To become a strong leader, use your early career as a launchpad for future professional success.
So you’ve just earned your MBA, and the first few job offers are rolling in!
Although you’re ready to take the world by storm, don’t just rush in. Your early work decisions will play a huge part in shaping your future career.
Drucker suggests you take your time in finding the right job, ideally a position that will give you room to grow and develop as a leader.
It helps to seek out businesses that don’t just create products, but also are known to promote the intellectual and moral growth of employees and future managers.
These tips are especially pertinent for knowledge workers, a concept which first appeared in Drucker’s 1959 book, Landmarks of Tomorrow.
As with scientists, lawyers and business managers, a knowledge worker’s primary skill is her intellectual expertise.
Since most knowledge workers won’t stay with the same company for their entire career, it’s especially important to start thinking early on about what the future will bring. More precisely, knowledge workers should prepare themselves for future leadership positions.
So, if you want to position yourself for a successful managerial career, you need to start by managing yourself. This means figuring out your strengths, weaknesses and unique skills.
To do this, Drucker recommends feedback analysis. Whenever you make a key decision, record what you expect will happen as a result. After a period of time (six months, 12 months and so on), compare the actual results with your preliminary expectations.
If you keep this up for a few years, a pattern should emerge. You’ll get a better sense of your strengths and weaknesses, and also figure out how and where to direct your professional efforts.