How to Read Your Boss' Mind
by Mark Goulston

Looking for a pay raise or promotion? Youíll need your boss on your side. Before helping an employee up the ladder, bosses Ė either consciously or unconsciously Ė ask themselves seven questions. If you can put yourself in your bossí place (it also works for audiences) and answer these queries, youíre much more likely to get the help you need.

  1. What can you get done for me?
    A dream employee reflects favorably on the boss and the department, getting great results with minimal training and hand-holding. Your boss must be able to size up quickly, simply and clearly the value of your work.

  2. Why is that important to me?
    Your boss is looking for something that is important to him or her rather than to you. You may love some aspect of your work, but if it is of no value to your boss, who cares? Find out what the chief wants and needs most Ė and get it done. Then, without being too obvious, get it noticed.

  3. Is that more than Iím getting now?
    Whether they own up to it or not, everybody wants more. Itís not just about greed Ė having more offers some protection against having less at some other time. Getting more from you also lets your boss feel smart for having you around.

  4. Is that better than Iím getting now?
    Even bosses who desire quantity seek quality in your work. High-quality results that exceed expectations Ė not only of your boss, but your bossí boss Ė will do wonders for your perceived worth.

  5. Is that sooner than Iím getting it now?
    Time is money. If you can deliver the results sooner than your boss expects, it distinguishes you from other employees who may have trouble meeting deadlines.

  6. Does it cost less than Iím spending now?
    Cost is vital to your boss. His budget is skimpy, but he has to make do. If your results far exceed your cost, youíre a diamond in the rough. Even considering cost sets you apart.

  7. Is that less risky than what Iím doing now?
    As much as bosses like the excitement of a throw-caution-to-the-wind new project, the potential slips and slides scare them more. Help your boss safely take on bigger and better projects.

Mark Goulston, M.D. is an emotional intelligence expert and Senior V.P. of Emotional Intelligence at Sherwood Partners and author of Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (published by Perigee Books). Contact Mark: .

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