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Research Triangle Business Advisors

March 2016 Newsletter


How many times have you asked your manager what he/she wants you to do or how they want you to do it? Probably often! However, I think there is a question you would like to ask your manager but never do.  The question is: What do you really expect from me?

This month I share my view on what your manager really wants from you based on my conversations with managers that come from across the business and multiple industries.



  Bob De Contreras





What Your Manager Really Wants from You

Even in situations where there is overwhelming attention to employee performance metrics, it’s not always clear what the manager wants or expects. Why? Maybe there’s a presumption that those expectations are already clear, but they’re not. Or, maybe the employees are placing pressure on themselves to do better (“I am a strong performer, but maybe that’s not enough.”). In any event, there’s a joint responsibility to ensure that expectations are well-articulated and understood. But, sadly, that kind of effective communication (especially listening) doesn’t happen with the frequency or the quality that it should.

What follows is what I have observed are your manager’s expectations for you and your peers. I am fortunate enough to work with these managers who come from a diverse span of industries and professions: architecture, engineering, computer, bio-pharma, education, technology, and advertising to name a few. Let me offer what I have heard your manager wants from you.

Your manager wants you to be:

  1. Uncompromisingly focused on meeting objectives and completing projects or initiatives in a timely, responsible fashion. And if things are falling short, your manager is expecting some sort of early-warning/heads-up.

    - Meet Objectives/No Surprises

  2. Well aware of the particular numbers or initiatives that are of critical importance to him or her. Notice I didn’t say “…important to the company…” Your manager wants you to make him/her look good by meeting the department or group objectives. Are you fluent in those numbers, and do you keep your manager apprised of where they are trending? You should be. Also, if these numbers or projects are veering off course, your manager wants you to come to him/her with the problem early, armed with three well-thought-out possible solutions.

    - Meet Your Manager’s Objectives

  3. On top of the pulse of your organization, your employees and of your customers. You should know where the stress points are, what’s causing the stresses and what’s being done about them.

    - Support Other People and Organizations

  4. Clear on where the business is going in the broader sense and in the longer term. You should have a respectable point of view on where the company should be going and why.

    - Know Your Business and Industry

  5. Knowledgeable about your people and their people — their strengths, weaknesses, and potential. Know how their jobs help the company meet its goals. Know how their jobs are tied to your organization’s strategy.

    - Hire Top Performers, Support Them and Keep Them Trained

  6. Building a following of competent people who trust you, trust each other, keep you in the loop, and feel as if you are there to help and guide without getting in the way or taking credit for their work. If people are not coming to you to ask for help, you are not meeting this manager expectation.

    - Remove Impediments Preventing Your Employees from Doing Their Jobs

  7. Capable of identifying problems on the horizon, analyzing them, and problem-solving effectively — either alone or in collaboration with colleagues — on a timely basis.

    - Plan Ahead

  8. Able to play well with others consistently. That is, confident enough to say what you think and also confident enough to hear, respect, and integrate others’ views into your own perspective.

    - Build Positive Relationships with Everyone

You can use this list in two ways.

  • To better understand your manager’s perspective, on what he/she wants from you;

  • And, to validate your expectations of employees you manage.


Cary | Raleigh | Research Triangle Park | Greensboro | North Carolina
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