Your personalized career path - Advice from CareerBuilder’s Chief People Officer
Your personalized career path - Advice from CareerBuilder’s Chief People Officer

Posted on 23 March 2020

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On 18 February 2020, CareerBuilder Chief People Officer Michelle Armer shared insights about common workplace questions at a panel for CNBC employees. She shared the stage with Amy Elisa Jackson from Glassdoor, Rachel Thomas from Lean In and moderator Suzy Welch – a business journalist and best-selling author.

For her full answers, read the CareerBuilder article.

Her answers covered four broad points as outlined below:

1. Be authentic

“First, to be successful, you must bring your authentic self to work every day,” said Michelle. “You are unique, and you were hired and placed into positions because of what you bring, so embrace it!”

Michelle emphasised the importance of being genuine at the office, without putting on a “face” for others. By being your “authentic self”, you will gain the trust and dependence of others, and they will feel more inclined to help you when you have difficulties at work.

2. Accept stalling, and take micro-steps

Michelle also emphasised that stalling in your career is natural to a certain extent, and the importance of accepting it. “To some extent, stalling is natural,” she explained. “It often happens right before a big change or promotion comes.” 

Hence, she advised employees who feel they are stalling to take “micro-steps” to continue learning. “From an employee standpoint, it’s important to take micro-steps to continue growing and learning over time. These are opportunities to start learning and taking on leadership, and be careful to not lead only by how you’ve been led.

“When you’re looking to grow, find ways to do it that are genuine to your personality, your skill sets and your interests.”

3. Be an authentic supporter of others 

Not just being an authentic self, it is equally important to support others in a genuine manner, Michelle highlighted.

She also gave suggestions on how to do it. “Tell people openly that you admire something they did, or are doing, and recognize their efforts. While it’s always fantastic to advocate for and promote your coworkers to others, don’t solely rely on that approach. Pay a direct compliment to that person to help build their confidence.”

We often fear that our compliments come off as “fake” or “trying too hard”. But it’s important to continue anyway, and if done with a genuine heart, colleagues and stakeholders will also respond.

4. Keep an open feedback loop

Lastly, Michelle strongly advocated an open feedback loop in companies, when executives and managers feel free to interact and raise issues, even difficult ones.

“Assume managers have the best intentions and are there to support you,” she advised.

“If you are an employee and want to bring up an issue, start with the positives first. Talk about what you like best and areas you’re succeeding before moving into areas for improvement or what you’re dissatisfied with in your role.”

For managers, she brought up the value of persistence in being open to dialogue. “If you’re a manager and are looking for an employee to share what they want to change, keep asking.

“People won’t open up on your first question, so warm them up with a few questions first and keep probing until you can get the answer you need.”

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