No matter what your vision and plan are, it's likely you may need support from others. Identify who you need support from and prepare for these important conversations.
- How many people do you interact with during any given week? Between team members, direct reports, and vendors, who we communicate with is a big component of getting our job done. How we influence others, especially when we may not have formal authority, can make all the difference in getting what we need and want when it comes to our careers. Our career growth often depends on the number of other influencers that can open doors for us. It could be a manager advocating for our promotion, a coworker giving feedback to higher-ups about our aptitude, or even a friend being a reference for us, all of which require us to have important conversations and knowing who to have them with.
When you think about your career goals, whose support do you need? A great starting place is to make a list of all of the people that can support you and your goals. Identify what specifically you need from them and by when. In most cases, your direct manager will be a key resource, but you may also find that you could benefit from support from others in your professional network or even family and friends. For example, if you identified that you want a promotion and then realize that you need more opportunity to demonstrate your potential, like leading projects or facilitating meetings, who has the authority to make that happen for you? Or, if you want to take a management course, who has to sign off on that expense or grant you the time off? It's important to not only share your objective with others, but most importantly to gain support and commitment for your plan.
Consider these tips when tapping into others for help. You can refer to section C in the Resources Guide in the exercise files for information on each. Schedule a career conversation. This means sending a formal meeting invitation and including an agenda for those you want to become advocates for you. Engage others by presenting how they'll benefit from your development. This means being prepared to discuss how your development activities will benefit the person you're asking support from.
In other words, don't make the conversation solely about your personal needs. Practice with those you trust. Try running your ideas past a few trusted coworkers or friends before presenting to a supervisor. Get their input and ask them to challenge you on various aspects of your proposal. Use this information to analyze things you might not have considered. Finally, be sure to follow up, preferably in writing, to remind others of their commitments and demonstrate that you value their time.
Remember, you own your career path. This means that sometimes you may run into others that don't take action or make things happen for you. If that's the case, your job is to find alternative solutions and keep your career vision alive.
- How the workplace has changed
- Creating a career vision
- Creating short- and long-term goals
- Mobilizing: Identifying resources, mentors, and your online brand