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Moving on Up: Advancing Your Government Career

We’re all looking to advance our skills, get better at our current job and move up the leadership ladder, but how do you actually do it? Moderated by Steve Ressler, Founder and CEO of Govloop, our online training featured two career coaches who answered your questions.

  • Adam Smith, Principal at ASC, LLC
  • Beth Flores, Founder at Groove Leadership Lab

Below we’ve highlighted some of the tips shared in the online session but be sure to listen to the on-demand session here.

Govloop’s 8 Quick Career Tips:

  • Be awesome at your job
  • Set a vision of where you want to go
  • Think holistically about your work/life
  • Build a network/join organizations
  • Raise your hand and volunteer
  • Find a mentor/coach
  • Develop your technical skills
  • Go where there are growth opportunities

Adam Smith’s Personal Mastery:

“Take charge of your development,” said Smith. “You can continually expand your ability to create the results in life you truly seek.”

Personal Mastery Model:

Your Vision (What I want)

Your Reality (What I have)

Your Creative Tension (What’s in between)

Your Action Plans (Practices)

Managing Up

Smith also suggests a method of ‘managing up’ involving engagement with superiors as opposed to those working beneath you.

Compatible work styles: each boss processes information differently weather they’re a listener, preferring to be briefed in person, or a reader, preferring to have messages written.

Shared expectations: don’t passively assume you know what your boss expects. Communicate your expectations to make sure they’re realistic.

Information flow: keep them informed with the good and bad through the process that fits their style. Be straightforward with the good and the bad.

Dependability and honesty: selectively draw on your time and resources as well as your superior’s. Only make promises you can keep.

Beth Flores and The Story of Your Life

1 Proactively invest in your own personal evolution as a leader

You can’t always count on honing your skills while at work, commit and make time on your own to fine tune your skills

2 Draw a learning map: move in the direction of expanded learning

“I couldn’t be specific about what future job I wanted,” said Flores, “but I knew what skills I wanted to develop. I was in the DOD and put a circle around my learning map to better understand what it means to be in the military.

3 Create something new

“Avoid the ‘This is how we’ve always done it’ trap. You don’t have to be revolutionary, but you should always ask questions.

4 Stay connected to what is going on across the government and outside of it

“You can be the person who integrates new ways of thinking to your job.”

5 Develop mentors and be one to others

Frequently, the mentor learns just as much as the mentee. Teaching material you already know will strengthen your understanding even more.


How long should you be at an agency before looking at other positions?

“Anything under a year in a role is considered less than a success,” said Smith. “If you’re taking charge of your own development you can surely monitor the landscape and meet more people. Make sure not to burn any bridges.”

What should I do if I’m not particularly passionate about my organization’s work?

“You want to get closer to the center of your motivation as possible,” said Flores. “There’s nothing wrong at any stage of your career to ask others about their work.”

How should I go about learning new things and developing new skills?

“Take advantage of institutional knowledge wherever you are. Create your own personal study throughout your experiences. Self improve everyday,” said Smith.

How do you break into the workplace’s ‘boy’s club’ as a woman?

“Every situation has unique circumstances. The simple answer is to be excellent. At the end of the day, talent is recognized,” said Flores.

Should every move you make be a promotion?

“I had many lateral moves between jobs but went up because I wanted to see the decision making process,” said Flores. I made purposeful moves in order to take me to a new place and learn something new. Know your opportunities not just on a vertical plane but also all around you.”

View Online Training Here

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