How to Read Your Boss’ Mind

You’ve been stuck in the same position for the past two years. Although colleagues sing your praises, career ladder progress has hit a stand-still. So naturally, you’re frustrated. Why am I still doing the same thing? You ask yourself. Well… hate to break it to you, but it’s likely that you haven’t really established good personal rapport with the head honcho. Congratulations, you are one of the 34% of employees—according to a recent survey—to be dissatisfied with your employer.

I know… I know… Your work performance should be all the rapport you should ever need, right? The problem is it doesn’t always work that way. Generally, you need to get in good with the boss. Get to know them—what makes them tick, etc.

In fact, the better you get at reading your boss’ mind, the higher likelihood you have of getting that promotion.

So how do you figure out what’s going on in that power-tripping noggin of theirs?

Follow me into my office…

I. Look for the Signs

Did you know that 93% of communication is all non-verbal? That is, body language. Most employees don’t practice the art of seeking for those tell-tale cues. So the next time you’re in the office, observe—but don’t be creepy about it—your boss’ expressions, gestures, and tone of voice. Jot down these notes so that you’ll keep better track of behavioral patterns. This way, you’ll know when and when not to approach your employer with not-so-exciting news.

II. Get Into Their Mind

So the two of you had a little a tiff earlier this week at the last pitch meeting. He wasn’t crazy about your idea, and you—having worked so arduously on the project—now think of him as a visionless idiot. Or heck, maybe it was a far less ego damaging disagreement between you. Whichever the case, be savvy about how you’ll approach him about these types of situations. First, take a second to think from their perspective. It’s so important to be aware of what’s going on in their minds. For all you know they could very well be stressed out. After you’ve considered their personal situation, decide on a time and a tactful way of approaching them over reconsidering your project.

III. Put Yourself In Their Position

This is more of a ‘branching-off’ of being aware of what their situation might be. Whatever you’re looking for—whether it’s a raise, promotion, or project approval—it’s vital to look at things from their point of view. In fact, why don’t you try asking yourself a few “boss perspective” questions they might have about you, such as:

  1.      What can you do for me?
  2.      Why is this important?
  3.      What’s the risk involved?
  4.      Will it cost less than my current expenses?
  5.      Will I be getting more out of this deal than I’m getting now?

IV. Silence Speaks Volumes—Sometimes

There are a lot of things weighing on your employer’s mind. Whether they’re talking about those issues or not is a different story. Usually, if they’re not being completely open with you about a situation, it’s because they can’t be.

For instance, if one day you came up to them excited about proposing an idea you feel will really move the company in an awesome direction… and their response is disinterest or distraction, it’s not always the case that they’re a boss from hell. Maybe they do like your idea, but either because of budget constraints or having their hands tied by their bosses, your boss feels they’re in a powerless situation to aid your brilliant idea.


I hope this has been enlightening.

And remember, each of our minds is a world apart.

To empathize, we must explore.