5 Ways to Leverage Manager to Help Grow Your Career
Jan 22 2016
The relationship with your manager is by far one of the most important in the workplace, this is the person who most likely gave you the job, ensures you are trained, paid and is over all responsible for your well being. People who are often more successful in their careers take advantage of even the smallest projects that their managers offer them.
So what can you do to leverage your manager to help grow your career?
Observe and Absorb
Watch their behaviour and how they interact and speak with others. If their interaction with others is positive and they tend to leave others feeling motivated and good then there is an example of how to be a leader, the behaviour that you want to adopt, however if the manager leaves employees feeling the opposite of motivated and encouraged, this would be behaviour you want to make sure you don’t adopt. This applies to your life even if you aren’t a manager. Absorb the information they give you, chances are your manager trained hard and has a thorough understanding of the industry. That is similar to career coaching: if they are training you, ask questions and listen to what they have to say.
Talk to them about your career
They might be your manager, but they are people too, and engaging your manager in a conversation about what you are looking to achieve in your career can be a method to opening doors. All too often as an employee, you wait for the manager to bring up the conversation about what your career goals are within the organization. Next time you have a talk with your manager bring up the conversation, or simply ask your manager for a bit of their time when they aren’t busy. Start by telling them that you would like to just have as simple conversation about your career aspirations and ask them what the organization offers or what you can do as an employee to get more involved. Things like volunteer programs, training programs, tuition reimbursement, and networking events are often available and are a great way to meet senior level management. One thing to be wary of is telling your manager that you want to take their job! Remember it should be about working together with your manager, not against! Always tell them that you are committed to your current position and the company! Also make it a point to seek out feedback about your performance, always accept the information with grace and apply it to your work.
Create a vision
The best way to plan your career is to develop an idea of where you would like to be a year or two from now. Once you have a clear idea and can say what you want, making a plan to get there is much easier. When developing your vision, be creative and realistic. If you are in an entry level position and would like to move into a new position within the next year, envision what the job will require and how it will fit into your life.
Seek out opportunities that your workplace offers on your own
Sometimes simply taking action, volunteering yourself to take on extra tasks or simply logging into the employee training portal on your own time can get much deserved attention by management. Many managers view strategies like this as highly ambitious. Also be willing to accept lateral moves if you are given the opportunity, while a lateral move might not give you a wage or position increase it will help you develop new skills, and that is what counts the most.
Scrap the idea that all managers are not interested in your growth
While it is unfortunately true in some cases that managers are more interested in keeping your talent all to themselves, many managers also want to see you grow in your career. Many individuals will avoid talking to their managers all together about career growth because they simply fear the idea of rejection, failure or that their managers will be totally against them. Unlike the baby boomer generation – working at the same company, often in the same position for several years – professionals now are moving on to new positions every 2 to 3 years, due to restructuring, personal choices and other reasons.
Career growth happens when you connect with others on a deeper level than just talking about the tasks at hand. The strongest way to be noticed and get recommended is by simply talking to others and asking questions.