What Your Boss Expects

Are you crystal clear on what your boss expects of you?  

During the course of my career, this was probably the most challenging (and at times frustrating) parts of my job.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I have had some great bosses AND I have had some bad ones too.  With the good bosses, I knew what was expected and I knew where I stood.  So, no (or very few) surprises at review time.

But for the bad bosses, knowing what was expected out of the gate (at the beginning of the performance year) made things sooooo much easier at annual review time.

So, I ask again, "Are crystal clear on what your boss expects of you?

If yes, great!  If this is not the case, the burden falls on you to uncover what s/he expects of and from you, including when.

You can bet that your boss expects you to do a great job, but sometimes s/he may have difficulty expressing in words what "doing a great job" means. 

You would think that the boss should know what s/he wants and be able to express it clearly.  But that is not always the case because expectations come in several forms:  

  • Written and Unwritten
  • Spoken and Unspoken
  • Known and Unknown

This may be hard to hear, but it needs to be said.  It is incumbent upon you to be crystal clear about what is expected of and from you.  At the end of the day you will suffer the repercussions if expectations are unclear.


Written, Spoken & Known Expectations

These expectations are the easiest, since they are written, spoken or known.  They are usually found in your organizations annual goals and objectives, your job description or communicated elsewhere.

Expectations of this sort serve as a foundation for two-way communication between you and your boss.  It takes out some of the subjectivity and contributes toward building trust in your working relationship.

It is so important to gather as much information as possible at the beginning of the performance year, project or task.  This information will help you develop your plan for success. 


Unwritten, Unspoken & Unknown Expectations

Have you ever been humming along, thinking you and your boss were on the same page?  So sure that you were clear on what was expected, until....  Until you sat down and actually talked, only to realize that you two where not on the same page after all.

One of the main causes of clashes like these?  Not unearthing unwritten and unspoken expectations.  I always say, "Discovery comes in the dialogue, as well as in the doing."

If you do not take time to talk through and discuss what is expected, there is a very high likelihood you will miss the mark.  

Expectations that are unwritten AND unspoken are UNKNOWN. 

And not meeting UNKNOWN expectations (that are important to your boss) can be the difference between survival and success.

The best way to uncover unwritten and unspoken expectations, is to engage in dialogue with your boss.  Sure, it takes time, especially on the front end, but it can save time and heartache on the back end.

Schedule a meeting to discuss your position description and the goals you have developed for the next 30-, 60- and 90-Days.  

Get agreement from your boss that the two of you are on the same page regarding what is expected.  

As unwritten, unspoken and unknown expectations are revealed, make sure to write them down. 

Schedule periodic updates to discuss progress with your boss.  This can help eliminate heartburn at annual review time.

What Your Boss Expects

In closing, I recently read an interesting article entitled, "4 Things You Can Say To Make Your Boss Love You" written by Dominque Rogers. 

To find out what they are and get my insights on how they can contribute to your success, read "Managing Up".

(Click here for the full article.)

Although it is impossible to write down everything that is expected, it is reasonable to write down and discuss those things that are most important. 

My goal is to help you increase your odds of meeting and/or exceeding expectations by using a proven process of discovery

Want To Know More?

I will wrap-up our conversation the way I began.  With this question, "Are you crystal clear on what your boss expects of you?"  

If not, you have some work to do.  And the information shared here is designed to help you think through what you need to do, then take corrective action.

If you do not know what your boss expects, you stand a fifty-fifty chance of NOT meeting expectations.  Therefore, understanding what is expected is critical to your success because:

Expectations that are unwritten AND unspoken are UNKNOWN. 

Find out now; do not wait until performance review time.  It will be too late to correct results that are trending below your boss expectations.  

Bottom line, now is the time to build a good working relationship with your boss.  Write down what your boss expects.  It will serve as a valuable reference and is key to meeting and/or exceeding expectations in your role.

Get the information you need to meet and exceed expectations.  Much success in your quest.  If I can assist, please contact me HERE.

Coming January 2024

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About Coach Gwen



Leaders don't







- Tom Peters


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