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Dear Boss Santa, All I Want For Christmas Is…

Dear Boss Santa, All I Want For Christmas Is…

If you could finish that line with one item, what would it be? A bonus? A promotion? A cube with a view?

All fine options. And if asking for one of them from your boss is your plan this holiday season, good luck.

But if you’re hoping for a transformative, truly career-building 2016, here’s another option to consider.

Ask your boss for the truth.

About your performance. And your future.

Because here are the facts: Far too often, bosses don’t give the gift of candid feedback, year-end or otherwise. They’re too busy. They hate the process. They assume you know how you’re doing because it’s so obvious. Or all of the above. Indeed, in my work over the past 15 years with literally tens of thousands of employees across every industry, I’d estimate that fewer than 20 percent get the kind of performance feedback they yearn for. What they’re doing well. How they need to improve. What kind of career trajectory lies ahead.

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And so most employees are forced to forge forward in their careers, navigating in the dark.

Christmas gives you the perfect opportunity to break that pattern for the simple reason that allows you to get in front of your boss and say,

“Hey, since this is the season of gift-giving, I wonder if you’d give me a present that I’d really appreciate.”

Such a question sets the perfect tone, doesn’t it?  Open-hearted, conversational, and, perhaps most important, personal. It says, “Let’s take the grind out of the process. What a treasure it would be to me if I could have your input.”

What boss could say no?

Only a total Grinch!

Now, I  can’t promise that the conversation that results from your “gift” request will be one you’ll enjoy. Perhaps you’ll hear that you need to step up your game in ways you weren’t even thinking of. Or perhaps the “win” you thought was so big last quarter – the new client or new product, say – wasn’t all that.

Sometimes, the truth stings.

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But when it comes to your career, the truth is always a gift. Only with the truth do you have the chance to improve and to grow. Only with the truth do you have the chance to plan your career’s next steps, even if it means planning a different course than you’d expected or hoped for.

And so as the holidays approach, don’t just wait to see what shows up in your paystub or holiday party swag bag.

Make like your boss is Santa Claus, and ask for the only gift that keeps on giving all year long.

Source: This article was originally published on LinkedIn.

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