Does your boss think you’re competent?
It’s an important question. Getting along with your boss is a pretty crucial part of succeeding at work. Your manager likely controls whether or not you get promoted, demoted, or fired, after all. Your job is in their hands.
Some bosses make it clear if they adore you – non-romantically, of course. They heap on the praise, give positive and detailed feedback, and make you feel like you’re an integral part of the success of the organization.
But not all managers are so open.
It’s always good to ask for honest feedback. Before you make inquiries, though, here are 13 signs that your boss probably is pretty impressed with your work:
They give you tough love
- Henry Söderlund/flickr
“A boss who sees you as promising may give you a lot of feedback, not all of it positive – some of it might be ‘tough love’ because he or she sees you as someone who can handle it and is ready for more responsibility,” she says.
They challenge you
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed at times, then that might not be a terrible thing.
“The boss will probably give you more than you feel you can handle at times, not because he or she is trying to punish you, but because they want to test you on tough assignments,” says Bates, who has worked with senior executives as a CEO for 17 years.
They share your priorities
“Ask your boss what his or her top priorities are and put up your hand for challenging assignments,” Bates says. “Give the boss a chance to see you in action, especially on a project important to him or her, so that they can see what you’re made of.”
They respect you
At the end of the day, likability is overrated.
“Stop worrying so much about whether the boss ‘likes you’ because what really matters most is whether they respect you, include you, and engage you in important conversations,” Bates says. “Likability is not as important as making a contribution, being a thought partner, and helping the team and the organization thrive.”
They ask for your input
“If the boss often asks your input in one-on-ones and team meetings and leaves plenty of time for you to talk and then responds favorably to what you say – these are good signs,” he tells Business Insider.
They’re not always forthcoming with the compliments
You might think that managers shower the employees whom they value with praise, but Bates notes that this isn’t always the case.
“They either think you already know you’re in good standing, they don’t want to seem to be favoring you, or they simply just forget because you do so many things well,” she says.
Bates recommends that you ask for feedback and make it clear that you want your manager to tell it like it is.
Tulgan agrees, saying that workers shouldn’t always expect unprompted feedback.
“You should always make sure you are getting expectations spelled out in vivid detail and you should be tracking your performance every step of the way,” he says. “Keep score for yourself! Then you won’t have to guess.”
They go to you first
- decoded conference/Flickr
Tulgan says that it’s promising if your boss seems to use you as a “go-to” person. They hit you up first when something needs to be done, whether it’s a regular assignment or a special one.
They give you more responsibility
Managers often deputize their most talented employees. You probably won’t get a gold-star badge, but you will get put in charge of important projects and even your fellow coworkers.
They defer to you
When other employees are struggling, your manager sends them to you.
“If your boss tells others to go to you for guidance or instruction or examples of good work, this is a good sign,” Tulgan says.
They give you important tasks
Tulgan notes that one major sign of trust is your boss specifically asking you to deal with important customers.
They check in with you
Tulgan notes that bosses will go out of their way to check on the workers they like. They’ll ask about your happiness, whether or not you’re planning to leave, and how the company can keep you on.
Your boss isn’t interrogating you – they’re proactively figuring out what steps they’ll need to take to retain you.
They ask you to teach others
- Jacob Lund/Shutterstock.com
If your manager is constantly asking you to show the office newbie the ropes or explain how things work to your colleagues, it may feel like they’re just pawning off extra tasks on you – to tell the truth, that might be the case in some instances.
But your boss also might also so impressed with your skills that they want to spread them around to others. Instead of looking at these requests as extra busy work, use them as opportunities to hone your own leadership abilities and showcase your expertise in the office.
They ask about your career goals
- Flickr/David Goehring
Sure, we all know the “where do you see yourself in five years” question can be a bit sticky in a job interview.
But if your boss takes an interest in your career aspirations within and beyond your organization, that’s a whole different story. Questions about your goals and dreams may signal their interest in mentoring you going forward. They’re generally a good sign that your manager is truly invested in your long-term success.