Many corporations offer development opportunities for their employees, often called PDPs (Personal Development Plans). Often these plans comprise of a cycle of appraisal and training opportunities. However organisations are generally hierarchical in structure and the further up the ladder you go the more difficult it becomes for opportunities for promotion and development. So to truly develop and especially if a promotion is not forthcoming it is often necessary to change the organisation you work for.
To maintain sustainable personal development it is therefore vital to take ownership and responsibility ofr yourself. Of course it is advantageous to participate in any training that is offered and to remain loyal to an organisation while you are valued and there are opportunities for either developing your skills or promotion.
A significiant key to identifying and taking control of your self-development is getting to know yourself better. Armed with this knowledge you can shape your own future and opportunities. Two effective ways of doing this is to find your True Mirror and utilising a SWOT Analysis as a tool for self-development.
Like some hall of mirrors at the fair some people unwittingly distort their self image, which affects their outlook on life. When this distortion takes place it is usually negative and poor self-image and the ensuing lack of confidence and insecurities can inhibit a person’s self-development. Less common, but equally as damaging, is where somebody has an over-inflated self-impression. This leads to over-confidence and arrogance, which can lead to poor decision making and lead a person into error. A true mirror is a trusted person who can tell a person exactly as it is, both good and bad, by employing candour to provide direction and guide them around any pitfalls or anything else that can be damaging to their self-development.
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis is usually used in preparation for a job interview to better enable a candidate to answer any questions. However, the whole point of SWOT is to perform a self analysis to better equip the person prior to the interview so it therefore logically follows that the same approach can be used to develop a person’s self-awareness as a tool for self-development. To do a reflective approach must be taken, which includes asking a series of questions.
1) What can I do well?
2) What do I enjoy doing?
3) What are my personality strengths?
4) What tools can I use to help my self-development (see for example the free workuno tool)?
1) What can’t I do? Why not? (A lack of training / knowledge / talent)
2) What are my personality weaknesses and how can I mitigate them? (Acknowledge and Accept. The Power of Choice)
If you focus on trying to improve your weaknesses you only end up being average
When it comes to career development there are generally only two ways to progress; either through specialisation or management / leadership. It is therefore essential that you focus only on the things that you do well. Learn to do them better and become the best you can.
Threats break down into two distinct categories. There are threats that present barriers to our progress and threats that raise questions of balance.
– Lack of qualifications
– Lack of experience
– Lack of opportunity
– Toxic Relationships
– Personal Commitments
– Time Pressures
A later article will discuss much of this in greater depth.
Afterword: The Power of Choice
Much of what has been discussed above is a matter of choice and being able to prioritise correctly. Emotional intelligence is frequently a matter of choice, as are career options. Stress and insecurity can be mitigated through choosing not to let them identify who we are. Effective decision making and the primacy of choice are liberating for us, whether determining our personal or professional future.
Ultimately choice defines our self-development as it is for us to take a hold of and not our place of employment although they can facilitate it to a greater or lesser degree.
If you would like to have this or similar training delivered at your place of work please contact us in the first instance through our contact form.