Never do this

Want your boss to trust you and delegate more responsibility to you? First, be very careful to separate fact from opinion in your mind and in your speech. Your boss wants the facts first and your opinion second. Give them in that order and make it clear which is which. Separating fact and opinion is the foundation for good judgment and good judgment is the foundation for trust and responsibility.

your opinion secondSecond, never bring your boss guesswork without also bringing two ways to fact check your guesses. If you feel compelled to speculate — offer to research or experiment as necessary to draw a solid conclusion. So, if you speculate, follow it up with – “I’ll find out by…”

Why go to the trouble of researching answers? Because you’ll:

  • discover you can answer a lot of questions yourself
  • become a source of positive energy
  • build confidence in yourself
  • show you understand that your job is not to pose riddles but to solve them

Show your boss that you are good at gathering facts, telling the truth about what you found and forming reasonable opinions around those facts. Do that and you’re well on your way to making yourself indispensable!

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  • Tricia

    This article had great advice for people whether they have an established career, are just starting out, or even for navigating your way through other experiences where you will need to interact with a person of authority.
    I once had a supervisor who said that she does not even listen to employees who bring problems to her, unless they have at least two valid suggestions for solution or improvement. I have carried this with me ever since. If you cannot state your issue, give succinct information of the impact, and have thought through a manner of moving forward, then you are just griping or gossiping!

  • http://twitter.com/anniesunflowers lolololo

    This is great. I find that a lot of people cannot separate fact from opinion. Everyone should really read this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/serellen Sarah Pham

    When asked to gather facts or work on a project your boss expects you to do most of the fact checking and leg work yourself. Make sure if you have a question regarding to the project you have answered all the questions yourself. Know the facts.. do the research.. I worked in a job where I did quality control. All I did everyday was fact checking behind another person or computer. Research everything.. even if it seems silly.. education whether it is for a project at work or furthering your degree to obtain a certain career is always key. Don’t fall into the shadows, put forth the effort and you will go far

  • MWhitesides

    Working in Human Resources requires a lot of research and a lot of fact compilation in order to present issues to the “higher-up” of the company. I’ve only been working in a processing role for a month and already I’ve found myself having to present facts to my supervisor that will inspire important decisions for certain employees at my company. I have learned quickly that I need to present the facts AS IS and not how I think the policy should be run. A lot of times I find that these things are vastly different, but I know what our guidelines say and I know how to point them out to the influences. I’m surprised by how much responsibility and investigation has been essential to my current position.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacey.juehring Jacey Juehring

    Love this! Took notes to review at a later time and a reminder. Thank you for sharing.

  • Loreal

    Building confidence within yourself is essential. It will only help you in the workforce. Always try to keep positive because people are more likely to respond in a good way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/HillHay Hillary Davis

    The was informative to me as well because I too work in a Pharmacy. We have to show that we can solve problems for our patients with the prescriptions that are written, or if an insurance carrier has an issue, or if there is someone trying to get a fake presecription. Working in a pharmacy has a lot of gathering of facts and information we must get our selves to figure out what a patient may or may not need. You sometimes have to be in 6 places at one time, between answering calls, making calls, talking to patients, typing presciptions, the list can go on.

  • Felix Q

    This information is useful to me because I work in the pharmaceutical industry. Everything we do needs to be supported by research and experience and I feel this reinforces those ideas in a more general manner that can be used for anyone.

  • Nikola

    This is really great information that I can really use. I once had a boss who told me to say I do not know, if I do not know, but to say, “I will get back with you with that answer by,” sounds much better to me, and it does not make me look like I am ignorant.

  • Nikola

    This is great information and something that I will use because I worked for a boss that told me to say I do not know, if I do not know, but that always bothered me. So saying I will have that answer for you by—-, makes much better sense to me, and would not make feel ignorant.

  • maverick5223

    This was great advice. I expect we have all had our moments when we were less than stellar in this area. A more productive approach might be to not rehash those sad stories, but rather learn from them and celebrate future successes! One golf guru that specialized in the mental aspect of the game said that in the crucial moment, you already know where you need to hit the ball…forget about it during your swing and just focus on the contact between the club and the ball…the rest will take care of itself. In other words, after assessing the needed direction, break it down into manageable segments and focus on each individually so as not to compromise the quality of the final result.

  • Vivianne

    I once did not do the proper research and just went by
    assumption.  Well, there was more to the
    event then what I thought and the assumption that I had was wrong.  I stated my opinion to my boss and got
    somebody in trouble.  After that person
    got written up, I heard the reason why that particular did what she did.  It was the worse feeling in the world for
    me.  I now do my research before going to
    my boss on the problem.  If I was
    approach by my boss about it, I will tell him that I will do some research and
    find out exactly what happen.  I don’t
    know the entire story and do not want to make an assumption because I might be
    wrong and a co-worker will get in trouble. 

  • Happy Spice

    Finding out facts that solve problems has helped me achieve success at my job. This saves a lot of down time. Verifying the facts and putting solutions to test is very self fulling. From a technical background, this is very important, if what you tell a customer does not work after 2 tries, you look like a moron. Fact finding and giving correct resolution is the key to good business in my industry.

  • Giblet2011

    Work revolves around real life facts, not speculation. Making speculations or assuming information can cause a lot of damage. Working as a social worker, basing decisions on speculation can cause families to be torn apart and tramatized for years. It can also lead to continued abuse and even death in severe cases. So when my boss or agency has specific guidelines about how to find information and what kind of information needs to be avaliable it is increadibly important to meet those guidelines.

  • Ang_c1977

    As an accountant it is very important to know the facts and research subjects to get the facts when the facts are unknown. Working in the oilfield there are several regulations that must be followed such as the Environmental Agency policies and regulations to keep area land and cattle safe from waste from gas and oil wells. I do research to make sure our company abides by the regulations.

  • Joseph Kaulaity

    When a task is assigned, do not speculate… find answers. At times, bosses will give you a checklist to help complete a task at hand. At times, they may be vague and give you a hint and leave you to research your answer. In either case, answering questions will give you a unique learning experience, and building people and investagatory skills to reach your goals. Being shy is never the answer. Tormenting yourself with unanswered questions can cause stress. Sometimes, you may feel intimidated to ask simple questions, but in the end, you’ll feel more confident and find asking questions easier. Leadership skills can build, and you may even be the boss in charge, adept to workers’ needs but knowledgeable on how to perform your job. Don’t speculate. Find answers and make it a growing and progressive habit.

  • Kelly Clements1

    I have yet to enter the working world with my counseling degree however, through my classes I have learned that it vital to be accurate with facts. The above article is ture when working with both ones boss and ones clients.

  • Aabradford

    I learned quickly when I first entered the working world that if you want something done, sometimes you have to do it yourself. This cliche tends to be negative, but in my experience it has been something of a blessing. By learning how to do tasks on my own, and finding the most efficient method to track information, I become more valuable to my colleagues and supervisors. I know answers to questions and can answer them quickly and accurately because I did it myself the first time.

  • Rileyecoyte

    rileyecoyte

    Sometimes I get in a hurry and I forget to look at the part numbers so I received the wrong items so now I watch what I am doing and pay attention and do not speculate anything. 

  • CEULLOA2

    THIS IS A GREAT WAY TO FIGURE THINGS OUT AND BE ABLE TO FIND THE FACTS. THIS ARTICLE SUGGESTS TO LOOK AT THE FACTS RATHER THAN THE OPINIONS BECAUSE THEY MIGHT NOT ALWAYS BE CORRECT

  • Ktlb1295

    It is very important to demonstrate that one is knowledgable about his or her job duties.  This shows a high level of self confidence and gives your boss the ability to depend on you to get the job done properly.  When an employee does not know the answers, the first thing to do is to use this opportunity as a learning experience and research the answers.  This shows your boss that you are willing to put forth an effort to learn new concepts.

  • Olgutierrezruiz

    I think that the main idea of this lesson is to look forward and do not stay were we are already, and it is very important to update our knowledge in order to be able to respond to a situation. As the lesson mentions, I think it is very important to separate facts and opinions because some opinions may be wrong. So we need to focus on the facts to generate our opinions and be able to support them. 

  • Elyssaq7

    I think it is really important to know what you are doing before you do it. It is great to be innovative and take the initiative, but you have to make sure that you do your job accurately and well. I think that often speculating can cause misinformation and an unfinished job. It very important to get things done right< make sure you know your job and always work hard to get done what you need to.

  • Vincent

    In my high school ROTC, I held the position of Battalion Executive Officer (second in command), which came with huge amount of responsibility. I was responsible for overseeing the staff and keeping the whole battalion running. Basically, I was the man behind the curtain. 

    Toward the beginning of the school year, I tried to juggle my responsibilities and offer help with other people’s duties. When I was questioned by my instructor what particular members of the staff were working on, I had no definite answer. After taking a verbal beating, I never came before him unprepared again. 

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In 1997, Eric Shannon launched the first job board for bilinguals who speak English/Spanish at LatPro.com. Eric still serves as CEO of LatPro Inc., developer of JustJobs.com. He lives in Boulder, CO with his wife and two girls.

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