The role of managers is changing, and there are specific career conversations that they should have with their employees. Some managers are not there yet, so they may not initiate these conversations with their direct reports. As an employee, if your boss does not have career conversations with you outside of your annual review, then it’s time to initiate and have those career conversations. Six types of career conversations have emerged that are worth having with your boss.
How do I fit into the organization? It is important to understand how your role fits into the organization, so you see how you are contributing. This career conversation with your manager helps you to map your career path with input from him. It is also helpful to let him know what your career aspirations are. Before the conversation, conduct an assessment test to determine your strengths, weaknesses, personal values, interests, preferences and discuss your findings with him.
What and how should I develop? If you do not have a coach or a mentor, chances are you will need guidance to help you develop your career. Although you are going to talk about employee development with your boss, think about what you want professionally, and not leave it entirely up to him. Think about possible gaps in your skills, and how you might fill them. Although you have done some work prior to the career conversation, listen to what your boss has to say about your development needs, and the best ways to develop them because he will have an entirely different perspective from you.
What is expected of me? At some point, this question must have come up, but roles evolve, and organizational needs change. Therefore, it is important to ask this question every now and again to ensure that your goals and aspirations align with those of the organization. To succeed in any role, you have to know and understand what is expected of you, what you are responsible for, how your work is measured and evaluated, so you can perform well in the role. Let your manager know what resources you need to perform your job well. Work with your manager to set career goals with attached timelines, clarify what needs to get done, and discuss how you will be rewarded and recognized for the work you do.
How will my talents and contributions be recognized? Everyone wants to know how his or her contributions will be recognized. During this career conversation, it is the perfect time to let your boss know what your interests are, and you can take the opportunity to work on your personal brand.
How am I doing? Employees need to know how they are doing so they can course correct if needed. They want to on meaningful projects that make an impact. Take the opportunity to find out from your boss how others perceive you. Solicit feedback whenever you need it, and do not wait for performance review time.
What’s next for me? It makes sense to map out your career path so you have a sense of where you want to go next. During this type of career conversation, share your career map, and ask about opportunities and the business landscape. This conversation will allow you to make changes to your career map and find out how each choice will impact your career.
Career conversations are important, because they increase engagement between managers and direct reports. With more conversations, each party is able to get more of what he or she wants out of life. Don’t wait for your boss to engage you in one of the six career conversations, take the initiative to launch a conversation today.