5 Signs You’re Thriving Under Pressure

How to know you’re getting ahead at work — even if your boss never tells you.

Sometimes it can be hard to know if you’re truly doing a good job at work. Maybe you hold yourself to very high standards or maybe your boss isn’t the best about acknowledgment — good or bad. 

If regular praise is hard to come by, here are five signs that prove you’re prospering under pressure and a “translation” of what your boss is really saying to you in these situations (even if they aren’t saying it).

#1 You’ve got responsibilities
A busy boss is not going to add more tasks to your to-do list unless he or she knows you can handle it. When they do, it’s an excellent sign, and provided you have the bandwidth, accept it graciously.

●    What your boss is actually saying: “I picked this for you because I trust you and know you will do it right the first time.”

But also be true to you: Be honest if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed with a heavier workload and ask for a prioritized listing if needed. A good boss will respect you for your communication and candor, too.

#2 You’ve got autonomy
Not all bosses want to micromanage. Many do it because they don’t have total confidence in the employee or team. If your boss is giving you freedom to work on projects at will until the deadline, rest assured: You’re a valued part of the team.

●    What your boss is actually saying: “Do what you do best. What you’ve done in the past has been successful, and with you, I don’t worry about the job getting done.”

But also be true to you: This doesn’t mean working in a silo or isolating yourself so you don’t disappoint your boss. If you are having a tough time starting a new project, ask for advice. 

#3 You’ve got the insider info
Whether it’s through informal chats at your desk or in weekly team meetings, you not only get the information on mission-critical tasks, but you’re asked to weigh in so your boss can make decisions.

●    What your boss is actually saying: “I can go to you when I need insight on some of the daily operations I’m more removed from. You have a good perspective and it makes my job easier.”

But also be true to you: If you promote that you’re in the know and people come to you for gossip — be sure to politely decline these invitations. Gossiping will quickly damage your reputation within the team and with leadership.

#4 You’ve got visibility
Your boss is stuck in another meeting and needs someone to greet the CEO until the meeting wraps up. You’re the go-to person. HR needs someone to solicit feedback from the team about a new initiative. You’re the go-to person. 

●    What your boss is actually saying: “You’ve got exceptional people skills, and I know I can put you in just about any situation and you’ll represent us well.”

But also be true to you: If you’re not quite ready to do something like giving a huge presentation to your entire organization, ask for help. You may need a couple of pointers to be sure you’ll knock it out of the park. 

#5 You’ve got passion
You can’t take a class on being passionate about your role. Your devotion is clear, which is why your boss might select you to train the new person on the team or pick the venue for the holiday party.

●    What your boss is actually saying: “Your dedication to the business is valuable, and it sets a good example for your colleagues.”

But also be true to you: Being a passionate professional takes a lot of energy. If you’re feeling burned-out or your morale is low, find a way to diplomatically discuss how to re-energize.

Remember: When it comes to being recognized, some cues are nonverbal and some thank-you’s are unspoken, but if you’re getting recruited for new projects and being utilized in meetings, you’re definitely thriving under pressure — and it’s putting you ahead on the team.