Your career development is your responsibility and you should use every opportunity to obtain feedback from your manager.

He/she has valuable insight into your career as you produce work for him/ her on an ongoing basis. This makes this feedback priceless.

Hereunder are 10 top career questions that you should ask your boss which can help your career development.

What are my strengths?

Your manager’s viewpoint of your strengths is critical to understand. As human beings we often overlook and underestimate our strengths.

Receiving credible feedback on things that you do well can help boost your confidence. It can also open your eyes to understand where you excel so that you can further refine and enhance these areas.

What are my weaknesses?

We all have weaknesses and self-awareness is the first step in overcoming them. A manager can provide valid insight into your weaknesses with illustrated examples with scenarios on the job.

He/she may be able to provide insight how you handle a matter and how you could have dealt with it more effectively. Be willing to listen and document so that you can develop strategies to overcoming your weaknesses.

What areas of my role require the greatest improvement over the next 90 days?

Your manager could point out areas in the role that you are currently performing where you can do better. He/she can provide recommendations that can help you improve your efficiency, productivity and time management.

Providing a 90 days timeline helps the manager to answer the question with the immediate needs to the operations in mind.

What skills do you recommend that I develop to be a great fit for (state job title) role?

As an active part of your development, you should be considering roles within the organisations that you could grow into.

Review these potential roles with your manager. He/she will be able to make an informed recommendation on skills that you need to enhance.

Also, in organisations it is important to speak up and let persons know your interest. 

Promotions are first known by higher level managers and your manager may be able to recommend you as a potential candidate if he/she is aware of your goals.

What plans do you foresee for upcoming trainings in the organisations that I can leverage?

Human resources in organisations tend to maintain a training plan for the business.  Some organisations have their own online learning and development portal where you can access in-house training.

Be sure to review with your manager trainings that he/she believes is mandatory to your development.

Ultimately, you are also responsible for your own professional growth and development. So make recommendations to your manager on trainings that you may benefit from. It may be that human resources may present these in the future and your manager may recall that you were interested in this area.

Suggest job rotations and job shadows that you believe will make you more knowledgeable about the operations.

What are the roles within the business that I can be promoted to within the next 6 to 12 months?

Get your manager’s perspective on roles that he/she believes that you may be a good fit. These roles could be areas of the operations that you may not have previously considered for your own growth.

The time period of 6 to 12 months is also important to add into your question as this will immediately force your manager to think of this with a timeline.

He/she may respond, not yet. I think in 2 years and provide an explanation as to why this time period has been suggested.  You can use this information to access the skills that you need to work on.

What growth areas do you anticipate that the business will pursue within the next 6 months to 12 months?

It is essential to understand the future plans of your employer.  This is significant especially if you are thinking about exploring other career opportunities.

If you are working within a company where growth is projected, this may result in growth in your own career.

If the company is stagnant and new business ventures are not on the horizon, this may be an indicator that you should evaluate potential opportunities outside of the business.

Therefore, having an understanding on the direction of the company could impact your career decisions.

 Would these new growth areas have any implications on my targets and key performance matrix?

If new growth areas are projected, it’s valuable to find out if these new ventures will impact your job in anyway.

Will the new venture increase your workload? Can this venture impact your targets and other key performance matrix?

Will your team change as a result of the business changes? These can help you in making informed career decisions and have a general understanding into the direction of your role.

Are there any areas within the business that I can mentor other colleagues?

Getting the opportunity to mentor colleagues is another way that you can grow and develop professionally.

The ability to explain a concept thoroughly to someone who can implement same is in my view the ultimate sign of mastery.

Therefore embrace opportunities to train new recruits and colleagues. Mentor-mentee relationships are usually symbiotic thus you will gain further insight into your skillsets from a fresh pair of eyes.

What soft skills do you recommend that I need to improve on to elevate my career?

According to Wikipedia, soft skills are a combination of skills such as social skills and personality skills that enable one to navigate their environments, work well with others, perform well and hence achieve their goals with their hard skills.

We all have our shortcomings and areas that we can improve. Understanding soft skills that you can enhance such as listening skills or communication skills can cause you to elevate to a higher level within your career.

If you found this article useful, you may also gain valuable insight from other career development posts on this blog. Feel free to click any of the following links below to explore:-

14 Top Career Development Goals

The 5 Stages of Career Development and How To Succeed In Each Stage

10 Top Career Development Questions To Ask Yourself

Final Thoughts

Your performance review meeting is the perfect occasion to ask these career development questions to your manager. Some companies have these quarterly or every six months.

These meetings are usually planned, individually focused and is the ideal atmosphere to discuss your career in-depth. Remember your manager works with you daily. His/her perspective on your career performance should be highly valued.

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10 Top Career Development Questions To Ask Your Manager

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