Who is responsible for your career development?

There are all kinds of studies that show the main reasons people leave their jobs. One of the top reasons in almost every study is for lack of career development. So as an employee, you might ask yourself, “Who is responsible for my career development?”

Research by EdAssist and the University of Phoenix looked into that very question. Most workers (74% of them, actually) believe their company or manager is responsible. On the other hand, most managers (98% of them) said that employees have to take responsibility for their own career development. Those statistics alone show why so many companies fail at career development. Each party believes it’s the other person’s responsibility. So which is it?

We believe it’s BOTH. You have to want to grow and develop. And your company has to help you get there. You have to take initiative, and they have to show their support. The important piece of this is that you set your own goals; you decide whether or not you want to grow or learn something new. It all starts with YOU.

So, how can you chart your own path?

  1. Figure out where you want to go. Do you like the position you’re currently in? Do you wish you could learn a new skill? Do you have interest in another department? Take the time to clearly define where you want to go.
  2. Set some goals. Start out small. It could be something like learning a new skill. Then work your way up. Make sure your goals are realistic and have action steps with timelines. Creating long and short term goals will help you maintain productivity and stay focused.
  3. Reach out to people who are on the path you want to be on. Talk with them. Ask them questions. Find out how they got to where they are. And see what tips or advice they have that might help you. You may find a mentor without even realizing it.
  4. Talk to your manager. Share your plan, your goals, and your aspirations. Ask for feedback. If you’re looking grow and develop, there might be a way for your manager to help. He/she may have more insight on things going on in the company. And you never know, you may find out that they’ve already been thinking about your development.
  5. Seek out more information. Read books, do some research, take a class. Your company likely has multiple resources available to help you in your leadership journey; you just have to ask!
  6. Give updates on your progress. Share with others how you’re doing. If you have a plan, and are actively implementing it, update your manager or company HR person. You might be surprised what support you receive along the way.

What’s important is that you create a plan and stick to it. When you do something daily to work toward a goal, eventually it becomes a habit and essentially a new skill. And working on your action steps will help by giving you a sense of accomplishment. It only takes a little bit of discipline. One small series of actions can drive change and help you get to where you want to go. Click To Tweet It all starts with you.

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