Strategic Career Tips #8 – Career 101 – Taking Charge

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So my boss is a real jerk, he’s uncommunicative, he’s micro, she’s not paying attention, his door is always closed… Are you working for a great company except for your boss? Are you looking for other opportunities within your company? Are you looking for new opportunities on the outside?

But, first, are you allowing your boss to manage you — actively or passively? How can you take control, and not make it about your bosses’ negative impact on you, but rather, about your positive impact on your boss? Many times he/she will not meet you halfway. You have to do 100% of the walking and talking. So take charge. What are you waiting for?

This means making it about THEM, not YOU. Reach out to them for clarity on how you can support him/her, help them, and make them and the department look good. Set up meetings to keep both you and them in the loop. Find out about their expectations, plans, future, and, yes, when appropriate, about their family, kids, interests, etc.

So, you give it your best shot and you realize you can’t move mountains, or your boss, and the obvious question arises — have you been networking consistently and successfully? I know, you are too busy and you don’t have the time. Networking is career critical yet we don’t do it, or don’t do it enough.

First, internally you should be cultivating relationships on a regular basis, especially with peers and superiors. Reach out, establish more chemistry, and learn how you can be more supportive of them. Also, use it as an opportunity to trade pertinent information.

And, in the external world your networking should be constantly expanding. Join professional groups and organizations, get together with business friends and contacts, and expand your network with their contacts.

So what would you like your next career move to be? And when? For your networking initiative to work you need to answer the proceeding questions. And, you should also have concise answers to the questions: Who am I? What makes me special? Your answers will help define you and your Brand (See my article on: “The Power of Your Brand”).

Think strategically about your career and position yourself for greater success. What initiatives will you roll out? What performance goals are you planning to accomplish? What is your time frame?

Last, but not least, is — you and Leadership. If you have not yet been a leader do you know what it means to be a leader, what changes in your style and habits do you need to make in order to become a successful leader. In other words, what will it take to hit the ground running, rather than stumbling?

Can you shift to strategic, big picture thinking? Can you motivate and lead a team? Can you create a vision and set goals with successful outcomes? How innovative are you in achieving success and surpassing expectations? Now, if you are in a leadership position can you analyze your leadership strengths and weaknesses, cut through the distractions, and lay out a plan to improve yourself as a leader? A good beginning initiative is to get honest input about your leadership style and effectiveness from superiors, peers and subordinates.

Take charge of your career. Position yourself. Build relationships, reach out to your network and constantly expand it. You can make an impact by providing your knowledge and expertise to current and new networking contacts. You are smart, knowledgeable and successful. I appreciate what you represent – your Brand. I want to get to know you and support you.