10 Signs Your Boss Wants You to Stay

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signs your boss wants you to stay

Feeling valued and supported by your boss is an important part of having a positive work experience. 

However, different bosses have different personalities and different communication styles so it can sometimes be tough to read what your boss really thinks of you.

To that end, this article is going to unpack the most common signs your boss wants you to stay. And if it’s helpful, you can contrast these signs with the most common signs that your boss wants you to leave to get a sense of where you stand.

Signs Your Boss Wants You to Stay

You Receive Positive Performance Reviews

The first sign that you boss wants you to stay is probably the most quantifiable and that’s the quality of your performance reviews.

Most white collar jobs have some sort of bi-annual or annual performance review process where your boss evaluates your work, gives you a rating, and provides feedback on the job that you’re doing.

The rating that you get on your performance review and your feedback during that review will give you a pretty clear picture of if your boss wants to stay.

In general, if you get a good performance reviews, that’s a sign that you’re in good standing and your boss wants to stay. If you get a negative performance review, that could be a sign of the opposite.

However, even if you get a negative performance review, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the company doesn’t want you as a part of the team. Be sure to pay attention to the way that your boss is communicating with you and the extent to which they express a desire in your development and building your skills. If they want to help you grow, that’s a good sign that they want to retain you.

On a related note, if you have a performance review coming up, this video from Career Strategist Linda Raynier has some great tips for how to prepare and handle your upcoming review:

They Give You Good Pay Raises

Most companies provide annual pay adjustments. Those are often, but not always, tied to the performance review process.

Another fairly quantifiable way that you can assess if your boss wants to stay is based upon the quality of your pay raises.

Unless, you’re being promoted, companies typically give raises in the form of the percentage that falls somewhere in a designated range (often something like 2 – 5%). 

In my experience, a boss that wants you to stay will give you a raise on the high end of the companies range and they will generally make a point of telling you that your raise is on the high end of what they can give.

They Give You Public and Positive Recognition

Another obvious sign that a boss wants you to stay is when they go out of their way to recognize you publicly.

That could be in the form of small things like thanking you for the quality work that you’re doing during a group meeting.

Or it could be more significant like giving you a team or all company award to thank you for your work.

Public and positive recognition is also one of the most common signs that your boss cares about you.

They Ask You About Your Desired Career Path

career path

Managers that want you to stay will want to keep you engaged, challenged, and help you to grow in your career.

To that end, if they ask you about where you want to grow in your career, that’s a good sign that they want to stay.

Generally, they’re doing that because they want to help you get there. And if you’re not a good employee that they want to leave the organization, it’s unlikely that they’ll be proactively initiating conversations about how to help you grow in your role within the organization.

They Put Together a Career Growth Plan with You

Building on the last point, managers that want you to stay will often take the effort to put the desires for you expressed to them about growing your career and put them down on paper.

They will put together a list of a path for how to get to where you want to go, along with development areas along that path, and gives you specific projects to work on to help you grow your skills to get where you want to go.

They Promote You

Another tangible and obvious sign that a boss wants you to stay is if they promote you.

Bosses only promote those that are performing well, they want to recognize, and that they can think can take on more responsibility. 

If you get a promotion, that’s a very strong sign that your boss and the organization, wants you to stay.

On a related note, if you’re hoping to get promoted soon, this video from Career Coach Ken Coleman provides some solid steps for how to get there:

You Have Good Personal Rapport with Them

Another one of the common signs your boss wants you to stay is that you have good personal rapport with them.

By that, I mean that you generally seem to get along and like one another. You have fun and productive one on one meetings. Your boss seems to enjoy socializing with you. And the two of you just seem to have good, free flowing conversations.

If you boss is just a friendly person that is a good communicator around the office, this may not be as strong of a sign, but having good rapport certainly is not a bad thing.

They Give You Lots of Freedom and Trust

freedom

If you feel like you have a lot of freedom, that you’re rarely micro-managed, and that you boss generally trusts you to do your job, that’s a good sign that your boss wants to stay.

While some bosses are just toxic and micro manage most everything, most bosses are not like that and only do so when they feel like they have to. And if they feel like they have to mico manage something, that could mean that they don’t trust you to do the job well.

So if you feel like you’re rarely being micro managed and have a lot of freedom to do your job, particularly as compared to others on your team, that’s a good sign that you’re well regarded by your boss.

They Give You A Counter Offer When You Try to Leave

A very black and white sign that your boss wants you to stay is if you tell your boss that you’re quitting and they give you a strong counter offer.

If your boss wants you to stay, they’ll do what’s in their power to try and retain you, and that often involves trying to convince you to stay when you attempt to resign and leveraging a counter offer as a means to do so if they can.

Tp that end, if you have or expect to receive a counter office from an employer, this video from Ben Talks Talent provides some good rules of thumb for times when you should accept it vs. when you should not:

You Just Sense It

The last of the signs that your boss wants you to stay is a bit of squishy one, but it’s important. And the sign is that you just sense it.

As humans, we are pretty good at reading cues from one another. Things like facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc. all help us to understand how somebody feels about us. 

So if all of those interpersonal signs and dynamics seem positive, that’s an indirect sign that your boss wants you to stay.

What To Say When Your Boss Wants You To Stay

Now that we’ve reviewed the top signs that your boss wants you to stay, let’s talk about what to do when you put in your two weeks notice and your boss actually does ask you to stay.

In general, there are a couple of ways that you can handle that situation:

Option #1: Thank Your Boss But Stay Firm

The first option is to thank your boss for trying to convince you to stay (and for a counter offer if they give you one), but to stand firm in your decision to leave. 

Ultimately, there are a variety of factors that could lead to you wanting to resign. Often, those factors don’t involve your boss and are out of their control. In that case, you’ll likely want to stand firm in your decision.

Option #2: Negotiate What You Want

negotiate

The second option would be to use your boss’ attempts to get you to stay to negotiate what you want. 

For example, if you like your current job, but would like to make more money, the prospect of having another offer with more money is a fantastic time to negotiate for more salary at your current employer.

Additionally, if you want to work less hours, work remotely, or there is some other factor that your boss can provide to convince you to stay, the point where you have another offer that you can leave for is when you have the most leverage and can request those items.

Conclusion

There are a variety of different signs that your boss may want to stay.

Some are black and white like recognition, promotions, and performance reviews. Others are a bit more grey like the nature of your relationship with them.

Either way, hopefully the list of signs your boss wants to stay has helped you to interpret the nature of your relationship with your manager.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan serves as a career counselor on the side. He writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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