We create career goals much too frequently without discussing them with the person with the most access to opportunities for us: our boss.
Try to build a close relationship with them. Your immediate supervisor should understand your interests, talents, and potential. It will benefit you when possibilities become available.
One-on-ones and team check-ins are fantastic places to start. However, you should begin scheduling formal career discussions to get the most out of the relationship with your manager.
Decisions about your career trajectory get made long before you enter a review. It may be too late if you wait for your performance evaluation to align expectations. You don’t want to be passed over for a promotion or project simply because your boss didn’t know how to advocate for you.
To achieve (and possibly surpass) your career goals throughout the year, touch base with your boss at least once per quarter (if not once every month) in the following three areas:
Stop thinking that gloating about your achievements, whether they are personal or organizational, is wrong. Managers can use accomplishments to assign projects to the appropriate team member or members and determine prospective candidates for leadership roles. Another way to say this is when your boss is aware of your skills and what motivates you, they will make connections to ensure you get more of that work.
Sharing this information during your career discussions rather than waiting for your performance review can prevent you both from falling victim to the dangers of fizzling out. You can also share as you achieve them and then go back to review during career discussions.
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Your boss is probably far more interested in your immediate goals than your longer-term goals spanning years. The reason being is that they may find ways that this aligns with business mandates. Tell your manager about that in terms of a three to six-month target.
Sharing your short-term goals for your career rather than your long-term aspirations shows your manager that you are considering your development critically. It provides them the opportunity to help you. You’re also developing an accountability relationship with them by bringing these goals up more regularly than just at your performance review.
Set the tone for the meeting by talking about your accomplishments. Then, let your manager know your career aspirations so they may personalize their criticism to be particularly relevant to you.
Don’t overthink it afterward; ask your manager how they feel about what you have shared. Is there a favorable impression? Do they think you have any weaknesses or areas you could improve? Do they have ideas on how to assist you?
Ultimately, you want to be knowledgeable so that you can modify. Even if you don’t think your manager views your role accurately, try to grasp the perception gap and devise a plan to close it over the coming few months.
The objective is to ensure mobility within your organization and career by aligning yourself with your number one stakeholder. Scheduling career conversations shows that you have the initiative and focus (encouraged by many employers). They will appreciate sitting down and connecting with you about where you are, where you want to go, and how they can help you thrive. Get it on their schedule early (preferably a month out) and demonstrate you appreciate their time.
Finally, when was the last time you inquired about your manager’s professional aspirations? What is required for them to succeed? What are their desired next steps? How will your goals and achievements help them?
Keep in mind that effective employee-manager relationships are mutually beneficial. Your personal and professional priorities should align with your manager’s for maximum success.