Your personalized career path from CareerBuilder’s Chief People Officer

CareerBuilder Chief People Officer Michelle Armer shared insights about common workplace questions at a recent 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.

Here is some of the advice Michelle shared for building your career on your own terms with your unique point of view.

What characteristic helps someone build their career? What torpedoes a career?
First, to be successful, you must bring your authentic self to work every day. You are unique, and you were hired and placed into positions because of what you bring, so embrace it!

Second, if you’re overly focused on short-term career development goals, you may feel pressure to make poor or unethical decisions to reach that one goal first, rather than considering what will be best for your future. Think about your career in the long-term to help you make decisions.

How do you figure out what you want to do with your life?
A big mistake is being afraid to take the time to be vulnerable and admit that you like what someone else is doing. If you see someone else doing work that you admire, think about how you can evolve to get there and be in a similar position. Take into consideration their journey, and understand that if you want that role or to do that work, it doesn’t happen immediately. I would even suggest asking that person about the steps they took in their career and what advice they might have for you.

If you feel your career is stalled, what do you do?
To some extent, stalling is natural. It often happens right before a big change or promotion comes. 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.

The other side of that is for employers, managers and bosses, and I would say to them to be proactive about nurturing careers. This is also an opportunity to be deliberate about increasing diversity at various levels within your organization. What’s exciting about today’s workplace is that in some way, we are all saying we can do better than what’s happened in the past.

How can you help the careers of people around you?
Be an authentic supporter of others. 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.

How do you keep an open feedback loop?
Assume managers have the best intentions and are there to support you.

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.

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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