Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your job had a personal, unique development plan that gave you a step by step guide on how to grow and develop yourself and your career? I’m sure that it’s out there, but it extremely rare to find this in the workplace. Kornferry recently conducted a survey with managers that ranked over 60 leadership skills. Development came dead last. 

Hope is not lost though. You can greatly influence your own personal and professional development. 

Mentoring

A great mentor can be a game changer in your personal development. They can give you a neutral view of the personal and professional challenges that you face and can provide you with a perspective that you haven’t thought of yet. A good mentor will also have your best interest in heart, so they will likely challenge your thought process, encourage you to try new things and help you grow in areas that you didn’t realize needed growth.

Advocate for your development

It can benefit you to ask your boss, HR or senior leader about personal development opportunities. While they may not have a personalized development program, they may have funds available so that individuals can attend a conference, go to school or purchase books. Conferences and certification organizations will often have a section on their website where you can print off material to show your leader the value that the company would receive from the conference/certification.  

I would suggest starting small and advocating for any larger items as you begin to budget for the next year. If you are in the interviewing phase, you can ask about this option, just wait until you get deeper into the process first. 

Become an expert in an area of increasing importance in the company. 

As you see your department or organization shift in priority, get ahead of the change and learn what you can about the initiative. Do research on what others are doing in the same space and learn from them. Educate yourself so that you can begin to speak with authority as the changes are discussed. This will help your professional worth grow as your leaders seek your input. 

Following this strategy helped me immensely in my career growth. becoming the expert in the new area caused me to have new business relationships, more influence and I grew my own knowledge along the way.  Enjoy the attention that you will get in this process and be willing to let it go and grow in a new area when the time comes. 

Get feedback

Another free way to start your own development is to ask for feedback from your peers, mentor and upline leadership. You will need to prove to the other person that you can freely take the feedback without defensiveness so that you can get an honest answer. Use other’s assessments to improve in your own knowledge and skill set. 

You own your development.  Take control of your growth and grow your career and personal relationships. 

Make a better tomorrow. 
-ZH