Six things your manager REALLY wants you to know.

The one thing your manager is really looking for.

I want to tell you a secret.

I’m an editor at the Mamamia Women’s Network. I manage a team of seven direct reports and I’m responsible for our parenting site The Motherish.

But I don’t have a university degree. I’ve started about four of them, but I can only lay claim to successfully completing a Certificate II.

I’ll tell you what I do have though. Attitude.

Ask a manager what is the one thing they value most highly in their staff and they will probably give you an answer related to attitude.

I don’t want to downplay the value of skills and experience. You bring a lot to the table in that regard, and to get in the door you have to display you can actually do the job. But the thing that will help you stand out from the pack will invariably be your attitude.

“Ask a manager what is the one thing they value most highly in their staff and they will probably give you an answer related to attitude.”

I’m about to embark on a round of recruiting, and while I will want someone who can do the job, I will overlook a lack of skills and experience to get someone who’s got the right attitude.

What’s the right attitude? Here are the six things your manager values the most.

1. Show that you care about your work.

When staff show that they have personally invested in a project, it builds trust. Your advice and your input will be valued more because your manager knows that you care about the project.

2. Own up to your mistakes, and learn from them.

We all make mistakes. I’ve made some doozies in my time. But mistakes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The best way you can handle mistakes is to take them to your manager as soon as possible. Demonstrate that you have learned from them. No manager likes to correct mistakes twice.


3. Show initiative.

My colleague Amy Stockwell says, “There is nothing more impressive than someone who is constantly looking at where they can add value and do something about it. As a boss there isn’t a better feeling than asking an employee to do something and they tell you they’ve already done it.”

4. Put in effort.

A good manager doesn’t need perfection. But they will want you to give it your all.

5. Bring your ideas to the table.

It can be really dangerous for teams to develop a group think. Good managers get excited by staff who bring fresh ideas to the table and try to make their work stand out. The great managers find that inspiring.

6. Be enthusiastic.

You’re at work for eight hours a day. That’s a long time to spend with your manager. Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Women’s Network, Jamila Rizvi says, “There’s nothing worse than managing a team who don’t care, but when people throw themselves into every task and find a way to make it fun, everyone wins.”

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever heard?

Want more? Try these:

Four successful women on what they tell women who want to get ahead at work.

11 excellent women who hit their stride after 30.

The 10 surprising words that make smart people look dumb.