Can Your Bosses Career Growth Impact Your Own?

 In Career Tips

Can Your Bosses Career Growth Impact Your Own?Many people think of their career growth in a number of ways but rarely are much thought given to the role your own boss’s career growth has on your own.  When it comes to the boss we mostly think of whether or not they are good or bad and how to best adapt to their style.  Other people do recognize that a good manager can truly help your career through training, development and coaching but tend to not think much beyond that.

Yes, the career of your boss can have an effect on your own.  For the serious career strategist, there are things for you to understand and account for.  Let’s look at those conditions:

  •  If your boss is a rock star, they can do nothing wrong.  Everything they say is golden, including their opinion of you.  If you two work together well, you can count on this situation having a halo effect on you.  Your star can rise with theirs.  Of course, if the rock star thinks you’re pond scum, you better get out of their orbit or suffer the consequences.
  • If your boss is a rock star, they are doing something right.  Pay attention to everything they do.  You want to learn at their feet everything from how and when they communicate to their ability to build and influence their network.
  • If your boss seems to be stalled out you need to pay equal attention to that situation.  It could be that there was a change of guard at the top and what your boss has to offer the new upper is completely neutral at this point.  It may be tricky to figure out what the issue is.  Sometimes they simply have reached the upper level of where they will ever go.  A stalled out boss could mean you wait a very long time to get their job, if at all.  A stalled out boss may not be the worst situation for you but you do need to do your best to understand the situation.  If the upper management is fine with this perpetual state of neutrality or fails to deal with performance problems, it’s likely to be the case across the board.  It may mean fewer opportunities for you in the long run.  You may need to leave if your career milestones are overdue.
  • If your boss is out of favor with the upper management, you have a problem.  You may have multiple problems, depending on the dynamics.  Any career support for you from this person may be met with skepticism or doubt.  If you haven’t formed any direct communication or relationship with anyone at the upper level his or her opinion of you may be tainted.  As well, if your down-on-their-luck boss is panicking because they fear being fired, they may be making poor decisions.  People who are in a panic mode rarely pull out of it before a major move happens.  Possible actions you can take are to start a campaign of deliberate contact with the uppers so they can form their opinions of you independently.  You may need to transfer to another group or even leave.  When a big tree falls, it usually breaks things on the way down and you need to put some distance between you and that person.  Sounds disloyal but only you will be the one that truly takes care of your career.

As career success goes, you still have to think about your performance and taking things on at the next level.  You will find that organizational dynamics, including your boss, can play a role in how you continuously plan your next move.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook:  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from and



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