We’ve spent the better part of 2020 talking and writing about resilience, personal and organisational engagement strategies, and future-proofing your career in an up-ended world. Recently, however, we’ve been drawn to the thought leadership about managing professional growth that I was introduced to more than two decades ago.
I think these eight tenets for personal professional development have held up well, and we're sharing them here, with minimal commentary, to fuel your search for more great days at work:
You have primary responsibility for your job satisfaction and success. Luck may play a role. Managers and colleagues can support you or undermine you. But no one can “make” you engaged. Roll up your sleeves, figure out what’s important to you, and do the hard work.
Your current position offers the best, most immediate opportunities for growth, achievement, and fulfillment at work. Don’t wait for what’s next. Your career is happening now. As your employer pivots in response to the global pandemic, look for ways to be a hero – or at least to add more value. It’s time to dust off your Growth Mindset and put it to work.
Your personal values are the fuel for your growth and leadership. The key word here is fuel. Your values are your motivators, the guideposts you use to make decisions. They contribute to your authenticity as a leader. If you don’t know what’s important to you, it’s time for you to sit on a metaphorical mountain top and figure it out.
Building on strengths is the fastest route to success. Buck Blessing, one of the greats in the workforce transformation space before it was called that, once said: “If you focus only on development needs, you’ll die a very average person.” Be like Buck. Fix career liabilities and use your strengths to become a star!
You can’t do it alone. Constructive, continuous dialogue with your manager makes the difference. You may own your success, but your manager is uniquely positioned to help you connect what you want with what the organisation needs. Managers, alas, aren’t mind readers. Go tell yours what you’re thinking about. Enlist their support. Offer ideas.
Feedback is an essential ingredient of remarkable accomplishments. If you don’t know what to stop, start, or continue doing to get better you won’t be able to change. Ask people for feedback. This gets easier with practice. While you’re at it, give the gift of feedback to help others become more successful!
Nothing happens unless you take action. Action demands a plan and the courage to carry it out. What’s the worst that can happen? Really? Take that first step. And the next. Shift direction if you need to. Keep going.
Your organisation’s success depends on the expertise, thinking, and efforts of engaged individuals like you. As clichéd as it may sound, it is a win-win proposition. Discover and align what matters to you with what the organisation needs. Involve others. Make your work work for you… and for your employer.