How To Manage Your Career Like You Do Your Department
As an employee you do a great job of managing your department. You know what is happening, who is doing what, and you also know, how to achieve the best outcome for your company.
However, do you apply the same skills to your professional development goals for managers? Do you spend a lot of time thinking about advancing your career? Do you read a lot of books, watch inspiring videos, and join online community forums focused on career advancement?
Have any of these things worked? My guess is, ‘No’.
Sadly, most people don’t realize that they already have the skills they need to succeed. They look at their professional development goals for managers as something different from what they are already doing: Something else they have to learn about, or something new they have to add to their busy day.
In truth, you should consider utilizing the skills you use in your job to advance your career along the path you most desire.
You will be surprised to learn that the skills and talents you already have may be enough to get you that promotion or career change you have always wanted.
Be Well Organized
Treat your career advancement goals like you would a new project at work. Look at the long term goal, and what you hope to achieve at the end of certain amount of time, and then set smaller goals that will help you achieve this.
Who do you need help from? What resources do you already have? Do you need to retrain or study more?
How much planning is done when beginning a new project? How do you organize your workload? Do you use folders and a filing system? Are there codes and systems which make tracking the project easier and more efficient?
You know these systems work because you use them and you are good at what you do, and you know how to get results. So, why not use these systems or similar ones to advance your career?
You may not get your dream job now or next week. But, what if you planned and implemented a strategic system that looked at how you could improve yourself, and your prospects?
This might involve keeping track of jobs you would like and have applied for. In particular, you should be doing analyze of each job application, and carefully looking at each aspect and seeing how well you meet them.
It may also involve getting a mentor, learning online and being a better employee.
Keep Your Eyes on What is Happening Day to Day
Many long term goals get lost in the day to day operations of our lives. How many times have you stopped and dreamt of your dream job, then found months later your busy life has just got in your way of obtaining it?
Never losing sight of your long term goal is important, but so is what is happening right now. Make a habit of checking in each day and seeing where you are on your management career path journey.
If there is something you haven’t done, get it done by the end of the day. Always make yourself accountable by dedicating a few minutes a day to seeing how well you are going.
Evolve and Grow
Being flexible is one of the best ways to achieve your goals. Today you see yourself in a certain position, in a certain company, and that’s okay. Your life may take you down a path that you hadn’t counted on. Your company may promote you in way you couldn’t have imagined, and that’s okay too.
The important thing is to evolve and grow with these changes. Don’t see them as obstacles that are slowing you down. Instead, view them as interesting challenges that will help you grow and evolve into an even better manager.
Running and organizing your career should be done in the same way you organize your department. You should be keeping track of what you have done, and what you need to achieve in a formal, well-organized manner. You should also be making sure you are accountable to yourself, like you are to your managers, so that you compelled to do a great job.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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