Article by Paul Slezak

I have been mentoring Mark for a little over two years now. We typically get together every two or three months for a ‘reality check-up’, as I like to call it.

When we met up towards the end of last year, Mark had just had his annual review. During his appraisal, Mark’s manager had told him that she had identified him as someone she could see moving into a more senior sales and marketing role, since she felt he had shown some real potential over the previous six months.

“So how are things tracking for that new role?”, I asked Mark when we caught up for our first mentoring session for 2013.

“I’m still really keen on it. And of course I’d love the role”, he said. “I’m just not sure when Fiona’s going to get back to me about it”.

This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to hear.

How often have you had a manager mention to you (either in passing or in a formal setting) a potential new role within the business? Perhaps a professional development opportunity he or she could see might really benefit you? Or maybe just the chance for you to take on additional responsibility?

To be honest, sometimes they might just be thinking out loud. But at other times they might be waiting to see your reaction.

Nearly three months ago, Mark’s manager had mentioned this new (more senior) position that he was really keen on… and yet he had done absolutely nothing about it.

“You can’t just sit back and wait for things to happen,” I said as encouragingly as I could. “You have to take the driver’s seat”.

Whilst it certainly isn’t too late for Mark to follow up with Fiona, there’s always the chance she will have either assumed that he doesn’t actually want the role, or that perhaps he may still feel he isn’t quite ready to take on the additional responsibility.

We put an immediate action plan in place.

Mark would:

Call a meeting with Fiona as quickly as possible;

Present a case as to why he feels he is ready for the more senior role;

Ask Fiona what sort of timing she had in mind for the transition; and

Suggest some milestones and deliverables that he would have to achieve in order to make the new role take shape as quickly as possible.

I certainly didn’t want to be sitting with Mark in May or June still wondering “what if …”.

If your manager plants a seed, you need to take the opportunity and run with it. It’s not like you’re asking for a promotion out of the blue, or suggesting an unrealistic career path that could never come to fruition. Managers want to see their top performers excel, develop, and advance through the organisation.

Don’t sit quietly and wait to be told what the path ahead looks like.

If your manager ever discusses an opportunity with you, which is in line with where you see your career going, you need to make it happen.

Paul Slezak has an extensive background in recruitment and advertising both locally and internationally. He is the founder of 2 dots (www.2dots.com.au) – a boutique business that facilitates career or business change for individuals, teams and organisations. Paul is also the co-author of 21 things to do to get a new job NOW!



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