At a recent happy hour, a young colleague described a situation where several staff in her area did their jobs well but were not being promoted. This led to a very interesting discussion among several of us more “senior” folks at the table and a few of our younger colleagues. I thought I would reflect a little of that discussion here.
When I was younger I too thought that the key to my getting ahead was doing my current job well. But years of experience and several great mentors taught me that doing my current job well was only the first rung of the ladder to success. To move forward in my career I needed to prepare myself for what lies ahead.
Everyone has heard of the “Peter Principle” in which people rise to the level of their incompetence. Part of the logic that belies this is that too often promotions actually ARE based on performance of a current role and not on an assessment of capabilities for the position that a candidate would assume. Too often people are promoted into management positions but are not yet prepared for the associated roles and responsibilities that ensue. A supervisor does you no favors when they promote you to a new role without working to ensure you have developed the skills to be successful in your new role.
So, what can you do positon yourself for future opportunities? There are several strategies that you can follow to both ensure that you are prepared and to increase the likelihood that you will be selected.
Discuss Your Interests With Your Current Supervisor
It may seem obvious, but make sure your boss knows of your interests. Too often people just assume that their boss knows they want to be promoted, but they have never actually discussed their interests. Also, be sure to seek their input regarding what skills you need to develop/improve to ensure your success when you are promoted. If your supervisor doesn’t have any advice for you or is only telling you how great you are find a new boss or better yet find a mentor (or two or three).
Find a Mentor
Even if you have a great boss and they are helping you prepare it is always useful to get input and advice from multiple sources. I find that I have had many mentors over the span of my career who gave me great advice and helped me to grow and develop. Lately I feel like the concept of mentoring has become too rigid. In my opinion you don’t necessarily need to develop a formal relationship with someone who you ask or even apply to be mentored by them. I had many mentors, but never once did I ask someone “will you be my mentor”? There’s nothing wrong with that approach per se, but building relationships with several successful leaders and asking them for candid advice about your career, future opportunities, and how to acquire new skills you’ll need to succeed is also a way to establish mentoring relationships. And different mentors bring with them differing skills and experiences.
Volunteer for Assignments Outside Your Area
Banish the phrase “it’s not in my job description” form your vocabulary. Rather seek out new opportunities to work on projects with other departments, or even outside organizations. This has multiple benefits. By working with other departments, you will learn more about how your organization works and what drives the work in different parts of the organization. The better you understand the challenges and drivers of other parts of the organization the more effective you will be in any role you might assume. You will also expose more of your organization to your skills and abilities so that when opportunities for promotions do arise you will have support from departments you must work with. And working on teams and committees with diverse groups will also help build skills such as teamwork, organization, meeting management, and more.
Get Involved in your Professional Association
Getting involved in your professional association brings many of the same benefits mentioned above. But is also brings you fresh thinking and new ideas from outside of your organization and exposes you to future opportunities that might lie outside those at our current employer. Bringing new ideas to the work of your current employer will make you more valuable to them. And sometimes there are just a limited number of opportunities in any organization or those that are available may not be a good fit for you. If you truly want to progress in your career you may sometimes need to look outside. Word of mouth still matters in recruitment and being involved in your association increases your exposure.
So, don’t assume success in your current job will lead to future success. Rather take a proactive approach to preparing and positioning yourself for future roles and responsibilities. These are just a few of my observations. What other ideas do you suggest?#Resident #PharmacyStudents #PharmacyPracticeManagers #NewPractitioners #Networking #ASHPStaff #Careers #Technicians #Students #Leadership #BoardMembers