Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chart your leadership career path

As a Leader we are always thinking about how to improve our team, through maintaining the morale, offering challenging work, looking for opportunities to grow your team members. But have you stopped to take a look at your own path. You need to take control and through careful planning achieve your career goals too. As you grow you become more valuable and your career opportunities will blossom.

This may sound a little corny but you need to come up with a plan so you always know what the next step is and what you should be doing to get there. Here's a simple three step plan to get you started.

Step One. What's my current situation? Sometimes this is hard to gauge. Sit down and pretend you met a guy at the bar and you hit it off. At the end of the night he says " Hey I'm really glad we met I'd like you to come and work for my company"! with that he gives you his business card and says send me you CV by the end of the week I'm sure we have an opening for you". Get over the shock and sit down and write you CV. Be sure to be honest and draft away.

Step two. What's the future for me? Again this is tough but lots of people just wander through life and have no real goal they are aspiring towards. Well how do we start this one? This time pretend you're at a different bar and you meet someone who is a prospective partner. Tell me about yourself and where you'll be in five and ten years time? By stepping back from today and focusing on an interim and a long term goal it will help to clarify the "End Point" for our exercise.

Step three. Stand up your CV against your interim and long term goal, take note of the Delta areas. Maybe some of the following questions might fall out at you.

Should I look for work experience in another function, industry to round out my skills?

Should I attend some retraining or upskilling of my professional qualifications?

Should I transfer - even at a lower rate - to get into the area I want to be in?

Should I find a mentor to provide some advice from a different perspective?

There maybe lots of other questions and areas you need to focus on to get onto or turbo charge your path to your goals.

Some tips to help you along the way.
Every job you ever have is an opportunity for you to increase the value of your work for yourself and your boss, as you add more value your worth will skyrocket alongside.
Take calculated risks - this will ensure your you expand your knowledge and skills and demonstrates your ability to move outside your defined role.
Beware of becoming stale, regularly monitor your progress, if you stay too long you risk losing momentum and falling behind.
Take responsibility for your career path - no one cares as much as you so you should be vigilant to ensure you are always moving in the right direction.

While we are always looking to do the best for our team we also have to include time to do the best for ourselves. As the leaders its important that we are moving forward so we can also move our teams along on our journey.

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