When you take ownership
From stepping up and taking the lead to accepting the faceplant when things go wrong, taking ownership is vital to bosses. “Does the employee understand what it means to ‘own’ something—a process, a piece of equipment, a customer relationship?” asks Matthew DiGeronimo, the vice president of operations for Veolia Energy North America and co-author of Extreme Operational Excellence. “It is a rare quality with invaluable worth when an employee takes responsibility for every aspect of a business process. This allows the boss to focus her attention elsewhere because she knows that the employee will take the necessary action, even if it’s outside their defined duties and responsibilities, to ensure success.” Here’s how to bounce back from a bad performance review.
When you ask ‘why?’
Managers are often at the helm of the company’s pivots, making them keenly aware of the why, when, how, and where of the success metrics. But when bosses relay this information to their teams, sometimes the justification for new goals, timelines, or projects doesn’t get communicated effectively. DiGeronimio says an employee who has a questioning attitude is an asset. “Innovative solutions and creative ideas stem from a solid understand of ‘why’ the company is doing something. Too many employees are happy to keep their head down and do as they’re told,” he says. “But bosses notice when an employee is willing to raise her head above the fray and ask, ‘Why?’ This takes courage and determination, but a wise boss will hold onto employees who are willing to do it.”