Don't assume you know what your boss is thinking about your performance, or you might get a rude awakening. You may think you're doing just fine, but you're far better off finding out for sure. And, if you have concerns about your performance not being up to par, you definitely should find out what your boss thinks. It's generally easier to approach your boss for feedback when you've already established a good rapport, so don't hesitate to establish effective channels of communication.
Review any written or verbal comments your boss has provided to you about your performance in recent months and consider other clues he might have given you about how you're doing. If you recently won a sales award or received additional responsibilities, he probably thinks you're doing well. If, on the other hand, he bleeds all over your submitted work with his red pen or you just got a marginal performance appraisal, he's signaling to you that your performance leaves something to be desired.
Make an appointment with your boss to talk to her privately. Select a time that will allow the two of you to talk in some detail and without interruption.
Tell your boss you would like his specific feedback about your performance. If he indicates you're already doing well, thank him and ask him for his thoughts on a recent project. Ask him for advice about things you might have done to make it even better. Consider talking to him about taking on additional responsibility if he is comfortable with your performance to date and he believes you are ready.
Ask your boss for specific things you can do to improve your performance. If you already feel you are walking around the office under a cloud of disapproval, be respectful and humble when you approach her. Tell her candidly that you're concerned that your performance isn't hitting the mark and that you want to step it up. Ask her to identify areas she thinks need improvement, then find out exactly what constitutes improvement in her book -- it won't do you much good to work on your interpersonal skills if what she wants is for you to improve your memo writing or increase sales.
Set a date with your boss for a specific time to reassess your performance and evaluate whether you've made the improvements he wants. Then, go out and put in 110 percent on improving exactly those areas he identified.
- CNN.com: Nine Questions to Ask Your Boss
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- U.S. News & World Report: What to Do When You're Struggling at Work
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