Have you ever wondered where you stand in your career journey? Chances are, you’ve already gone through some of the stages of career growth and have moved into a different stage. To help understand your current situation, this blog post explores the six stages of career growth: follower, collaborator, instructor, manager, influencer, and leader.
Whether you are just starting out or have years of experience under your belt, it’s important to understand where you stand in the stages of career growth. Equipped with this knowledge, you will be able to make more informed decisions about how best to move forward and develop yourself professionally. Each stage presents its own set of challenges and opportunities that can help you reach success - so why not take advantage? Through continuous learning, development, and self-examination, you can become a leader in your field.
What are the 6 stages of career growth?
Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry, believes that career growth follows a 6-stage chart. Different people are destined to progress through the stages at different speeds, but it’s important to be aware of where you are in your career path so that you can take steps to maximize your potential. Ideally, over time you will take on more responsibilities and work on interesting projects that will help propel you to where you want to be. The 6 stages are listed below:
Stage 1: Follower
At this stage, you're likely just starting out in your career and still learning the ropes. You focus on understanding industry standards, best practices, and any other information necessary to build a strong foundation for yourself. As a follower, you need to have patience and be open to learning from those around you who have more experience in order to develop your technical skills.
Stage 2: Collaborator
At the collaborator stage, you'll being to work closely with others. This means shifting from just consuming information to actively participating in conversations. You may find yourself taking on more responsibility, and collaborating with peers on your team. You are ready to start contributing more value to the workplace.
Stage 3: Instructor
At this stage, you're focused on sharing knowledge and teaching others so they can grow too. At the instructor level, you are a mentor and advisor to those around you - both internally and externally. You'll have an expansive network of contacts that are looking up to you for professional guidance. The key here is to focus on developing your skills so you can help others do the same.
Related: Level-Up Your Career Fast
Stage 4: Manager
At the manager stage, it's time to put all of your knowledge into practice by managing teams or departments within the company. At the manager level, you need to be able to balance multiple tasks, prioritize projects for maximum efficiency, and motivate your team to achieve results. You will need to motivate direct reports and learn how to delegate tasks and set expectations.
Stage 5: Influencer
This stage is a transition away from directly managing a team to influencing people. At this stage of career growth, you have a unique opportunity to shape the direction of the department or perhaps the organisation. In fact, you can grow to become an influencer in your field by demonstrating thought leadership through public speaking, writing articles or books on relevant topics, and advising on critical decisions that impact the company's future.
Influence is a key leadership skill, and those who have mastered it can make significant contributions to the success of their organisation.
Stage 6: Leader
Lastly the leader stage. At this level in your career, you're no longer just influencing - you are becoming a leader who is capable of making strategic decisions and long-term plans with confidence. You may be heading up entire departments or managing large teams of people while inspiring others to achieve greatness.
Where are you now in your career development journey?
If you've been in the same career for many years, it's likely that you have grown through at least three of these stages. Where are you now? What stage are you currently in and what will be your goal for the next level? Knowing where you stand can help guide your actions and decisions as you move forward in your career. Follow this roadmap to success and enjoy the journey!
Gary Burnison's advice is to seek out jobs and opportunities that will help you develop and demonstrate capabilities, particularly in four key areas:
Having a growth mindset
Dealing with ambiguity
Working at a faster pace
Leadership is not a destination, but rather a process - one that requires self-awareness, perseverance, and dedication. Now is the time to take charge of your own career growth and make sure it’s going in the right direction. With these six stages of career growth as a guide, you can develop the skills and knowledge necessary to reach your goals and take your career to the next level.
By taking the time to reflect and assess your current stage, you can set yourself up for success in the years ahead. Let us know in the comments what stage you are in right now and what you plan to do next to reach the next level.
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