Posted 2/26/2014 11:53 AM (GMT -7)
I think Kitt brought up a great idea, for many reasons.
Of primary importance, and I know, probably one of the toughest aspects,....is to maintain your composure, and remain calm. In the presence of your boss is not the time to let emotions seep through, not to look or sound anxious, and while you're there for information, there's a line to walk between coming across as "too eager" and "wanting to be responsible."
That line is deeply personal for each individual, and it's something we all try out on our own way. One really big help I found was: Relax your face. Sounds simple, I know, but if you put a pretty good amount of effort into keeping your face relaxed, you'll be very surprised at how difficult it is to both sound and look anything but calm and confident! It works. It takes a lot of focus (but we anxious folks end up spending more time and energy than that worrying, fidgeting, furrowing our brows, biting our lips, wringing our hands,....
So we're just redirecting all that nervous energy into one single task: Relax your face (even if your insides are jumping sideways). Maintaining this calm facial composure is sooooo crucial, and is meant to be maintained at all times throughout all conversations, not just this one.
Second, by (calmly) asking your boss, (without sounding defensive or hurt, and without taking it personally, because it is, after all, a business first)....for specifics. Those are the absolute crucial keys, right there. Specifics.
Keep it positive (rather than ask what you did wrong, ask what you can do,-- not what you could have done, --past tense-- to make the project better and meet the company's needs.)
(Always keep the company's needs and your boss's requirements in the forefront).
Ask specific questions, not general ones. This isn't the time to ask for any type of confirmation of previously well-done tasks...even similar ones. Stay on point.
Ask your boss to be specific when stating what he expects the finished product to be/do/look like. Ask your boss specifically how much time he would like you to put in (not "need" to put in).
Ask your boss about precise and specific time frames and details (anything with numbers, generally works).
Always say "thank you" (even when you have other thoughts flying through your head). Always thank him for helping you to understand what you missed.
See where I'm going with this?
You're also putting the ball in his court. Because if he is giving you all these specific requirements and details and the project works, you two can add a notch in your professional work belt. If there are problems, then he has to face that at least one aspect of his recommendations to you may not have been sufficient. This reflects on his decisions and abilities and directives, and it turns the focus (even if it's not said out loud, which it quite likely will not be) over to his own internal dialogue. It takes the focus off of where you may have made some type of mistake.
Again,....see where I'm going with this?