Explore solutions before asking for help
There’s nothing wrong with asking for help—a good boss will be more than happy to assist so you and the company can succeed. But instead of just saying, “I’m stumped,” and expecting your boss to come up with an answer, brainstorm some possibilities and pick the solution you’re leaning toward before you talk, says Joel Peterson, MBA, chairman of JetBlue Airways and author of The 10 Laws of Trust. “It’s way more constructive because your boss can see you’ve really looked at the alternatives,” he says. “You’re not just asking for help—you’ve done a lot of the thinking, and now you just want input.” Learn how to spot 18 signs that you have a terrible boss.
Fess up to your mistakes
Resist the urge to cover up your faults, and come clean to your boss without making up excuses or trying to shift the blame to other people. Otherwise, you’ll be in way more trouble if your boss figures out what happens. “Blaming subordinates or other people on the team for a loss is a waste of time and energy, and destroys trust and morale,” Peterson says. “People are less willing to take risks and rely on each other.” Here’s how to bounce back from a bad performance review.
Don’t repeat errors
You’re bound to slip up at some point—you are human, after all—which is why no boss will expect you to be perfect. The key is to make different mistakes rather than repeating the same ones over and over, says Hayes Drumwright, CEO of POPin and author of Management vs. Employees: How Leaders Can Bridge the Power Gaps That Hurt Corporate Performance. “My goal would be to want people to know where I messed up and failed,” he says. “That turns a negative into a positive in a big way.”