It is hard to find a perfect boss. Sit down and make a list with three separate columns. Title the columns: Start – Stop – Continue. Think about how your boss’s actions or behaviors might fit underneath each of these headings. For example, start suggestions are new actions which your boss is not doing which would give you more confidence or feedback on what you are doing well or wrong. Stop actions are things which you boss are doing which annoy, de-motivate or lack inspiration for you. The continue column will have actions or behaviors which your boss does infrequently, and if they were to do it more often, would have a positive affect on you or your performance.

Try to be specific and have personal knowledge of each situation you think about. As those ideas pop into your head, jot them down under the appropriate column. Give your self about 15 minutes to develop your list.

Take a moment to reflect on the information. Does one column have significantly more items or is it balanced? If one column is overwhelming, the next step is to rank order that list.

With your prework done, the harder part is preparing for the conversation with your boss. The better you are at giving feedback; the more likely someone will be receptive to change. This model provides you the opportunity to pat your boss on the back two times while giving adjusting feedback. The next time you talk to your boss, try to provide them with how you would like them to start doing something new, stop doing something which is nonproductive and to continue doing more of something they are good at doing with you.

If this conversation is breaking new ground for you, I would suggest practicing it before having a discussion with your boss. You can do it alone or practice with someone else. If you ask someone else to listen, give them permission to be truthful; you do want to know if you are hesitating or sound unsure of yourself. Are you being clear about your examples? Their insight will help you make improvements faster. If you are uncomfortable working with someone else, then invest in a microphone headset, and use your computer to record your voice. Play it back and listen to it with a critical ear. Consider putting your recording aside for several hours and then coming back to it; you have a fresh perspective.

When you feel ready to have your boss conversation, try it out in private with them. Remember to use an example from each column. And, please, do not try to share the whole list at one time – break it up over many conversations! Feel free to share your successes or any additional insights you learn from implementing your boss tweak.