Career management is a form of storytelling. As I always tell my clients, a successful interview is successful storytelling. Beyond the interview process, your employer would want to create a good story about you while you are employed with them. Once hired, what kind of story would you want to make with your employer? Will you be someone who religiously goes to work and enjoys the comfort of doing a regular routine for years? Or will you be someone who can step up to the plate and be one of the leaders of your company? If you choose the latter, then you’ve got to let that kind of story unfold before your immediate superior. Your boss can’t read your mind so you have to make it clear that you can become a leader of this group under your employer’s proper guidance.
Earlier in my career, while starting in corporate training and eventually in human resources, I would get excited to hear about people problems because I knew that it was always an opportunity for me to present my ideas on how to make things better. People came to me with problems and I was the problem-solver. In the process, I learned a lot and got involved in many projects that expanded my experience, all of which I leveraged to move up the ladder horizontally and vertically.
By doing this, I did the right thing and did the wrong thing at the same time. Looking back, I should have listened and encouraged people who come to me for help to present their ideas on how to resolve their issues. In so doing, not only would I have learned but also would have encouraged others to learn along with me. It takes a particular mindset to be a problem solver but it takes a better approach to coach others to present solutions to encourage thinking and increase engagement.
CEOs may have big salaries but keep in mind that a position of broader responsibility entails more problems to solve. So if you want your boss to see you as a potential leader of the group, then it is not enough to report to your employer about the problems of the company. Rather than be perceived as someone who just whines and gives the group problems, always offer solutions. Have at least three possible solutions on hand before approaching your boss. Always anticipate. If Plan A doesn’t work, be ready to give your employer a Plan B and if you can, have a Plan C. Provide your boss with short-term and long-term solutions. These solutions may not always be right but in doing so, you come across as someone who is genuinely concerned about the company and that you are a results-oriented individual. You made it clear that you are ready for a new responsibility and that the company can depend on you. Thus, be prepared to discuss other solutions with your boss. Be open-minded and learn from this process. Because of this, your supervisor can see you as someone whom they can have an exchange of ideas with. So the next time he/she encounters a similar problem, don’t be surprised if your boss calls you for help. And if you keep giving the company results, a promotion might just be around the corner.
If this article helps, then let me know and leave your comments below. Sharing your stories can encourage a lot of people to do the same. Let’s help each other create our own stories so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.