You work hard. You do good work - much of it worthy of recognition and positive feedback. But sometimes it is one unexpected thing that gets you attention. And, if you're lucky, the attention comes from someone who is in a position to impact your career.
My earliest moment was unexpected. My company was changing its core practices and product construct and this required eight hours of Saturday training for the entire workforce. We were given huge, self-administered workbooks and I started in as soon as I arrived at the training room. Motivated by the desire to salvage some of my Saturday and, as luck would have it, I finished my workbook first. The project leader for this training initiative was the top rated manager in the department. She was surprised and pleased with my early finish. Although unplanned and unintentional, it proved to be a very positive career moment. How about you? Do you always recognize your career moments? How can you leverage them to your best advantage?
It's to our advantage to recognize when the work you do is noticed by the right people and make the best of it. Sometimes it's during a planned event such as a formal presentation to a large audience or a group of key players in your organization for which you have prepared. However, moments that are unexpected, such as your project participation as a subject matter expert or an impromptu white paper or even how you run a meeting can bring you to the attention of the right people. Having the ability to recognize these moments and leverage them can pay dividends going forward.
Having "360 degree awareness", i.e., knowing how you are perceived by your superiors, peers and subordinates is excellent intelligence to have when developing the behaviors and outcomes that will enable you to impact others in a positive way or take corrective action to improve how your are perceived by others. This information can be obtained via a management instrument with a formal process or simply by asking questions that will give you an idea of how your bosses, peers and subordinates view you in terms of your communications skills, technical ability and leadership qualities..... sort of a "how am I doing?" interview. What is important is not how you obtain this information but that you get it and use it to gain awareness about yourself and others in the context of your career goals and development of your people.
The key takeaways are these:
- Know your organization and how you fit it. Research who the key players are and how you can impact them and seize a moment.
- Enjoy your career moments - don't luxuriate in them. Keep the momentum going and use them as a jumping off point to the next thing you will accomplish.
- Speak up when appropriate to do so. Establish your expertise and watch for reactions, and,
- be aware. Notice the person who is noticing you and follow up gently. Include them in your circle of mentors and be open to their feedback and perspectives.
The manager who noticed me in my training class turned out to be my first mentor. She positioned me to conduct remediation instruction in the new practice and brought me to the attention of the other members of the leadership team. I discovered strengths that I didn't even know I had which helped me shape my career path and design goals to get me there. And, it worked. I was promoted to my first management position with her support.
Real Leadership Associates can help you sharpen your instincts so that your interactions at all levels can be productive and grow your career opportunities. I use business coaching to create awareness about your work, coworkers and leadership that will help you reach your goals; leverage planned and unforeseen opportunities and use 360 degree vision as an important part of your development arsenal. Contact Beth for more information.
Next weekend is Memorial Day. Kick off the summer by remembering those who have served and serve - here and gone. They have earned and deserve our respect, support and thanks! Talk to you next month.