Like anything else in life, our careers go through a set of stages. As we travel from an entry-level position to the precipice of our career, we learn different pieces of information about ourselves and about our roles.
Danielle Merfeld of Fast Company writes about the four work habits that one must change at each stage of their career. It’s easy to become complacent in our roles, so it’s crucial to be cautious of the decisions that we’re making.
First, Merfeld urges professionals to become less dependent on their boss as time goes on. Much like when we’re young and look to our parents for the answers to all of life’s questions, we go to our bosses as young professionals to receive answers to workplace questions.
Communication between yourself and your boss is a necessity during the early stages of your career, but there comes a point where you should be able to accomplish everything your role requires without someone holding your hand every step of the way. When this time comes, it may only be necessary to communicate about projects with your boss when you’ve hit a new milestone or are required to make a decision that requires approval from a higher-up.
Using this new distance creates a new form of trust.
This allows you to become more self-sufficient and sets you in motion for a potential promotion.
Check your timelines
Second, it’s important to utilize longer timelines when managing tasks. When in an entry-level position, most of your work may require review and approval. As you move up the flagpole, timelines for tasks should lengthen.
During this time, work should be looked at in the grand scheme of things (weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) rather than taking it day-by-day. Knowing what you need to accomplish over these periods of times will help you to pace yourself and plan out a strategy of execution.
Put me in, coach
Third, your leadership style should change.
As your role gains more responsibility, more people will be looking to you for guidance.
It’s during this time that you should behave more like a coach than just a manager.
This means looking more at strategy rather than just the output itself. Helping your team learn how to better themselves through task execution will help the company as a whole.
Always be networking
Lastly, it is key to build a strong presence for yourself outside of work. You can accomplish this by having an active and professional social media presence (based in LinkedIn and Twitter) that helps you network and grow as a professional.
With all of this in mind, it is good practice to take a step back from your work at examine everything from the top down. See what areas could use attention and focus, then go from there and better these areas with the four steps.