Friday, January 17, 2014

Guard the Post: The 5 questions you should be asking your boss, but probably are not

This information was taken from an article on LifeHacker titled "8 Questions That Will Improve Your Relationship with Your Boss." The full article can be found here.

As a student trying to break into the very competitive sport industry, it is vital to take advantage of any and all connections and networks at your disposal. Although it is true that as a student most bosses give wiggle room in terms of any mistakes and utilize them as learning opportunities, it is also true that a lot of people will look at your as a lowly intern or co-op. By asking these simple questions throughout the time you are employed will aid in your growth in the company and hopefully in the industry.

1. How was your weekend?

When you ask about a persons personal time it shows that you care about them and what is happening in their lives more than what occurs in the office. This is something that can you set you apart from co-workers and even give you the opportunity to find some common ground between yourself and your boss. Also, when you start a fresh conversation on Monday mornings it can be a way to break the stress in the office that everyone has in preparation for the week ahead.

2. What's your biggest problem and how can I help you solve it?

This question shows that you can take initiative, you have the ability to foresee the issues of others, and you are willing to help a co-worker who may be overwhelmed. The perfect time to offer assistance is when a person is new to the company, is clearly overwhelmed, or has a tight deadline that you or others know about. By being the employee to offer assistance, you can build your invaluable rapport with your boss and others in the office.

3. I'd love to oversee ______. Can we keep that in mind next time we are assigning roles?

It is not only important to excel with your current duties, it is vital to prove to your boss that you want to grow and learn. You want to show that your job can be more than the job description and that you can were not only the best hire for the job, you are better. When it is time for annual reviews, they will look at you and see more than your job title, which can play well in terms of raises and possible promotion.

4. What should I start doing? What should I stop doing? What should I continue doing?

Unfortunately, reviews only come around once or twice a year, which is why it is so important to check in on your work every so often. If you boss evades this conversation and simply says that you are doing great, push them a little bit. Ask what you can do to take it to the next level. Everyone has places where they can improve, and you want to be clear that you are not afraid of their criticism.

5. Could we schedule a follow up conversation in a few days?

Did you boss tell you that you need to improve something? Did they give you a large project that you are nervous to begin? Scheduling an conversation in a few days to check in on progress is a great way to show that you are not just trying to get extra work. It shows that you actually care about what you are working on and that you are actively engaged with how you are doing.

Kevin Murray is a Pre-Junior Sport Management Major at Drexel University, originally from Havertown, PA. He worked in the Drexel Sport Management Department as a Research Assistant focusing on the Penn State scandal, equity in collegiate sports, and Title IX.  He completed his first co-op last spring with Drexel Athletics External Relations Department, where he still works part-time. He is currently a Resident Assistant in University Crossings, a member of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, and Vice President of SMTSU.  You can follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinj_murray.

Connect with Kevin on LinkedIn.

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