There’s a right way to have a growth conversation with your boss. The right way is to Plan, Understand and Make a Stand. By doing these three achievable steps, you will take control of your career and impress your boss.
1. PLAN – Design your next career move
People overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year.
You need to know your career goals for the next 12-24 months and state them clearly to your boss. Consider if you want to move up the career ladder or jump sideways to a ladder in another part of the company. What do you consider a reasonable pay rise at this point in your career? What gets you up and keeps you excited during each workday?
Five things you can do in a year to grow your career or get promoted:
- Get a career Mentor – A career mentor will push you to do what’s needed to achieve your career goals. A mentor can roleplay your career conversation with you until you get it right.
- Join a peer network – Surround yourself with people who inspire you to think strategically about your career and your industry.
- Offer to job shadow – Find someone who is doing the job you want and offer to shadow them in your own time.
- Upskill education and knowledge – Perhaps a communications course would give you extra confidence. Do you need a qualification to succeed in a different job? Start now with an online course that you can easily finish part-time within 1-2 years.
- Keep your success stats – Take responsibility for recording your workplace wins. Define the key measurements that apply to your job and graph your progress. Your boss will be impressed by clear, succinct results.
2. UNDERSTAND – Know what is needed and wanted
Find ways to be so excellent at doing what’s needed and wanted that you are front of mind when a career opportunity arises. Improve and document your current job, so its easy for your boss to find someone for that role when you make your move.
Do you know the vision and strategic goals of the business? Who are the key players? Is there a board? Show your commitment by asking your boss to fill you in. If there is a strategic plan or business plan, request a copy – and read it cover to cover. Be crystal clear about how your job, and the job you aspire to have, contribute to the aims of the business. Ask your boss, mentor and peer group to help you brainstorm new ideas that support the business strategy.
Read books, blogs and follow podcasts that are relevant to the career you want. Keep a career journal where you write quotes, insights and ideas.
Build trust with your boss and work colleagues by making small agreements and keeping them – always arrive on time, meet team deadlines, put your hand up for a task that no-one wants to do and make sure you follow through.
3. MAKE A STAND – Have the career growth conversation
Now you are ready to sit down and have a career growth conversation with your boss. Here’s how:
- If you can get a look at your boss’s diary ahead of time, then request a 30-minute meeting when you know they will be available. Send a meeting confirmation email and state the purpose of the meeting.
- Prepare for the meeting by making notes on all the ways your career growth plans align with the business growth goals. Perhaps create a simple PowerPoint presentation to support your meeting.
- Always begin by thanking your boss for their time.
- If you feel nervous, it’s ok to say, ‘I feel nervous because this meeting is important to me’.
- Get to the point quickly, state the purpose of the meeting (to discuss your career growth) and your desired outcome, (to open doors for promotion or to develop a career pathway that supports the business).
- Present your key job stats and accomplishments. Keep it brief and be careful not to overinflate your importance. Be humble, respectful and confident.
- Show that you understand the strategic growth aims of the business and state how they inspire you to do a better job. If you have any ideas for improvements, ask for permission to share them. Be prepared for a ‘not at this time’ response, and politely ask, ‘when would be a good time?’ A good boss will admire your persistence.
- Thank your boss again for their time and request a follow-up meeting in 4-6 weeks.
Your career is yours to design and create. You’ll find that done the right way, having a career growth conversation with your boss will be rewarding and successful for both of you.