Initiating a conversation with your manager about your career path can be challenging. It should be approached with care to ensure a positive working relationship going forward. A discussion of this nature is beneficial to the employees, as they verbalise their career aspirations, and to managers, who should plan to assist their staff in attaining these goals. Whilst opinions may vary, both parties should engage one another with respect to achieve a mutually agreeable outcome.
Although discussions of this nature can be awkward, they don't have to be if you take the following into account: planning, relationship, and timing.
Planning is an essential management tool for any professional. Whilst your manager may have some degree of responsibility for your career path, you remain solely accountable for achieving your career goals. Now that you have established your strengths and weaknesses, as discussed in last week's blog, you need to put a plan in place to enhance your strengths and improve on your weaknesses. Discuss your career plan with your manager and agree on time-bound development activities which will help you to achieve your goals.
The relationship that you have with your manager plays an important role in deciding on how to approach this type of a discussion. Many organisations have formal processes in place for discussing career development, and employees should use these to their advantage. You may want to consider conducting a few practice runs with a friend or family member before scheduling a meeting in this regard.
Be professional and schedule a meeting with your manager well in advance so that you both have enough time to prepare for this important discussion. Time the discussion in such a way that your manager can give you his / her undivided attention without any interruptions. In some cases, you may need to schedule a series of meetings to discuss different elements of your career path.
Once the conversation is over, give your manager enough time to address as they think best. Leave it completely in your manager's hands and wait for his / her next step.
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