3. How to help your boss keep you motivated and in their organisation.

Someone on top of a mountain

Debbie Pye is our Application Adviser and has written this excellent series of three blogs looking at the viewpoints of business leaders hiring graduates and placement students. The last part in the series will be published next Tuesday. You can find the first two blog entries here.

So far in this mini-series of blogs about the issues my executive coaching clients ask for help with, we have looked at the value to you of asking for feedback and of helping your manager to delegate more effectively. Here we are going to address what you can do to ensure your boss keeps you enthusiastic and motivated in your role without (or ideally in addition to!) paying you a higher salary.

Very often I come across corporate clients who highly value individuals within their team and would hate to lose them to another employer. Perhaps they have got wind of the fact that the person is job-hunting, or the employee has asked for a promotion which simply isn’t (currently) possible. Or maybe the company is a newish start-up and has a flat hierarchy so the traditional career ladder simply isn’t an option.

And there you are…all settled in your role. But… Perhaps it wasn’t a graduate role but it really spoke to you as something that would lead onto great opportunities down the line? Maybe it’s a part time job to fund your studies which you now realise has become quite a passion? Or perhaps it was a formal graduate scheme that you’ve now outgrown? Maybe you’re feeling frustrated in your placement year that you’re not being developed as had been promised? Or perhaps you have seen peers in other teams being given exciting new projects whereas your responsibilities haven’t change much for months?

There’s such a temptation in these situations to make assumptions that new and motivating challenges simply aren’t available in this role/organisation…and a knee jerk reaction to this is to start job hunting all over again, hit the jobs boards and dust off your CV.

Stop right there! Ask yourself:

  • Does your manager know how you are feeling?
  • Do they know what you would like to try next?
  • Are they aware of your aspirations and broader career objectives?
  • Do they know what really motivates you about working in that organisation?

Your manager is – probably - not a mind reader. They are busy people – they welcome solutions not problems. They really don’t want the hassle and expense of recruiting, inducting and developing someone new. Plus they would hate to see you go…

So what’s the answer…and a win-win at that?

  1. Book a 1-1 meeting (unless you have them regularly…which most good managers should be doing anyway!)
  2. Explain in advance that you would like to explore development opportunities
  3. Research in advance the sorts of projects emerging around the place that you would love to get involved in
  4. Get clear before the meeting what sorts of skills/competencies you would like to develop next

This is what you say at the meeting:

“ I’ve really enjoyed my role so far, I feel I have developed well in XYZ. The reason I wanted to join this business is because ABC.  I understand that there is a new project in Team A and would love to explore any opportunities there might be coming up to get involved. I believe I have 123 to offer and the project would enable me to try out XXX and learn about YYY. ..”

Your boss should be delighted; you have put their mind at rest that you aren’t planning to leave, you have told them chapter and verse about your development goals and how they can be achieved. It also demonstrates a whole load of commendable personal attributes: proactivity, networking, self-awareness and ambition.

Job done!


The Careers Service wants to give a big thanks to Debbie for  this excellent blog series.

Posted in: Advice, Career Development, Tips & Hints


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