ask, you may not get. Ask for it!
Question to ask: Can you give me an update on how the company executing the 2018 vision and goals and is there anything else I can be doing to drive mission success?
Why to ask it: Many organizations are good at setting the vision, but under-communicate the progress towards those goals? Where are the quick wins? Who contributed? If this isn't clear to you - ask. And if what you hear doesn't align with the "grapevine" gossip, ask for clarity.
Question to ask: As a member of your team, what else can I do to help you and our team succeed? What's your biggest problem and how can I help solve it? And if there is anything else - I am happy to help - but would like to know if there will be a shift in my priorities and performance metrics.
Why to ask it: Asking your boss how you can help them succeed again shows leadership and a total teamwork mentality. And they may not having anything extra for you, but just asking scores major points!
Question to ask: As we plan Q4,do I need to make any course corrections in my work or priorities or should I just keep forging ahead? On my current path, do you anticipate that I will achieve my goals?
Why to ask it: Why wait until your year-end review to find out if your boss thinks you achieved your goals - ask before it's too late! And guess what, your boss is busy and may not always be paying attention to how you are progressing. Force them to do so.
Question to ask: I feel I have been proactive in requesting feedback and constructive criticism throughout the year, but I wanted to also ask YOU how you are doing? And do you mind if I give you some feedback?
Why to ask it: This two-part question takes guts but shows that you care about your manager - it's a two-way relationship. If you plan to provide constructive criticism, do so with respect and be specific.
Question to ask: As I continue to focus on closing out the year, achieving my goals and helping the team win, I am starting to think about next year as well. What should I stop doing, start doing and continue doing to be a better member of this team?
Why to ask it: A stop-start-continue exercise is one of the best ways to identify easy and actionable things that will help a person or entire organizations make necessary changes.
Question to ask: As we plan my goals for next year, I want to make sure they align with the company's plans and that I have the training and resources to be a star contributor. What cross-functional training do you think would help me not only in my role, but help other's in theirs?
Why to ask it: You will most likely be having a year-end review so you might as well get ahead of the game and ask this question. It shows that you are continuing to think ahead as well as think about how you can help your teammates - and the company - win.
The best people I have managed are the most proactive when it comes to taking ownership and accountability over their development. They show a deep emotional connection to the company and to their work. They don't sit around waiting to be told what to do. They are team players and take on roles and responsibilities outside of their job description - when it's appropriate and as long as those activities don't distract them from the goals they have set with their manager. And most importantly, they are brave and manage up!
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