Gone are the days of seeing yourself at any given company for 20+ years. Frequent job migration is the norm, making it increasingly difficult to set a long term plan. In fact, four in 10 employees believe that in order to advance their careers, they would need to switch employers. However, that isn’t your only option. While bringing up the topic of growth with your boss may be uncomfortable, it’s advantages can be worth it. You’ll either carve out a clearer path for yourself at your current company or find that it might be time to move on. Either way, the best way to eliminate any awkwardness is to have a plan. Here’s a 5 step guide to talking to your manager about professional growth.
Choose the Right Time.
Catching your manager off guard or tacking the discussion on to the end of another meeting won’t yield the results you’re looking for. Avoid poor timing by scheduling a meeting with your boss dedicated to professional growth opportunities. A calendar invite will not only provide both parties adequate time to prepare, but also show that this is really important to you. Don’t let the stresses of the day or the element of surprise ruin what could be a positive discussion with a little planning.
Present Your Interest.
This may sound obvious, but your nerves could easily override any logic. Before presenting any ideas, be sure to talk about your passion for the organization, ability to add value to what they do and interest in a real future with the firm. Set the stage so that your boss knows exactly why you wanted to have the conversation. It isn’t just because you want to grow professionally, but that you want to grow with this particular firm for x, y and z.
Outline Your Achievements.
Sure your boss knows you do a good job. But how often are you able to present a list of your accomplishments and their impact on the organization? Having something handy to refer to is a great way to get the conversation started about your strengths and where you’re contributing the most. So far you should both be on the same page.
Share Your Vision.
This is where your thoughts may diverge, so you need to be specific. You want to talk about how you see your role growing, how that growth positively impacts the company and what skills you may need to acquire to get there. Your boss may have a similar thought, a totally different idea or no immediate plan and is just there to listen at the moment. Regardless, you can’t expect to have the issue settled today. However, If you’re met with lots of resistance, you’ll know you might want to start searching for growth elsewhere.
Ask for Assistance.
Once you’ve outlined your vision for professional growth and you’ve gotten a response that some form of your plan is on the way, ask for help. First, open discussions on what matters most to the organization’s leaders. Where do they see you adding the most value over time and what skills do you need to be successful? You may want to get additional training and learn new skills. This will help keep you motivated until official moves are made (which could take a while). It will also help you hit the ground running when the time comes to take on those new responsibilities.