What does one do when the boss is blocking your career development and success at your workplace?
I have a reputation of being a top performer, and have received tons of positive feedback from customers, co-workers, managers and other employees at the company regarding my work as a help desk associate. I have countless emails and cards to prove this. Yet, my boss gave me a mediocre performance review and when I asked for a promotion, or approval to learn new skills and knowledge that would enhance my work and career, he said that I am not ready.
Any advice at this point would be greatly appreciated.
Signed: Blocked By Boss
The best advice that I found in my research is Anne Hamill’s post on talentandpotential.com. She recommends the following:
1. Do not give in to your frustrations.
Face the facts: it’s always better to not get involved in any office politics; don’t let your negative feelings and emotions get in your way with your work, relationships and attitude. This can ruin your chances of ever being considered for promotion. Focus on the positives and keep up your great attitude and work.
2. Have you been noticed at your office?
Do not assume that no one has observed your accomplishments. Find out if other managers, including the HR, know your work. Build relationships with these professionals. But be careful and sensitive to the workplace culture. If it’s safe (check with co-workers or managers that you trust) to approach your HR manager. Have a conversation about your interest to move on in the organization in order to make a more significant contribution to the growth and success. Ask “Can we talk about how I can help my career progress?”, recommends Hamill, who posits that this conversation could go a long way to help you understand the situation, possible opportunities in the near future as well as your options.
3. Take initiative
You CANNOT CHANGE systems and workplace cultures. The only person that can change is you. If you’re good at what you do and you know how to demonstrate that, then figure out how you can drive business or add value to your employer. Don’t wait for things to happen to you. Research on social media and at work to find out who, in a position of influence, would be interested in your expertise and would have the authority to help you with your career move. Secure a meeting with this person for an informal exploratory conversation or information interview about opportunities. Invite them for a cup of coffee. Prepare and present a proposal of your ideas. If you can keep it confidential, great. Otherwise, tell your blocking boss that you are meeting this manager to learn more about the business.
4. Build a reputation inside and outside your team.
When an opportunity does arise, you want to be sure that your name is raised for consideration. Keep an eye out for projects you can get involved with or lead. These can help you get out from under your boss’ shadow so that you become visible to senior management and other departments.
Also, be sure to communicate your activities and successes outside your immediate team – for example, you could look for opportunities to be featured in company magazines, present your work to other interested teams, or keep your wider network aware of your good results by informal emails.
5. Keep building your resume and accomplishments.
The resume is not just a document to be submitted when formally applying for roles. You can also share it with people, when you talk about your career ambitions. Also, make sure to build an impressive LinkedIn profile that showcases your skills and achievements. When job openings become available in your company, you’ll find you’re much more likely to be considered for the opportunity. So take the time to consider the skills you’ll need to succeed in the role you want and then actively seek out opportunities to develop them. If you need to demonstrate financial acumen, take on some budgeting responsibility; if you need to be able to chair meetings, look for opportunities to run meetings now.
6. Continue to look and apply for another job within your company or outside.
Don’t quit yet. Keep your job search confidential as well — use LinkedIn to find job postings and companies of interest.
Best of luck with your career,
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