I have heard a range of good advice to downright wrong suggestions for having a successful career. As I reflect, there is one set of guidance that I have found most effective in my recent years of career growth and leadership and here it is.
Be Clear About Your Goals and Desires With Your Leadership
A few more experienced and wiser leaders have given me this advice at various points in my career. Unfortunately, I found it most powerful after having made the mistake of not following this guidance. One of the easiest ways to burn a bridge is to leave an organization or team by total surprise. That is, they were not aware of your lack of satisfaction and your desire for something else or more. How do you remedy this? By being clear about your goals!
Earlier in my career, I thought it was taboo to discuss job satisfaction with leadership, until I became a leader. Then I realized, how is it that a management team can fix the issue if they do not know about it? Of course, leadership must create a comfortable environment for transparency. Nonetheless, it is still on you to be transparent about what is and what isn’t working. If you like your organization and want to stay, give your team a chance to understand your goals and desires.
I made it a personal goal to always let my leadership know when I feel that I have met the challenges of my current role and am ready for more growth and responsibility. Sometimes they could help me, sometimes it took time and sometimes it could not. Having these periodic conversations a few times a year not only creates alignment of expectations, but it generates trust between you and those with whom you work.
Your Next Steps
If you do not have a regular one-on-one meeting with your manager on the calendar, create one. Talk about your development plan (short and long), current challenges and opportunities. Discuss your succession plan. And be clear about what is and what is not working. Note, importantly, to bring solutions to the table as well.
Check out the Worst Career Advice I Ever Received.
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Rodney Robinson II