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How To Impress Your Boss When You’re Not Receiving Feedback

By Gerald Walsh ©

Let’s face it: most managers are bad at giving feedback whether it’s positive or negative. This can be particularly unsettling if you are new to a job or to a company and looking for direction.

So, how should you perform if you are receiving no feedback from your boss?

Here are six actions you can take that are guaranteed to impress your boss … even if they don’t tell you so:

1. Think like the owner.

The best performers align all their actions with the organization’s overall strategy – just like an owner would. Instead of asking, “What’s in it for me?” ask yourself strategic questions like, “What can I do to improve the bottom line?” or “How can I contribute to the growth of the company?” You will be of far greater value to your employer if you adopt an owner-like mentality.

2. Work hard and deliver results.

Promotions and pay increases will come faster if you deliver results. And while you can increase our own productivity by being better-organized and minimizing interruptions, it also may mean that you are going to have to work longer hours than everyone else.

But remember: employees are rewarded according to the value they bring to their employer, not just the amount of face time they put in. Make those extra hours count.

3. Be likeable.

Likeability is a combination of things such as your smile, physical being, voice, listening skills, warmth, etiquette, manner, attitude, charisma, dress, and passion. Think of a leader you like and respect. What do you feel when they walk into the room? How do others react to that person? Then, think about what it is that these leaders are doing that causes those reactions, and emulate those traits.

4. Cultivate relationships inside and outside of your organization.

It is not just your boss you have to connect with. Make sure you have solid relationships with your colleagues in other departments as well as those in professional associations and community groups. Being well-known, respected and trusted by others is a key trait of high performers. Aim to be the person others think about right away when opportunities open up.

5. Learn from others.

Actors learn by watching other actors perform. Athletes hone certain skills by studying fellow athletes. Think about the skills that you need to strengthen in order to grow your career, then, invite people who are expert in these areas to be your mentor. You will be surprised at how quickly they will accept. Remember, asking for advice from others is a sign of self-confidence, not weakness. 

6. Expand your skill set.

Top performers have a strong technical knowledge base and have developed cross-functional skills over time. Although you may be trained as an accountant, your career can blossom with carefully chosen assignments in operations, human resources, sales, or marketing.

Rarely does a person move through to the top echelons of an organization without gaining hands-on experience in more than one discipline. And, do not ignore the value of building your communication abilities. Individuals with well-developed presentation and communications skills have a distinct advantage over their bashful colleagues.

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Question: If your boss isn’t giving you any feedback you are going to have to take it upon yourself How do you stack up against this list? Complete an honest self-assessment and ask your peers for their input. 

To share your thoughts on this blog post, please write me at walsh@geraldwalsh.com


Gerald Walsh is an executive recruiter, career coach, public speaker and author. During a 25+ year career, he has interviewed more than 15,000 job candidates, completed hundreds of successful searches for a range of organizations and guided many individuals – from young professionals to senior executives – to successful career change. He is the author of “PINNACLE: How to Land the Right Job and Find Fulfillment in Your Career.” You can follow Gerry on Twitter @Gerald_Walsh and LinkedIn.