During a conversation with Lisa, a good friend of mine, who was feeling stuck in her position and career. She decided to go to her manager, Joan and ask her what she needed to do for her next professional career move. Joan responded “I don’t know, but good luck and let me know when you find out” She was devastated. Lisa’s first mistake was expecting her manager to give her some form of validation and let her know that she was on the right track. Lisa thought Joan would suggest a training or two. She thought perhaps the conversation would lead to a new project that would get her in front of the right people. Lisa thought her manager was capable of helping her get the next promotion. Unfortunately, Lisa, was looking for Joan to give her something she was not capable of providing. Joan couldn’t give what she didn’t have. How do I know Joan didn’t have what Lisa wanted? Because if Joan was an effective leader Lisa would not have needed to go to Joan for advice on what she needed to do to get to the next level.
An effective leader grows and develops their direct reports. Effective leaders are having next step conversations regularly with their employees. There employees are clear on where they are, and what they need to do in preparation for the next position or promotion whether it is within the company or outside of it. Just because someone has a leadership “position or title” does not mean they have effective leadership skills and abilities. Never give anyone the power to dictate your success and put timelines on when you would be ready for a promotion or a new position. Most companies today spend most of their training dollars, training leaders on guidelines, policies and how to maximize the bottom line. Very little resources are spent on how to become an effective leader. Most managers don’t know how to help you. Don’t hold it against them; you are responsible for your success and everything you need is either within you or accessible to you. Be savvy enough to find out where you need to go and how to get the information you need. Do your research, speak to various individuals in and outside of your company, read books and articles to help you chart your success. Ultimately, you are the driver of your career. Everyone else are passengers who can on occasion provide guidance and insights, but you decide the route you will take and when you will take it.