Guest Blogger: Jennifer R. Deitloff is senior counsel for ConAgra Foods, Inc., where she advises the company on labor, employment and immigration matters. She also co-chairs the Programs subcommittee for ACC’s Employment and Labor Law Committee.
A great boss supports, inspires and pushes those in her department for excellence. A great boss is direct, enthusiastic and imaginative. And finally, a great boss is truly committed to developing the careers of her direct reports.
In a corporate legal department, commitment to career development can take many forms. A boss might encourage the development of existing skills and gaining new skills, or assign projects and committee work to allow for organic exposure to senior leadership. She might provide guidance with navigating the particularities of the corporate structure, leverage her relationships with third parties to help broaden your network, encourage risks, and accept mistakes as experiences from which to learn.
I am fortunate enough to have a great boss. The support and leadership of Megan Belcher, vice president & chief employment counsel at ConAgra Foods, has been a true game-changer for me professionally. Megan encouraged me to take on new assignments and gave me the runway to experience successes and failures. She provided crucial guidance with respect to development of key relationships and made my transition to an in-house role much more rewarding.
Providing meaningful career development opportunities for a direct report takes focused time and effort on a regular basis. Megan makes the development of her direct reports a priority. That is why I nominated her for ACC Docket’s 2012 Top 10 30-Somethings Awards. In part, it is probably also why she won.
Encouraging our leaders to continue their good work — creating collaborative work environments, and growing and developing their direct reports — is important. If you have a great boss who invests in you, show your support. Take the time to thoughtfully recognize your bosses for their time and attention to your professional development.
If your boss is a rising star and has provided transformative guidance to you, the Top 10 30-Somethings contest is one way to help her get the recognition she deserves. Nominations for this year’s contest are now open. To learn more about the contest or nominate your boss visit: www.acc.com/30somethings.