As a leader whose time and energy is stretched, developing yourself usually ends up last on your list. However, it’s important to stay current in your field of expertise, so you can lead your team or organization forward with the right considerations in mind.
It sounds strange, but is common to observe, that the higher people rise in an organization, the less they seem to focus on their own development. The paradox is that they never needed to develop, stretch, and grow new skills and capabilities more than moving from one level to another – many moves include huge jumps in responsibility, thinking skills, and leadership. So you could say it has never been more important to focus some of your time and energy on your own development.
Try the following three tips to stay on track with your own development.
Review the list below and identify sources within each category, to see how you’re doing. Then, identify some new sources and approaches to stay current.
- Professional Association Memberships
- Development Events (Webcasts, Meetings, Conferences)
- Books, Journals, Articles
- Formal Education (advanced degrees, relevant course work)
One way to build your own development into your every day work is to use that very work, and not a separate event or special time, to develop and improve on areas of need. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
- Have your one or two development goals in front of you during your daily planning time, whether that’s formal or informal. If you’re away from an office a lot, have them accessible on your phone or laptop.
- As you look at each meeting, event, or task, jot down the development area or goal that you can work on while you’re working. For example, if you need to work on sticking to the agenda in a meeting, and tomorrow you’re leading a staff meeting, voila – development opportunity. No training class needed – just the consciousness of what you need to get better at, and the opportunity to practice through your daily work.
- At the end of the day, put a mark by the development areas you were able to work on, and give yourself a “smiley face” if you feel you improved through this practice.
This is a great way to keep growing, since it requires minimal extra time, virtually no budget dollars, and it’s helping, not keeping you from, getting your work done.
Yes, I know, that sounds like more than one tip. Follow these steps and you'll discover how they work together:
- Gather any feedback you have on your performance, including competencies or skills, goals set and whether they were achieved or not.
- Do the same with any assessments you’ve completed, like a 360 survey, or development assessment.
- Make a list of the action areas from each:
• Opportunities to improve - From your review, what competency areas are important to your job, but you fell somewhat short in ratings?
• Strengths - Remember that it’s not always an area of deficiency you want to develop. Sometimes, it makes sense to build on strengths you already have.
- Keep it simple. Prioritize the areas for development, and choose the top one or two to work on during the next year.
a) Make an action plan to address the areas you identified.
b) Set an automatic reminder in your calendar to review the development plan monthly – otherwise, it will sit dormant for a year, and you won’t be making development gains for yourself, or modeling good development behavior for your team.
Use feedback to start your development.
The ThinkWise 360˚ Survey provides a clear picture of strengths and opportunities for improvement and links them directly to learning resources. Your employees will be more engaged in their own development and you'll create an alignment between the organizational strategy and vision and your people.
Click the button below to download a 360˚ Survey sample report to see how easy behavioral skill development can be.
Make sure you look at the 5/5 Focus section - where we provide links to 10 Quick Tips learning resources.
Jump start your employee development today!