If you have been following the articles in this series, then you’ve already determined where you want to go in your career and planned a course of action. Now it’s time to step out of the box, take off your manager’s hat and gain a broader view by gathering input from four perspectives: your own, your subordinates, your peers and your boss.
“In career planning, this is the step that most people miss,” says Tom Davis, director at Cendant Mobility in Danbury, Connecticut. “Most of us go right from determining where we want to go to how we are going to get there.” They have the coaching and mentoring, but they rarely step back to see how those with whom they work perceive them or what it is going to take to be successful.” The importance of this career step cannot be overlooked, since none of us work in a vacuum. Even people who work on their own depend upon others to help them accomplish their tasks.
In every job there is a need to work well, whether you are an individual contributor or a manager of a large group of people. “Everyone who has ever worked knows that it is rare that one can accomplish anything by one’s self,” says Diane Jackson, director of Diversity at Aetna Inc. “It takes building relationships with a host of people.” How you perceive yourself in an organization is not always the way you’re being perceived. In a 360-degree analysis, you’ll receive not only useful information about yourself, but you’ll also find it easier to manage your boss, subordinates and peers.
Look within yourself; identify your strengths and explore your options. “Even if you’d rather be working in a large city and find yourself in the ‘boonies,’ give yourself two or three years. They’ll go by in no time at all. You’ll learn a great lesson about being resilient and it will look great on your resume,” says Jane Diggs, president of Career Connections, with offices in Charleston, West Virginia, and Danbury, Connecticut.
Learn how to better manage your feelings. Don’t let them control you. Ask yourself some key questions: What is my value to the group that I work with? Where are the areas for misunderstanding? What information would I share with my co-workers, boss and the people who report to me if I could do so easily? What are my current and potential assets to the group? To my boss? To those who report to me?
Once you have finished your self-assessment, Lisa A. Bing, president of Bing Consulting Group Inc. in Brooklyn, New York, suggests that you write up a short list of discussion points to give to your boss and subordinates. “Identify a few key areas-not more than five-and let them know what you want to use the feedback for,” she explains. “You are looking to develop and are interested in their points of view. Then have a discussion about the talking points.” Talking points are more effective than a survey, which most