The thought of talking to your boss about your work expectations probably sends shivers down your spine.
But if you're a new employee and want to start off on the right track, or if you've worked at a company for years and feel burned out, stressed or unhappy, you'll need to muster up the courage to have just such a conversation.
To be successful when you do, you must be clear about your expectations, and you must communicate them in a way that will keep your boss listening.
"In a typical employment situation, certain expectations -- such as salary, hours and job duties -- are clearly understood by both employer and employee. Other expectations, however, may be so closely linked to your idea of work that you simply assume the expectations will be met without clearly stating them," reports Inscape Publishing Inc. in "Managing Work Expectations -- Transforming Attitudes," a self-assessment workbook.
The "Other" Job Expectations
According to the workbook, these expectations often go unspoken:
4. Career growth
To help clarify your thoughts, write each of these expectations on a separate sheet of paper, then answer these three questions for each one.
1. What do you expect? For example, let's consider "autonomy." Do you expect the freedom to make decisions about your job? How much supervision do you want?
2. Where are you now? How well has this expectation already been met? While you want to primarily focus on the unmet ones, it's also important your boss know what's working for you.
3. Where do you want to go? Company policy or structure may prevent some expectations from being met, so you must be willing to make some compromises. You must come up with possible solutions to your unmet expectations.
When to Talk to Your Boss
A good time to talk is during your regularly scheduled performance review.
Make Practical Suggestions
It's essential you come prepared to discuss several possible solutions for about three of your expectations. You want to give your boss choices, so make your requests short and concise.
Put your suggestions in writing and, when you leave, say, "I've written these down for you to consider. Thank you for your time and your interest." Follow up with a thank-you letter.
A Powerful Impact
Whether spoken or unspoken, met or unmet, work expectations have a powerful impact on your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and are the key drivers of your attitude.
Taking the time to address them can increase your success and reduce your stress at work.