Take Charge of Your Career and Grow a Pair

Take control of your career by managing it with purpose, and setting the right kinds of goals.

Stever Robbins
6-minute read
Episode #462

Communicate Your Goals and Get Support in Reaching Them

SettingGoalstoMoveAheadWhy document? Because despite popular belief, most bosses aren’t actually psychic. Until humanity makes its final transition to computerized hive-mind, you’ve got to let your boss know what you want from your job. Then together, decide what you need to for that to happen. Turn it into process goals and get your boss’s buy-in on those process goals.

Now, remember that most of the research shows that promotions have very little to do with what you actually accomplish, and virtually everything to do with whether your boss likes you. Except at Google, where it has to do with whether everyone else likes you. So the purpose of all these discussions is only partly to lay out what you must achieve to move ahead. Equally important is getting your boss to feel a stake in your success, so they like you more.

You might even want to make it clear to your boss how good it will make them look, even though they would never be misled by such a transparent attempt to curry their favor. By the way, did you know that social science has found that flattery works, even when the person being flattered knows it’s insincere? I’m not sure why that occured to me just now, but it must be relevant.

If you’re like Minion 3845/J, and you’ve lost opportunities in the past, try to find out why. Learn what you lacked and try to correct for that. Maybe you need to learn a new skill to compete with younger professionals, or maybe you need more experience to be considered for a position that’s usually for senior employees. In each case, ask for support from your boss. If you need to learn something, see if they’ll pay for you to take classes. If they won’t, see if they’ll at least give you time to pursue training on your own.

Once your boss promises to follow through with a reward if you meet certain goals, make sure you get that promise in writing. Even if it’s just an email exchange, you’ll want evidence of your agreement to keep them accountable. Plus, if you get a new boss, they may not be inclined to fulfill old agreements unless they’re in writing. But you will have them in writing.

Once your boss promises to follow through with a reward if you meet certain goals, make sure you get that promise in writing, even if it’s just an email exchange.

Take the Reins if Your Boss Falls Short

If you reach your goals and your boss doesn’t follow through, it’s time to look for a new job. Teamwork and trust are key to a good employee / employer relationship. If you’ve made an agreement with your employer, and you hold up your end of the bargain and they don’t, there’s no reason to continue working for them.

Amy, if your boss refuses to help you achieve your process goals, it’s also time to look for a new job. Meet people inside and outside your current company. Reconnect with old bosses and colleagues with whom you already have a good rapport, and expose yourself to new opportunities. Make it your new outcome goal to find a better job, and choose process goals that help you get there. It isn’t fair that you’ve been passed over, but then, life isn’t fair. And when life isn’t fair, take charge of your own career, and grow a pair. Of Petunias. They are lovely this time of year.

I'm Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. I run programs to help people have Extraordinary Lives and extraordinary careers. If you want to know more, visit http://SteverRobbins.com . 

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Photos of strong work team and career goals courtesy of Shutterstock. 


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.