Q. Whenever my boss goes on leave or takes days off, I stand in for him.
This has been the case for the last three years, a job he commends me for. Last week, there was an internal advert for the position of assistant manager, I thought he would encourage me to apply for it, only for him to tell me that I’m not ready. What do I do?
Don’t give up on your career aspirations simply because someone you look up to is discouraging you.
The first person you need to believe in is yourself. Evaluate these questions: do you feel ready for this role?
Do you match the skills and competencies listed in the advert? Is this role the one you most desire and the best option in your next career move?
If you answered yes to all of them, you need a plan to convince your boss that you are ready for this job and that you need his support.
Now, as you plan to approach him, remember there are two types of bosses when it comes to career growth: those who will stop at nothing to create opportunities for their team to grow, and those who are afraid of losing their well-trained staff since they believe that overall productivity of their department will be compromised.
Your boss most likely falls in the latter category. With this in mind, your strategy to gain his support should be three fold – first, demonstrate to him you desire to grow, and that this advert presents you a great opportunity to do that.
Tell him that you would like his support in form of recommendation as may be required. Second, demonstrate to him that you have what it takes to do the job and show him how your competencies and skills match these requirements.
Ask him to be open with you about the areas where you fall short. Ask him for advise on how you can demonstrate to the interview panel that such gaps will not affect your performance if you are appointed. Third, reassure him that you have a great team working alongside you.
Profile key competencies of each and possibly recommend those who may step up to act in his absence.
This is likely to reassure him that all will be well should you get the promotion.
If he is still reluctant to support you and you feel his reasons are not objective, you are most likely to stay in your current role for a little longer, and this may affect your motivation.
In this case, perhaps you could request a move to a different department, whose manger who has an eye for good talent.
Your boss can stagnate or grow your career, be sure you know the kind you are working for.