5 sure ways to navigate from manager to partner (even if there is no clear career path at your firm!)

Are you working towards a clear career path? If so, what are you doing to make sure that you are on your way to becoming the next partner?

Making a Clear Career Path

The career ladder has become somewhat of a career lattice in many firms. This is mainly due to the fast advancements in technology that continue to change the way that we interact and work. For this reason, it is not uncommon for lawyers, accountants, and consultants to be faced with a murky career path within their firm (if there is even one at all!). Increasingly, firms are relying on individual professionals to take a more active role in progressing their careers. So if you want to navigate your way from manager to partner in your firm, here are 5 ways you can do it. 

5 Ways to Navigate from Manager to Partner

Make yourself aware of the possibilities

Career progression is possible. You just have to keep your eyes and ears open so that you can investigate and vet opportunities yourself. In larger firms, this can be quite difficult but any effort you put into this can go a long way. To identify possibilities within your firm, start with some proactive research. Start conversations with leaders, and cultivate a broad network both inside and outside of the firm. This will help you gain visibility into a range of areas and departments.

Seek help and support

Many professionals underestimate the power of asking for help when it comes to career path planning. Yet, contrary to popular belief, approaching your superiors actually showcases your strengths. Partners of your firm will be seeking proactive employees who are willing to engage and learn to better themselves. So don’t be afraid to ask questions to better understand the areas of the firm. You can even ask for their recommendations for development programs or conferences to attend. 

Identify or make your own ideal opportunities

A major mistake to avoid if you want to progress from manager to partner is to wait for it to happen. Instead, be proactive and make your own ideal opportunities that will enable you to move up the ranks. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Can you take on new projects or move to a new role inside the firm to develop these? Stepping out of your comfort zone and making this happen will more often than not result in new relationships, new experiences, new skills, and a wider recognition within the firm that may just help you progress along your own clear career path.

Acquire some influential allies

Last but not least, to form a solid career path planning strategy, you need to be making efforts to cultivate influential allies that will actively help you get to where you want to be. Key relationships such as a mentor board of directors and even a sponsor can help advise you about possibilities while also providing you with the resources you may need. A good ally will advocate for you and steer the right opportunities your way, both of which are incredibly influential when it comes to career progression.

Work on your career action plan

How many times have you heard yourself or someone says in your firm, I must actually create/write/implement my career plan? But then actually never quite get around to it. After all there are always client, partner and team demands on your time. The reality is that the people who DO navigate their own career path normally have a well-thought about career action plan underpinning their every well-timed move. 

Click here to download our free Career Action Plan template and full instructions on how to use it to move your career forward. (email required)

Pave your own clear career path

If you want to progress from manager to partner in your firm but there isn’t a clear career path, don’t be afraid to pave your own. The sooner that you identify the possibilities and make your interests to progress known, the sooner you can start to make your own opportunities and gain the support of influential people who can help you get to where you want to be. 

When you think about it, not having a clear career path in your firm is actually a significant opportunity for you to build a career that is uniquely tailored to your own needs, skills, and interests. All you have to do is proactively shape the future that you want.

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