Have you ever been lost? This is not a euphemism for anything. I am using the word “lost” in its most literal sense.
It’s that moment when you have walked for over an hour, and somehow you end up exactly where you began. Walking in circles, confused and disoriented. Such moments are characterized by a feeling of helplessness.
When you start a new job, you may experience moments where you feel confused. You may feel lost. In those moments, one of the best things that you can do is to ask for directions. Most people in the workplace are eager to help you succeed. However, mentors are more likely to help a self-starter, or somebody who demonstrates they are willing to take initiative.
So here are a few questions your supervisors want you to ask them.
1. “Who in the office do you recommend I get to know?”
This question indicates two things. First, it shows you have a desire to get acquainted with colleagues, which immediately categorizes you as a team player. Second, this question indicates that you have tact.
If you do not know every person in your workplace, introducing yourself to a shortlist of folks will make for an office space with more friends and mentors who know you. This is the best way to establish yourself as a valuable member of the team.
2. Following a project submission, ask: “How can I improve my work?”
One of the best ways to encourage constructive criticism is to provide work worth critiquing. When you have completed work satisfactorily, open yourself up to suggestions from your supervisor. Even if some of the advice seems a bit harsh, remember that five minutes of brutal honesty may save you five years of professional embarrassment due to avoidable errors.
3. “How would you like to be informed of my progress?”
Your supervisor is busy. You probably would not have your job if they were not continuously preoccupied. With this in mind, consider establishing timetables that suit your supervisor’s needs as well as your own.
4. “Are you facing any challenges with which I can assist?”
Asking this question shows them you understand the fact that your supervisor is busy and you wish to reduce their overall workload. It does not matter what you help them with, they will be glad to let you know what projects they are involved in. This also provides you with an opportunity to “earn your stripes” and demonstrate your abilities.
*Remember, under-promise and over-perform.*
5. “Where do you see this department going in the next year?”
This is a unique question to ask your supervisor. Essentially, this question demonstrates you are committed to the long-term success of your department.
When supervisors see you are truly interested in the teams success overall, they will want to include you in their journey. This will give you a window into the past, present, and future of the department and perhaps the organization as a whole. You will have a better understanding of where you fit into their story, and this will keep you from getting lost in your own.