It's an important question because it enables you to take the perspective of the boss.
Lacking that perspective, people at work tend to waste a lot of time on irrelevant stuff while ignoring the things they really need to be doing.
They want to do well but do not realize what their manager actually cares about. Yes doing your job matters, but there is more.
What follows are five "ideal types" of employees every manager wants on their team.
1) The "All-Around"
Consistent, reliable, skilled. Knows a little bit about how every aspect of the operation works. Works within the system to achieve real results. Performs the work then looks for ways to work smarter.
2) "Special Forces"
Innovative and technically capable. Independently keeps up with the latest developments in their field. Especially good in a crisis.
3) "The Volunteer"
Willing to jump in and help, no questions asked. Does grunt work without complaining. Supports team initiatives even if they don't totally understand why they matter, or if they might not work.
4) "The Voice of Conscience"
Uses their critical thinking to provide constructive feedback. They may say negative things, but their goal is to help the group succeed. If they are really good they bring solutions.
5) "The Caregiver"
Reaches out to other team members to help them through challenging times. Tracks special days. Points out overlooked sensitivities. Makes the overall environment more pleasant.
All of these types are valuable and the qualities are not mutually exclusive. What they share is an ability to contribute to a group effort above and beyond one's own self-promotional interests.
When your success aligns with your manager's interests you have the basis for a long-term, meaningful and win-win business partnership.
*All opinions my own. Photo by me.