I’m always surprised when I see support professionals pass up a chance at advancement. Recently, a very good management opportunity came up where I work. That’s something that rarely occurs, as we generally have a very good retention rate; but as it happens a new team was being formed and it resulted in a new managers position.
There were some that jumped at the chance, and many of those were not surprising to me at all. I knew them well enough to know they wanted to do more, that they were willing to take on additional challenges. What did surprise me was that many qualified staff chose not to apply.
It makes me wonder if their managers made them aware of the opening. It also makes me wonder if their managers encouraged them to apply for the new position. Even though each individual is responsible for their own career, it may take some effort on our part as managers to provide the spark necessary for them to reach for the next level.
Mentoring and coaching are such an important part of our job. The fact is that it can be one of the easiest things that we can do, if we simply open up and talk to our staff and find out what they’d like to do, where they’d like to take their career. If a training budget is available, do more than simply say, “We have training dollars” – help them select a course and then make sure they have the time available to follow through. If there is no training budget, search the internet for free resources such as online videos or web sites offering technical information. Look for MOOCs – Massive Open Online Course – that are offered by major colleges and universities. They are completely free of charge.
Everyone is responsible for their own career, but everyone needs a helping hand once in a while. Be a true leader and offer it.