The Expectations of the Boss


When starting a new job we would like to fulfill the new manager’s expectations of bossexpectations.  We know that employees can influence their manager and you as a newcomer will also have ideas and objectives. It is time to look further at how we put this into action. An important first step is to know the expectations of the boss.

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Eight elements

In this article we look at what managers expect from their newcomers and how they can meet the expectations of the boss.  Eight elements have been defined as being the most important factors. Managers want newcomers who …

1. Build trust by performing tasks well

Trust is essential for good cooperation with your supervisor. As employees have more confidence in their supervisor, there is more job satisfaction, they are also more connected to the organization, perform better and can develop better. Also the trust of the manager in his employees is of great value. Staff members will perform better and will be looking less for a different job.

Mind you, I know managers who are not interested in trust at all, however, I think that if you have a boss where you can build this trust, you will be far better of.

2. Come up with solutions to problems

It is important and constructive to ask for help on time. You certainly do not have to be ashamed of that, although some colleagues might loath you for that. Unfortunately managers usually have a lot of obligations, they do not you will want solutionsalways know in detail what you’re doing, or do they no longer know what it is like to start working as a newbie. A manager mostly follows the main lines and keeps the big picture in mind so that all the different projects that his employees perform complement each other nicely.

Provide solutions

For most managers it takes too much time to detail the work of all employees to follow. That also means that what feels like a central aspect of your work is often a smaller detail in the big picture that he has to oversee. And whatever the reason, it is not uncommon for employees to experience that it is sometimes difficult for a manager to provide good solutions to their problems.

3. Sufficiently inform and communicate

The message here is that it is appreciated that you go to work independently, but your supervisor wants to know what you are doing. Even if your manager does not always show it openly. But even if you want your supervisor to think along with you, this is one condition. Anyway, in every new relationship, people have to find their ways and get used to each other, so you have to try out things.

4. Positively follow-up feedback

Even though this is not the intention of an employee, it is and remains important to give your supervisor the message that you are taking feedback seriously and actively engage with it. After all, giving and receiving feedback is positive feedback handlingone of the most important investments in the relationship. For example, making notes during a conversation can be a tricky matter for some executives. For some, this is an important indication that you value their opinion and that you pay attention.

Take them serious

If you do not do that, then it seems for these managers as if you are not taking them seriously or ‘sitting out’ the meeting. While you might just be actively evaluating his words and focusing all your attention and energy on them. In other words, it is good to know what your supervisor thinks so that you can respond to it.

5. Follow when they need you to

A good employee knows when to lead, but also when he has to follow. Pick your battles! You can not and must not want to win everything. Moreover, sometimes you just have to listen, or follow your supervisor just the same. And sometimes time is more important than quality. Also remains it is your supervisor’s job to steer you where necessary. Stay away from any form of insubordination and you will be going in the right direction.

6. Make an effort to build good relationships

It is important that you have a good working relationship with you manager, and that you find your place in the department or team. It is important at thisbuilding relationships stage to get to know your managers and colleagues and to establish good personal relationships with them. It sounds simple: show interest in a person and you build a good relationship. Yet this is often harder than expected.

Special interest

Showing special interest in your supervisor can be considered as “kissing ass” and your colleagues (and in some cases your boss) might take offence. Personally I hated sweet talking, both when I was an employee and as a boss. My advice here would be to refrain from insincere flattery.

7. Take initiatives themselves

Do something extra! Do something creative! Think actively! In other words, make sure you add something to the process and leave a positive impression. Apply improvement opportunities that you see in the task you are performing. Or suggest new projects. Take initiative where you see that there are possibilities. Certainly when it comes to personal wishes and expectations, it is a good idea to be proactive. You know best what you want and what your future plans are. By being honest here and openly communicating about it, your supervisor can more easily assess how he best suits your wishes. A win-win for everyone, because you can fully develop and your supervisor gets an enthusiastic and motivated employee in return.

8. Have integrity

be a person of integritySome people will admit to their mistakes, or when something just went south. At the same time they will also give their opinion on what they find important. People with integrity show that they are professional and have ethical standards that they consider important. Yes, people who are honest will be vulnerable, especially when they are wrong or if they make a mistake. However, it will show that they can be trusted.  This could work both ways, as your manager might reciprocate. Depending on the relationship with your manager you can show more or less of yourself.

Conclusions + my recommendation no. 1

In the work situation, especially when you just started a new job or get a new boss, it is essential for you to find out everything you can about your manager. Knowing what your boss will be expecting from you plays a very important role. You may have concluded that living up to the expectations of your boss might not be easy. No boss is the same, they will all react differently to various people and situations. Neither are you, dear reader, you also differ from one to the other. What will work in one case might not in another matter.

Trouble with boss

I would appreciate to learn more about your experiences with your bosses and you are very welcome to share them here in the comment box. As this site aims to help people having trouble with their bosses, I might be able to steer you in the right direction. I have also dedicated an article about recognizing when you might be on your way out, which you can read here.

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2 thoughts on “The Expectations of the Boss”

  1. Jerry,

    What great information you have. I have to find a way to get my employees to your page. Your eight step process really is the way to beat the boss. Meeting and exceeding there expectations as you stated is what has helped me grow in every business or employment ive ever had. You hit the nail on the head with each and every step. It doesn’t matter where you work.

    My favorites are steps 2 “Come up with solutions to problems” and 7 “Take initiatives themselves”. All your steps will help anyone who is employed.

    One thing I’ve struggled with was your step 6 “Make an effort to build good relationships”. I’ve never been one to rub elbows. I’m more of a “hard Work Pays Off” kind of guy and I’ll play later. I could really use tips in this area. Is there any books you would recommend ? I really want to change my mindset here and open up to building relationships

    • Thanks you Dale for your valuable contribution to my article and I am pleased that I could be of help. By all means, let your employees in on this post if it helps their careers.

      I myself, like you, have always been of the hard working type, thinking that if you would perform, then your boss’s appreciation will follow automatically. In whatever form. However, in my 37 years experience of working for bosses, hard work alone is not enough. You need to have some form of good rapport with your boss, a kind of understanding. If you compete with a colleague for a promotion, then a boss will most probably choose the one that has made no problems at all, rather than the straightforward one who might have gone against him, even when he or she was right.

      I agree with you that this is a shady one, but it is a fact that when a boss likes you, he will promote you and not the one that has the same capabilities, but not his sympathy.


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