How do you know — and I mean really know — that your boss cares about your career growth? Easy. They will ask you thoughtful questions. These are not meant to be “gotcha!” questions that trip you up either. The questions your boss asks should start a conversation about your development and professional future. By asking these questions, your boss is also showing subtle signs that they care about where you’re headed. You may not realize it, but your answers allow them to gently guide you in the right direction. Let’s take a look at which questions to anticipate and what makes each question so pivotal to your career growth.
One of the best parts of being asked this question is that it is ever-changing. The longer you have been with a company, the more likely the answer will shift over time. A task you loved doing two years ago may be replaced with a different duty. Perhaps you didn’t necessarily think you could love doing something new, but you tried it, worked hard and gained confidence as you succeeded in the new line of work.
Generally, when you discuss what you love to do, be it with your boss or anyone else, you naturally become more enthusiastic. Your passion for it shines through — and your boss will take note. When you share what you love about your job, your boss will do what they can to allow you to pursue what you love and succeed. They may ask you to shadow a manager in the same department in order to learn additional skill sets, or travel to a conference where you can gain insight in your industry. This helps position you to move upward in the company and manage teams that are passionate about their jobs.
This question connects to what is known as an impact conversation. Halelly Azulay, CEO of TalentGrow LLC, specializes in developing leaders and their teams. She recommends bosses ask their employees this question because it’s easy for anyone to get caught up in their workload and forget about the big picture. Is the work you’re doing actually making a difference, or is it busy work to keep you occupied?
“Your boss should talk to you about the important connection you have to the goals of the team, department and organization as a whole,” Azulay says. “They should be able to give you updates on the organization’s performance and continue to help you see the connection back to your job.”
Everyone deserves to know how their daily work impacts the mission of the organization. Once you have a clear understanding of the mission and values of the company, you’ll be able to perform better and feel like a valued member of the team.
This one is pretty straight-forward: What employees need once they have established their goals is a cheerleader. No matter how well equipped they are for the journey forward, getting there is not going to look like they imagined. There will be a lot of ups and even more downs. And your boss offering themselves as a cheerleader during these trying times is a sure sign they care about your career growth. A boss that cares offers you feedback, provides encouragement during the off days and goes all in when you succeed to build you up.