How To Have The Conversation With Your Boss About Your Career

Picture the scene.

You are about to have a one to one about your performance.

You are know you have performed well.

So you are not really concerned about that aspect of the meeting.

What you do know is that you don’t feel you are doing work at the right level.

You know that you are capable of taking on more.

You are worried how your boss will react if you raise the issue of your career.

So how do you effectively have that conversation with your boss about your career?

Change Your Thinking

You might be worrying that your boss should give you the opportunity to talk about your career.

I certainly always included that in one to one meetings.

But I don’t think I would necessarily be representative.

Think about it.  You are doing a good job, your boss is happy with your work.

Why would your boss want to raise the topic of career aspirations with you?

They might lose you if they do.

Be Prepared

If you are going to handle the situation well you have to spend time preparing for the discussion.

Few people can turn up for an important meeting without preparation.

You know the saying.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail!

Know What You Want

What is it you are looking for?

  • More responsibility
  • More experience
  • Start using skills that you have that are not be utilised at present
  • New challenges

Don’t expect the boss to come up with the list for you.

State The Benefits

You can probably state the benefits for you.

What about the boss, the team you work in and the organisation more generally?

What’s in it for them?

You have to understand that just about everyone thinks about themselves first.

So make sure you don’t just focus on the benefits for you but be clear about the wider benefits for others.

Set Out A Potential Path To What You Want

Your boss will have their own thoughts on how any transition might work.

On the other hand if you have some initial thoughts on how the transition might work you will re-assure.

In essence that re-assurance will give your boss confidence that he or she won’t be left with a big resource gap.

Maintain A Sense Of Realism

Even if your boss is committed to you and your career, things can’t always happen overnight.

Agree timings for things to happen but also be realistic about what can happen and when it can happen.


About the Author Duncan Brodie

Since 2006 I’ve worked with in excess of 8,000 accountants and professionals in workshops, seminars and one to one helping them land their next jobs and become better leaders, presenters and business partners. Before that I spent 25 years in accountancy climbing the career ladder from Payments Clerk to FD. I’m a CIMA Fellow, Certified Professional Coach and Team Coach Facilitator.

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