Having the support of your boss and other mentors in the company who are looking out for your development can make a huge difference in your career. You feel like people are paying attention to your development. They give you assignments that help you grow. They promote your successes and help to build your visibility. These kinds of experiences are great.
Unfortunately, they are way less common than they should be.
Most people at one time or another in their career end up working for someone who doesn’t actively support them. They’re not necessarily actively undermining you, but they aren’t stepping up to the plate for you, either. It may be that they don’t know how to mentor or develop their people. Or they’re too busy looking out for their own career to pay much attention to yours.
The truth is that this lack of support is not only frustrating — it can be a real staller for your career. If you don’t have a boss who’s supportive of you, chances are your hard work will go unnoticed. And that means it will not be rewarded. Without someone promoting you and your successes, you’ll remain invisible in your organization. As a result, new opportunities will go to someone else – even if they are less experienced and less qualified than you are. It’s frustrating and unfair. Your hard work, and your years of training and experience should count for something. And they can – it just takes a solid strategy.
To really work, your strategy needs to include these three core components:
- Having the skills to naturally and humbly promote your own success. You need to know what to say and how to say it so that people clearly see the contributions you make.
- Being able to gently “manage up” and coach your boss to promote your work.
- Building solid mentoring relationships with other leaders in your organization. That way you’re not so dependent on just one person (your boss) to look out for you and your career.
And you need to be able to do all three of these things authentically and confidently. Done poorly, and you risk coming across as bragging or being political – only looking out for yourself. Done well, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by supporters – possibly even your current boss — who want to see you succeed and are eager to help.
I have a step-by-step approach I teach my clients to do exactly this. They learn how to quickly and easily create a network of supporters, without coming across as awkward or self-serving. As a result, they end up in a better work situation than they were in before we started working together. I’m not saying that to brag – I’m saying that to show you that it works.
If you’re tired of feeling like your career is being held back by a boss who isn’t as supportive as you’d like, let’s talk. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes, and during that time we’ll explore where you are in your career right now, where you want to go, and what might be getting in the way. If I can help you get where you want to go, we can talk about what that would look like. And if I’m not the right fit for that, I’ll point you to other resources. Either way, my goal is for you to get tremendous value from the conversation.