14 Examples of What You Need from Your Manager

What Support do You Need from Your Manager to Accomplish Your Goals

Success in the workplace is predicated mainly on the dynamics of the relationship between you and your manager. You need specific factors aligning with your capabilities and work ethic to pave your way for success and meet your boss’s expectations. Remarkably, what you need goes beyond your boss merely presenting their expectations.

What Do You Need from Your Manager to Be Successful?

We might have different needs from our managers, but there are some basic things everyone requires to do well at work. You need clear, actionable guidance, consistent support, and unwavering confidence in your abilities. These are the building blocks that drive you to perform and thrive in your role, no matter what kind of job you do.

Also, identifying the things you do not need from your manager is equally necessary, as understanding the lack of these refines your expectations and focus on what truly matters to you.

You need your manager not to see you based on the present and overlook your future potential. Essentially, your manager should look at you and see not what you are today but what you could become tomorrow.

Since everyone has preferences and priorities, let us focus on the specific examples of what we all need from a manager to be successful at work:

1. Clear Expectations to Guide Your Work

You need your manager to communicate what she expects from you in your role. No guesswork is involved, just concise and direct communication of your responsibilities, what outcomes you should deliver, and how your performance will be measured.

You can do your work more precisely when all expectations right down to the specifics are clearly defined. There is no room for misunderstandings or assumptions – so, just hit the ground running, knowing precisely what you must achieve.

2. Trust in Your Judgement

You should be allowed to make decisions based on your knowledge, experience, and understanding of the situation. Trusting your judgement means your manager has faith in you to make the right decisions in the best interest of the team and the work in general.

The autonomy in decision-making empowers you to take ownership of your work. It breeds responsibility, invigorates your initiative, and fuels your drive to succeed.

When your manager entrusts you with autonomous decision-making, your contributions can flourish.

3. Being Available for Questions and Concerns

Being available as a boss does not imply being physically present at all times. It is not about having a manager at your beck and call around the clock. Instead, it refers to a manager who is approachable, open, emotionally receptive, and reachable for dialogue or advice.

The availability can occur in face-to-face discussions, via email, or during regular check-ins. An available boss allows you to ask questions, express concerns, discuss ideas, or seek advice without hesitation. The value of having such a manager, of course, is immeasurable.

4. Keep You Informed of Relevant Matters

Your manager serves as the vital link connecting you to the company’s broader objectives. He is responsible for passing on information about changes in company policies, upcoming projects, or any new developments.

The aim is not just to inform you but ensuring you understand the implications such changes may have on your role, and the corresponding actions required.

It is easy to fall into the mindset of “as long as I get paid, it does not matter what happens at the workplace.”

But imagine if the company decides to explore a new market, directly impacting your role in the workplace. If you were unaware of these changes, you could find yourself unprepared and possibly out of a job. So, knowing what is going on at the company does matter.

5. Respect Your Personal Commitments

One fundamental thing you, like me, need from a manager is an understanding of your personal commitments and emergencies. Why?

Life does not come with a pause button. Illnesses, family emergencies, or personal commitments do not adhere to your workplace schedule.

When those instances unexpectedly knock on your door, would you not prefer to have a manager who understands these complexities?

A manager who respects your life and commitments outside work contributes positively to your health, productivity, and overall work environment.

6. Guidance and Support During Uncertain Times

Crises in the workplace vary from sudden leadership changes and business slumps to personal issues affecting your job performance.

Uncertainty, too, creeps in from many angles, like ambiguous work instructions or unclear career pathways. It is often necessary to receive guidance in these difficult situations, regardless of your problem-solving abilities.

A reliable boss instills security in the team, giving reassurance while navigating tricky situations.

But also remember that a manager’s guidance is not there to undermine your abilities but to enhance them and help you navigate through uncertain periods.

7. Support for Well-Thought-Out Risk-Taking

When we say “well-thought-out,” we mean risks not taken blindly but the potential pitfalls and rewards have been evaluated and measures taken to mitigate possible damage.

You, like most of us, seek innovation in your work. You want to solve problems in new ways, not just repeat safe, well-trodden paths. In a stagnant workplace, there is no growth.

Similarly, if we stick to standard procedures without venturing into unknown terrains, we may remain efficient but potentially miss opportunities for improvement and innovation.

That is why taking well-thought-out risks becomes crucial. However, it can only happen in an environment that supports and encourages such behavior. And that is where your manager plays a key role.

8. Clear Communication

Your manager should convey information or instructions without creating confusion. He or she must always use words you understand — because that eliminates misunderstandings.

Similarly, a manager must listen to your words — not just passively nodding head but genuinely engaging, asking pertinent questions, paraphrasing your comments, and providing appropriate responses.

The goal is to listen and understand, not just to reply or respond.

9. Openness to Constructive Feedback

You need your manager to create a welcoming space where you can freely share your feelings, thoughts, and observations about what is happening at work and should be open to hear and consider what needs to change or improve. 

Both constructive and positive feedback are needed. However, your feedback should maintain and enhance workplace protocols and hierarchies.

Remember, your boss needs to listen, understand, and act on feedback. A good manager sees feedback as an opportunity for growth and not as a threat to their authority.

10. Opportunity to Shadow Manager’s Activities

When “shadowing your manager,” you directly observe, learn, and absorb how your boss handles various workplace situations in real time.

While shadowing, you gain a deeper understanding of the manager’s role, responsibilities, and challenges, enhancing your ability to handle similar situations when you step into a leadership role. And it gives you firsthand insight into good and bad management practices.

However, asking to shadow your manager can trigger anxiety due to the fear of appearing overbearing or invasive. It is critical to express your intention positively, showing your desire to broaden your management knowledge.

11. Discuss Lessons Learned from Past Setbacks

First, to clarify this, asking about your manager’s “past setbacks” is not being nosy or intrusive but learning from their journey.

When your manager discusses past failures, it humanizes them. Many of us want to know how our managers navigated their shortcomings in past roles, gain invaluable lessons from their experiences, and deepen our understanding of resilience.

Every experience, success or failure, holds a wealth of knowledge. In particular, failures often carry the harshest yet most beneficial of lessons. Therefore, a manager who shares their past experiences good or bad gives you priceless wisdom from overcoming adversity.

The overall goal is to acquire essential insights that might guide you better in your role.

12. Mutual Learning Through Reverse Mentoring

Reverse mentoring is when a younger or less experienced individual mentors a senior or more experienced colleague. Under normal circumstances, you would expect the reverse — so it flips the traditional mentoring model on its head, where the more experienced employee usually guides a less experienced colleague.

Engaging in reverse mentoring allows you to share fresh ideas and techniques. For instance, if you are more adept with new technology and you can introduce advanced trends or software to your manager.

13. Recognizing Individual Differences

Many of us have the inherent desire to be treated as unique individuals and not just as team members. While a successful team thrives on collaboration, the success comes from every individual’s input or effort.

Believe it or not, no two team members have the same skills, knowledge, ability, or perspective. When a manager fails to see the distinction among team members, it can deprive you of your sense of belonging.

However, it is also essential to understand that while Individuality should be celebrated, the team’s unity must not be undermined.

Personal strengths should be harnessed to benefit the collective and not just the individual — otherwise, it might sow the seeds of division within a team.

14. Assistance in Mapping Out Your Career Path

You may have the potential to carve your path, but without understanding the required strategies or maneuvers, achieving your career goals can feel like climbing a steep mountain without a guide.

A great manager not only helps you to excel within your role but also encourages individual growth, often facilitating discussions around future aspirations, strengths, and areas for improvement.

Even if it means leaving a gap in the team, forward-thinking managers are not deterred by this. They believe in the growth of their team members, helping them move onto their rightful trajectories.

Read also: 14 Examples of What to Tell Your Manager to Improve On


Understanding what you need from your manager is paramount. You need a supportive manager who genuinely looks out for your best interests and acts as a mentor and supporter, encouraging your growth.

The synergy between you and your manager is potent and pivotal, capable of propelling your career to unimagined heights. However, it is not just about what your manager can do for you but also what you can do with your manager.

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