Look in the mirror and meet your boss

Posted by on Jan 7, 2013

That person you “report to” at work might say otherwise, but the fact is, you are your own first and foremost supervisor, manager, and leader.

Ever hear a voice in your head telling you to spend extra time with a customer? That’s your boss talking.

Ever kick yourself for moving too slow or making some dumb mistake or falling short of your potential? That’s your boss letting you have it.

Ever finish a project with a deep feeling of self-satisfaction? Give credit to that boss of yours, who knows better than anyone when you put your greatest strengths to work.

No one knows you like our own internal boss. And the best thing is, you can put this “person” to good work every day. Here are five ways:

Conduct your own performance evaluation at least once a week. No need to bother with questionable criteria, arbitrary templates, or macro-laden spreadsheets. Simply compare your productivity to your potential, and decide on one or two things to do differently during the upcoming week.

Know your strengths. It sounds obvious — so obvious that you can immediately name your top three. You can name your top three strengths, right?

Take responsibility for your own learning. There are opportunities all around you: in that magazine article you’ve been meaning to read, in that lunchtime conversation with people from another department, in that optional lunch-and-learn session, in that upcoming workshop, in that new project that will also add to your workload. The choice is yours.

Keep yourself informed. If you feel uneasy because you’re working with a scarcity of information, go to people in the know and fill in the blanks as best you can. You’ll get plenty of answers as long as you ask questions.

If you mess something up, don’t beat yourself up. Chalk it up to learning, extract the one or two biggest lessons, carry them forward to inform your future work, and leave everything else in the forgotten past.