Don’t Just Rely on Your Boss to Build Your Career

Don’t Just Rely on Your Boss to Build Your Career

You know who’s gonna give you everything? Yourself.

Diane Von Furstenberg

Don’t restrict your career growth to your boss or even the company you work for. If you do, you are restricting your career to their limitations, not yours. It may not even be the same boss next year.

Here are five core strategies I used to build a successful career under five different bosses.

1. Create a Personal Brand

According to David McNally and Karl Speak, your brand is a perception or emotion, maintained by somebody other than you, that describes the total experience of having a relationship with you.

For you to be successful, you have to stand out from the crowd by building your personal brand. The easiest way to do this is to identify a niche set of people in your company and use your key strengths to provide value to them.

For example, one of my key strengths is establishing and building relationships. When I started my career at Credit Suisse, I focused on building relationships and providing as much value as I could to a particular set of business clients that my department delivered solutions to. Over time, I became their go-to person. A trusted partner.

2. Create a Strong Network

If you build a strong internal and external network, it can provide you with the support and opportunities you need to excel in your career. It can also help you when things are not going well.

How does anybody know who you are and what you can bring to the party unless you get yourself out there? Build relationships with people inside and outside of your organisation with the intent to be curious. Learn about them, the problems they are having, offer your help and keep in contact. It will pay off believe me.


  • Whose desk can you walk over to today and find out some information about this person?
  • Who can you ask for a coffee to find out what their team does?
  • What internal networking events can you go to?
  • What regional initiatives can you get involved in?
  • What else?


  • What ex-colleagues can you connect with to find out what they are doing?
  • Who can you connect with on LinkedIn and start building a relationship with?
  • What meetups can you attend?
  • What conferences can you attend or talk at?
  • What else?

3. Focus on Your Team

Your team will make or break your career for you so treat them as importantly as you treat your clients.

Invest your time with them, build a personal relationship with them, coach them, mentor them, remove blockers for them, protect them, promote their work, take them on the journey with you and make them proud to work for you.

4. Invest in Your Own Continuous Improvement

The market is continually changing and it’s up to you and not the just the company to invest in your professional development. This will ensure you stay current and bridge the gap of where you want to be.

I have not got the time, the energy, the money or the motivation are excuses I hear all the time from those whose careers are stagnating. Are you willing to put your role at risk of deployment or even redundancy?

Of course not, you want to be successful and to do that you have to invest time in developing yourself. If you invest just one focused hour a day, you will be amazed at the results over a week, let alone a year.

5. Seek Help and Guidance from Others

Don’t do it all on your own, get help from people who have done it before. Why make the same mistakes they did?

  • Read, watch videos, attend courses, etc.
  • Build a strong peer support network
  • Build a network of mentors
  • Invest in your own coach