Are You Having a Hard Time Talking About Your Future with Your Manager?

Question: My manager seems reluctant to have career discussions with me. Every time I ask to meet and talk about my next career step she says she is too busy now and we’ll talk next month. This has been going on for the better part of the year. What can I do?

Alice Waagen: Some managers may have had a bad experience in the past having career discussions. Your manager may be reluctant to meet, thinking that you simple want to ask for a promotion or a salary increase.

If she can’t provide increases or promotions, she may fear a contentious session and wants to avoid arguments and bad feelings. Preparing for the conversation may alleviate some of her reluctance.

Start by creating a simple discussion agenda with two or three general questions for which you seek answers. They may be questions about what she feel is the next step for you to set as a goal or may be around her perceptions of your strengths and developmental areas.

Also, keep the discussion an open, two-way dialogue and express interest in her own career advancement story.

You may need a couple of these meetings to build trust to where you both are comfortable with discussion your future goals.