Keeping the lines of communication open with your manager is an essential tool to manage that relationship. However, just because the lines are open on your end doesn’t mean they’re always open on your manager’s end.
Here are three things your manager is probably thinking but, for whatever reason, hasn’t told you. They may be difficult to hear, but they’re going to make your life at work a whole lot easier.
1. “I can tell when you’re not listening to me.”
You may think your habit of daydreaming while your manager talks is pretty inconspicuous, but trust me, she knows when you’re not 100 percent present. In a previous job, when I was still really new to the workforce, my manager at the time had a habit of hashing out her thoughts out loud. During one of our meetings she was going over an item I thought didn’t really have much to do with me, and I started thinking about something else (probably lunch). She paused and gave me a searching look.
“I don’t know if you realize, but your eyes tend to glaze over when you’re not listening,” she said.
I’m lucky it was just the two of us meeting or I would have been even more mortified than I was already. But I learned a valuable lesson that day: Your boss can tell when you’re not paying attention. Even if you think she can’t tell, she totally can. And if you want to prove you deserve more responsibility at work, force yourself to pay attention to and get involved with other responsibilities at work. Actively listen and offer your insight, even if they’re things that don’t have anything to do with you right now. They might in the future.
2. “There’s a reason I micromanage you.”
If you find that phantom changes to your work are happening overnight, chances are pretty high that it might not be an accident, and even higher that it might be making you unhappy.
“It’s hard to feel trusted and valued when your work is being constantly scrutinized and your boss is checking up on things that you don’t think they need to check on,” writes Alison Green of the management blog “Ask a Manager.”
But think back to any instance in which you may have given your manager, either intentionally or unintentionally, a reason not to trust you. Have you turned in assignments late? Have you made careless spelling errors in emails? Has your math in a company report been off? Make a list of things you may want to improve or do better, and actively show your boss that you’re doing nothing short of spectacular work, and hopefully she’ll back off. If she doesn’t, ask to speak with her about the quality of your work and if there’s anything she would recommend you do differently. She’ll probably ease off just because you asked!
3. “Your co-worker is making more money than you because you didn’t ask.”
Ouch. This could be the toughest one to digest if word ever gets out to you. It’s likely your manager will never tell you this, but she does know, and there are ways you could have known too. A co-worker at a former job once confided in me what her salary was, saying that that’s the starting salary for her position. What she didn’t know was that the average salary for her position was about $3,000 more than she was making—and that this was information she could have found on sites like Glassdoor or PayScale.
And $3,000 dollars a year adds up over time. Not only that, but if and when she goes to ask for a raise, she may have less of a springboard to jump from than her co-worker who’s already earning more. The good news is that you don’t have to wait to ask for more; make an appointment to speak with your manager and lay it all on the line as to why you deserve a raise. Chances are she’ll respect you more for valuing what you’re worth, and trust me, you’re worth a lot.
What’s something you think your manager isn’t telling you that you should know? Tell us in the comments!