In the course of our coaching & consulting practice we often work with startups & fast-growing organizations who frequently hire younger individuals. For some of these young new-hires it’s their first “real job” or the first time they’ve actually thought about the prospects of a professional career.
A few days ago I actually had an early morning coffee-chat with one of these bright, young people who sought me out for counsel. He had a great attitude, was eager to work, but also had some concerns & great questions: “…how do I increase my value and grow?…how do I gain experience & responsibility?…how long should I expect to be in this role before being promoted?…”
Here are some principles I shared to encourage, challenge, and guide him in his thinking and next steps:
Patience, Endurance & Performance–your job is a marathon, not a dash (often unlike an academic environment they might be used to). Settle into a sustainable pace of being an excellent performer where you’re planted. Nothing replaces the consistency of being the best at what you’re responsible for. Let your work speak for itself.
Grow Horizontally–increase your span of experience by looking for areas adjacent to your core role (above) where you can add value. Look for “train-wrecks” to fix. Volunteer to take on responsibility. This broadens your base of value and marketability. Keep in mind that you’ll have to “do more” before you’ll be “given more” (pay-raise, titles, promotion, etc.).
Learn How to Grow Others–this is a real sign of maturity, and often counter-intuitive to an ambitious starter who tends to want to focus on ways to differentiate themselves. While it’s fundamental to be excellent at your job (back to #1), having the ability to work with others and make them excellent (…dare I say, better than yourself) is a sign of an emerging leader with real potential.
Stay Positive & Constructive–many young people enter the job with high expectations & rose-colored glasses, but are often disappointed by the daily grind, interpersonal issues, or job-related challenges. Rather than resent constraints, change your mindset and embrace them. See problems as “fun to fix.” It’s the bread and butter of what real leaders do (a shock to many) and a unique opportunity to add value.
While I’ve found these principles useful in counseling the “next generation,” I’ve also found them valuable & timeless reminders for myself.
So, what about you? Can you think of someone you could encourage with these points? Or maybe one of them particularly resonates in your situation?
Photo credit: www.pexels.com