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The Four Things Your Manager Wants

Despite what the critic inside your head says, your manager probably doesn’t expect perfection.

But here’s what they most likely want…

Your manager wants you to take ownership.

They want you to identify a problem before they do and let them know how you plan to solve it. They don’t want you to hide and wait for them to come to you.

“I’ve noticed that this is taking longer than we’d like. I want you to know I’m on it and plan to communicate with the vendor more frequently so we hit our deadlines.”

Your manager wants you to ask for help when you need it.

They want you to attempt to handle things on your own but, they want you to acknowledge when you’re stuck. They want you to identify what’s in your way so they can help. They don’t want you to pretend you’ve got everything under control.

“I’ve tried to figure out how to break down these numbers but I’m still struggling to see the through line. I need 10-15 minutes of your time to help me see what I’m missing, and to point me in the right direction so I can take this through to completion”

Your manager wants you to offer solutions proactively when you can.

They don’t expect you to have all of the answers, but they do want you to have at least thought about it.

“I think I’ve figured out how we can deliver these projects to the client faster, and how we can set expectations earlier in the process. Can I book some time on your schedule to run your through what I’m thinking?”

Your manager wants to know you’re willing to learn and are open to coaching.

They know that your growth and development is critical to solving future problems and accomplishing larger goals. When given the choice, they will probably always choose the person who has a greater capacity to grow and is willing to take feedback.

“This project hasn’t gone smoothly. I want to learn more about data and analytics. I’m open to any coaching you have for me and I want you to know that I plan on taking some online course to round out my knowledge.


There are different kinds of managers. For the ones who see themselves as leaders, they want to see you grow and reach your fullest potential. They see themselves as a partner in helping you do that.

The four things mentioned above communicate to them that you are engaged. Each give them an opening to help.

Any good manager will want you to persevere. They will want you to confront your perfectionism and your doubts. They will want every opportunity to help you succeed for the good of the team, and, if they are a leader, for you to reach your potential.

Show them your leadership.

  • Care about your work, and care enough about your manager to communicate openly and transparently.
  • Show that you can be trusted and relied upon because you communicate what you need.
  • Demonstrate that you are part of the team that will help the team safely reach its goals.

Communicating effectively with your manager is leadership and we need you just as much as we need them.

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