Do what needs doing even if it’s not in your official job description – My first day on my first job out of school I showed up at the office expecting to start working on software. Instead I spent the day putting together furniture with the CEO. He was doing it because everyone else was busy and it needed doing. So I don’t care if a particular task is not in your job description, if it’s important and needs doing, do it. Your job is to make the company and your boss successful.
No is not an acceptable answer – You can’t tell me something can’t be done, you need to give me alternatives for how it could be done. If those alternatives are “hire another 20 engineers”, that’s fine. I may argue and expect you to provide good reasoning but at least that’s an alternative. There’s always a way, even if it may not be a viable way for the business to pursue. If you don’t know a way then tell me what you need in order to research a solution.
I’m not concerned about hours in the office, I’m concerned about projects and work getting done – Most professionals don’t get paid by the hour, so if you want to work from home or show up at 11am, that’s fine. If you’re delivering your work on time and at a quality level, I don’t care how many hours you’re “working”. However, the opposite is also true. If you accepted a project and told me it could be done then I expect you to do it, even if that means working in the evening and on the weekend. If you don’t think you can deliver something on time, tell me and don’t commit to it.
Manage my expectations – When I give you a project, tell me exactly what you think I just told you to do, tell me what you’re going to deliver and tell me when you’re going to deliver it. Errors in communication happen. They’re better resolved at the beginning of the project than at the end. If it looks like you can’t meet your commitment then tell me when that becomes obvious to you, not when it’s time to deliver. If you give me a head’s up that you’re having issues, we can sit down and figure them. If the first time I hear about these issues is when you use them as excuses for why you didn’t deliver, I’m going to think you’re an idiot.
Be Honest – Tell me what you want, tell me what you need, tell me what you can do and, even more importantly, tell me what you can’t do. Don’t take on too much and then fail. Don’t try to do too many things and deliver poor quality. Don’t sulk at your desk without telling me why you’re unhappy. Don’t complain to your coworkers that you’re underpaid without asking me for a raise. My job is not to read your mind, it’s to respond to your requests. Be honest and communicate well.