Sometimes it can be hard to strike up a conversation with your boss about something other than your assignments and your performance, but you really should make the effort, Katie Douthwaite writes. Doing so can help your relationship with your boss and your career.
Douthwaite suggests working these five topics into your conversations with your boss.
- Your five-year plan. Many bosses want to see their employees achieve their goals and are more than happy to do what they can to help them do so. This help might involve putting in a good word to someone in a different department or offering special assignments to help develop new skills. Start the conversation off slowly with some general remarks about what you’d like to do in the future so you don’t give the impression you’re looking to leave soon. Then, if your comments go over well, you can get more specific in future discussions.
- Your ideas. If you have a serious idea for a solution to a problem or a better way to do things, you should share that with your boss. It will show that you’re thinking and taking initiative. Also, if your idea is put into action, it will help your company and give you an accomplishment to add to your résumé.
- Your requests for advice. You don’t want to come to your boss for help with every little problem that pops up, but he probably got his job because of his experience, so don’t be afraid to ask for his insight when you’re facing an unfamiliar or particularly difficult challenge. Chances are he’s been in the same situation before and can offer you some good advice on how to proceed.
- Your boss’s insights. If your boss has more experience at your company and in your industry, he probably has a lot of great information on both of them. Don’t be afraid to ask about company processes, history or the industry as a whole. It will show him you’re interested and invested, while providing you with interesting and potentially useful information.
- Your personal life. You don’t want to get too personal, but sharing some information about your history and your life outside of work can help both of you relax and develop a closer relationship that can help with work.
— Adapted from “5 Things You Should Be Talking to Your Boss About,” Katie Douthwaite, The Daily Muse.
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