Take Charge of Your Career Like a Boss

by  Mary C. Schaefer  |  Workplace Issues

I train a lot of managers. One thing we cover is to NOT take for granted what employees understand about their jobs. You’ve probably heard me preach about the importance of one-on-one meetings and how they can be used deliberately for this purpose. Here’s just a snippet of what I suggest to managers that they can cover with their employees.

It may seem like stating the obvious, but I offer a list that includes points like this:

  • How their role fits.
  • Why it’s important.
  • How it contributes to overall objectives.
  • How it’s interdependent with other parts of the organization.

Unsurprisingly though, managers often say to me, “I haven’t been really clear with my employees on how their role fits,” etc. And even more telling, I hear, “I’ve taken it for granted, Mary.”

If YOU aren’t the boss, what you can do.

Measurable objectives might seem really straightforward. They are for some jobs. And you’ve probably had it happen that your goal or objective was difficult to measure, or you found there was more to meeting your goal than was spoken or written down. That’s what really nails us — the unspoken stuff.

Don’t take anything for granted.

You may find that you and your boss have experienced disconnects in having a common understanding of your job. Looking at the list above, any one of those things could be at play, but are not being spoken or clarified.

Depending on the kind of relationship you have with your boss, you use the list above in a number of ways:

  • You can initiate a meeting, take this list and say, “I realize these are things that I’ve taken for granted we’re on the same page. I want to understand how you see them.”
  • You can bring up one point in particular. Your boss might keep focusing on one issue that you think you are addressing and now that you look at this list, you might think, “You know, I bet that’s about interdependence. I ought to ask her perspective on that.”
  • You can just keep these in your back pocket to bring up at an opportune moment or when you begin to observe that something is off.

Be the leader of your own career.

With these simple points in front of you, you can get clear now rather than pay a price later because you didn’t take charge.

Yes, you have a right to expect a lot from your boss, you are not always going to get what you need. You are ultimately responsible.

What kind of approach have you used successfully to make sure you and your supervisor are on the same page? Or, what advice have you offered others?

[Image: Microsoft Clipart]

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About The Author

Articles By mary-schaefer
Speaker, coach and trainer Mary Schaefer’s expertise is in creating work cultures where organizations and human beings can both thrive. She is a former HR manager. Find out more about how Mary helps managers empower themselves to make the most of their human resources with this special collection of articles selected for LCG readers: http://www.reimaginework.com/LCG/  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

JT Sison  |  07 Jul 2014  |  Reply

I agree employees can and should “Be the leaders of their own careers”- we see the need for diligence within companies of every size- tens or hundreds or several thousand employees. So in addition to the suggestions you offer employees, an easy way to take more control of your career and how you are perceived internally is to update (preferably through automated systems) your corporate profile.
Within companies we speak with, we only see an average of 5% of the employee base that inputs any skills or expertise into their corporate profile- those skills are not detailed by any means and yet this is how a fellow employee finds you. With an updated profile employees can publish skills and expertise that are aligned with the list you provided above and better manage how the rest of the company perceives them and leverages their areas of strength- This could help pave the way for a conversation with your boss

Alexandra Marcroft, Ultimate Software  |  10 Jul 2014  |  Reply

This was such an encouraging post, Mary! Always important to have a positive attitude in your career!

Mary C Schaefer  |  10 Jul 2014  |  Reply

Thanks Alexandra! You made my day.

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