Signs your boss cares about your career progression

Signs your boss cares about your career progression

Career progression discussion

You have been in your job for a while, and are starting to wonder how much more progress you can make at your current organisation. You know your job inside out, and are certainly performing well – but ask yourself – are you continually developing and learning within your career?

No matter your field, constant progression during your career is essential. Without it, your role will seem repetitive, your skills could become outdated, and you are hindering your chances of success when applying for roles elsewhere, as well as in the future.

To a large extent, career development is down to you. You need to know which areas you want to improve in, and what your long term career goals are. You will then need to proactively communicate these goals to your boss and suggest action points for achieving these.

Once you have done this however, your boss should use their experience, seniority and influence within the organisation to help you achieve your goals. Therefore, in order to gauge how much your boss cares about you and your career progression, ask yourself whether they are taking these below steps when you approach them to discuss your development.

Signs that your boss cares about your career growth with the company

Here are a few obvious signs your boss cares about your future with the company, wants to support and promote you, values your contribution, is impressed by your performance and will help your career thrive.

1. Your boss communicates regularly with you

If your boss really cares about your career progression, they will have proactively tried to create an open environment in which you feel you are able to communicate your thoughts on how you see your role progressing. They will also make their own suggestions and provide feedback on areas where you can develop.

A prime opportunity for this type of interaction could include one-on-one meetings. Do you have regular catch ups with your boss to discuss your professional progress or career map? If not, do you think your manager would be receptive if you asked for one-on-ones to start happening? Open communication during regular meetings provides both you and your boss with the chance to discuss the steps necessary for you to fulfil your potential.

2. Your boss encourages you to challenge yourself

Does your boss give you the chance to take on more responsibility or stretch yourself beyond your current day to day responsibilities, and are these opportunities relevant to your career goals? Think about any new tasks or projects that they ask you to undertake, which aren’t typical for your day to day role. For example, if your career goal is to eventually become a people manager, then your boss might ask you to train up new members of the team and introduce them to other people within the business. The ability to welcome and integrate new team members is an essential people management trait.
In allowing you to take on tasks outside of your comfort zone, your boss is demonstrating to you that they want you to develop and are willing to help you get there.

3. Your boss connects you to the right people 

Another way your boss can help you meet your career goals is by using their senior status to connect you to the right people. To use the same example as above, if you want to become a people manager, this will involve being promoted up the ranks within your company, therefore your boss will know who you need to impress. Moreover, they will know how to get you in front of these people to show off your skills, whether it is in the form of giving presentations, representing the team during meetings, or inviting you to corporate events.

Ask yourself, how often does your boss connect you with the people who can influence your career progression?

4. Your boss says ‘yes’ to training 

How supportive is your boss when it comes to training opportunities? As mentioned, it is up to you to find out what your goals are and proactively search for actionable ways to achieve them. Ideally, your boss will supplement these with their own skills development strategies. One of these may be by suggesting certain training courses relevant to your career goals.
It is important to bear in mind that training courses can be a big investment of company time and money, therefore sometimes circumstances won’t allow your boss to make this commitment. If your boss’s hands are tied, they should at least explain their reasoning, and suggest alternative ways to upskill. These could include webinars, podcasts or training and mentoring sessions with relevant members of staff, for instance.

5. Your boss gives you credit

If you do something well, does your boss publicly praise you or take the credit for themselves? You need to know that your boss has your back and that they aren’t just following their own agenda. A key indicator of this is your boss commending you in front of the wider team, attributing relevant successes to you and being happy to let you take credit where credit is due.

6. Your boss welcomes promotional opportunities 

The ultimate test – if a promotion comes up within your team which seems perfectly aligned to what you want, how does your boss react? They know you will want to apply for this opportunity. If they think you are suitable, do they encourage you to go for it? If they don’t think you’re quite there yet, do they give feedback and offer to help develop you accordingly?
What if an opportunity comes up elsewhere within the business that you would be perfect for and they know it? This situation is the definitive indicator of whether your boss cares about your career progression. If they are willing to help you move elsewhere in the business for the sake of your career development, then they truly have your best interests at heart.

What to do next

The above signs your boss cares about your professional development and career path will give you a solid indication of your potential long-term success with the company. Bosses who respect their employees, make you feel valued and care about your personal development at work are important advocates to have on your side.  

Importance of a good relationship with your boss

So, ask yourself the above questions to indicate how much your manager cares about your career development. If you answer yes to most of them, then it’s a good sign. You have a good boss who is supportive of your personal development in your current job and cares about helping you achieve your future career goals. Therefore, it is important that you make them proud – your employer has invested their time and budget into developing you, and will want to see results. Make the most of any new challenges, projects, training and development opportunities that you take on in your current job, and feed back to your boss how it has helped you. Keep your relationship with your boss positive and respectful and thank them for their personal faith and commitment.

How to talk to your boss about career growth

If you answered no, then it’s time to have a conversation with your employer. Are they able to alter their management approach and support you more in realising your career goals? If not, and you feel like you won't receive the critical support required to succeed long-term in this office or workplace, then it may be time to move on and find somebody else who will.

If you do decide to look for a new role at a leading organisation where your career can thrive, don’t forget to emphasise your ambitions on your CV, when speaking to a recruiter and with prospective managers during the interview stage. Find out how much these companies can accommodate your career goals, how effort and success is rewarded, if they are known for taking the time to listen to each employee, what life is really like working there and if an individual person is likely to feel that their work is valued. It may also help to determine if their commitments to employee development are genuine, such as through real-life case studies on their website or in online employee reviews.  These factors can all help you determine which employer is likely to support your career progression long-term. Good luck.  

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