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You alone are in charge of your career growth



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Many employees blame their bosses for not favouring them with a promotion, or for not recognising and rewarding them for a job well done.

Still, others lay blame on their employer for not presenting them with career growth and opportunities to scale up the ladder.

Did you know, though, that however mediocre an organisation is and irrespective of how mean you think your boss is, you alone are responsible for your career growth?

If you want to move up and achieve your highest potential in your chosen career path, here are some key questions that you must ask yourself.

Have I been an extra mile kind of person?

If you have not developed the habit of taking the initiative to do more than what is expected of you, even when no one is watching you, and even when it is not part of your job description, then time is ripe for you to start going the extra mile.

Many will not go out of their way to return a phone call, even when they promised a customer or supplier that they would call back.

Going the extra mile could be as simple as enquiring how you can help when someone seems stranded, say, at your reception area, and ensuring that he receives the help that he needs before proceeding to your desk. It could also be about working late to clear up piled work.

Employees are presented with many opportunities to go the extra mile, but many shun extra responsibilities if it does not come with perks, such as overtime pay.

Going the extra mile could be the deciding factor that gives your employer and colleagues the confidence to consider you for a leadership position when the opportunity arises.

What personal growth initiatives have I undertaken?

Do you wait for the annual appraisal and the training needs assessment from the HR department or do you periodically carry out your own needs assessment?

You need to know that your manager is too busy minding his own career growth and will only do what is expected when it comes to your own career.

A person who is in charge of their own career will identify areas of personal growth and take the initiative to invest in training, coaching and improvement.

It could be as simple as signing up for online courses that are related to your career or industry to investing in an academic qualification or membership affiliation.

Do not wait for your employer to send you for a workshop or do you do your own research to find out how you can further enrich your skills.

You will be amazed at how much more you can learn and expand your mind and expertise just by doing an online search and signing up for courses.

Have I drafted and forwarded any ideas or proposals to my employer?

Many will complain that their boss or organisation never considers their ideas, but it may be that no one really has time to read through a 30-page write up of your idea. It would work better if you prepared a 10-slide PowerPoint presentation of your idea, then book a 20-minute meeting with your boss to present it.

You could also present a simple template of a proposal that presents your idea in five pages. If you have a proposal, or a big idea, it will never be considered if all you do is talk about it with your colleagues at lunch break, present it in a formal way to your boss, after all, he is the decision maker.

Am I an ambassador or am I my organisation’s biggest mudslinger?

You have worked with your organisation for years, yet you are its number one critic. One mark of emotional intelligence is identifying a shortcoming, but instead of constantly complaining about it, you suggest solutions or alternatives to deal with it.

Painting your organisation or your boss in bad light is counter-productive, you not only come across as petty and disloyal, you might even lose your job in the process.

Would you be able to pull off a 30-second elevator speech with the CEO should the opportunity present itself or would you be too timid to even say hello?

Respect for authority is not the same as timidity. Being timid will keep many doors closed for you. Don’t allow fear to hold you back, be bold and apply for that senior position that has opened up. There are doors to your career growth that can only be accessible if you’re bold.

The only thing holding you back is fear.

The founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, always carries a notebook, so do other successful leaders of big organisations.

Noting down your own career strategic goals is a step towards actualising them. A notebook is a useful tool and indicator for success in your career. It is in a note book that ideas find a place to marinate, take shape and get acted upon.

As the year comes to a close, take charge of your career growth, don’t leave it to chance.