If you knew exactly what your boss wanted or your boss’s boss was looking for, would it help your career? Of course! Yet, many feel finding this information out is like trying to read someone’s mind. Well, here’s your crystal ball and a glimpse into what your boss, your leader or head honcho is seeking in their search for promotable candidates. It’s not an all-inclusive list by any means, but a list you may wish to keep handy next time you want to make a favorable impression that might bring job favor your direction.
It’s hard to not get behind someone who knows where they’re going. A leader looks for someone who knows. They have a purpose, they intend to carry out that purpose and they’re confidently going in that direction, with or without the leader’s help. Employees with purpose may be driven by what goes on at work. They may also be driven by other forces. The source of the force matters not, but what is critically important is that an employee or manager has a purpose behind what they’re doing, where they’re going, and why they’re working there. Leaders look for people who are acting on purpose, with a purpose, and for a purpose.
Likely one of the most overused words in the speaking profession, let’s face it, passion is important. Leaders don’t want employees who feel their day to day work is just a job. Leaders look for people passionate about what they do and with whom they’re doing it. Not only do they seek someone with a purpose, but they seek out the confidence, born of passion, behind that purpose. It’s one thing for an employee to say “I believe in that”. It’s quite another for that same employee to show how much they believe in their actions or efforts by demonstrating a passion for doing what they do. Leaders look for people with passion.
The old adage is that if an employee comes in early and stays late, they must be getting a lot done. This used to make that employee look good. It’s still has some truth to it, but a more true scenario is that if the employee knows more about the happenings on Facebook and who’s doing what this weekend, than they do about their job, they are clearly not a productive member of the team. Be productive. Get stuff done. Most leaders possess or have learned to appreciate, the natural tendency to get stuff done. If an employee always appears to be milling about or gossiping or strolling to their next meeting, chances are the impression will be they are not very productive. Leaders look for people who are productive.
Many times leaders not only like to get stuff done, they are manically driven by this motivation. As such, they often also value efficiency, the speed at which something gets done, shared, talked about or executed. This also applies to reports and conversations. If you have something to say, say it. If you have information to give, give it and in both cases, get to the point. Three stories and poem that lead up to why you are saying what you are about to say won’t fly with most leaders with a busy schedule. Leaders look for people who not only have a point, but get to it rather quickly.
Leaders and employees alike have all heard workplace stories in which the underdog won. It’s that person who seemed to be a poor performer who turned it around and knocked it out of the park. Leaders look for that. A leader who is able to inspire someone to achieve their potential, is exceptionally proud to watch that person grow. An employee who shows their potential and then reaches it gains confidence, has passion, got to the point, demonstrated a purpose and well, lived up to their potential. When promoting an employee from their current level to the next one, a leader is looking for enough potential to give them the confidence that this person won’t let them down, won’t make them question their judgment and will be able to carry out the other elements they seek in their new role. Leaders look for people with potential, and then invite them to prove it.
Leaders look, listen, and learn constantly and while this is not a finite list of what they’re looking for, it is a good guide to that which your boss is keeping an eye out for at the office. How many of them can you say you show on a daily basis? How many might you focus on in making some improvements? How many of them do you see in those you lead?