After all of that hard work you put in understanding yourself, your career aspirations, and your values, it’s time to sit down with your supervisor and have a career development plan. By taking the time to think through the questions and having a draft of some sort prepared will allow for a more engaging discussion and demonstrate that you are taking responsibility for your development.
- Get your head in the game. Prepare yourself mentally to ensure that your tone truly reflects that you are wanting to develop and grow rather than job-hop outta here. Your boss will be a lot more receptive to help you.
- Stay calm: deep breathes.
- Be focused: have a prepared agenda.
- Be open to suggestions: truly open your mind up to receive honest feedback.
- Do not get defensive: Rather than getting upset that you’re hearing something contrary to what you thought, be open and ask follow up questions. Ask for examples, clarification, and what steps you can take to develop in those areas.
- Have a plan. Make an action plan and stick with it. Find ways to make sure to stay accountable to your plans goals. It could be in the form of follow up meets, emails on when you’ve accomplished something, or any other creative ways you and your boss come up with that makes sense to you.
- What are your career objectives?
- What skills will you need to get there?
- What are your development plans to get there?
- What are you doing to do in the next 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months to reach your objective?
- Ask for input. Rather than coming in with your own thoughts on development, which is great and shows your initiative, ask for your boss’s feedback on it. Are your goals and timelines reasonable and achievable? Do they agree on your areas of strengths and development opportunities? What other insight can they offer?
- Get skill development opportunities. Once you have identified the areas where you need to grow, ask for development opportunity feedback. Are there assignments that your boss can give you to develop or are there things you need to do outside of the workplace, such as reading books, participant in webinars, or continuing education to obtain certifications.
- Set milestones and timelines. The most important part of the development plan is to review your actions regularly and determine when you have hit milestones in your timeline. Do not let this be a wasted effort for you or your boss— This is you owning your career progression and development!
One last point: What if you request a meeting with your boss, frame it in such a way that you are wanting to grow in the company (as opposed to your own selfish needs), and your boss still says no? Well… this is your sign that you are at a dead-end job and it’s time to find a place that will gladly want you to learn, grow, and develop into a professional for your field.
Have you ever had a development discussion with your boss? How did it help you grow?