The school busses are on the road and kids are back in school. This is a great time for everyone to give thought to their personal “education” and development. In our ever-changing world, learning doesn’t end when we graduate from high school or college. In order to be successful and stay current, people need to have a “continuous improvement” mindset. Think of it as an investment in yourself that makes you more valuable to your present employer and will help prepare you for a future opportunity.
Maybe you are not sure where to start or what you should focus on first. Start by asking your boss, friends, or family members what they think. You may feel your communication skills are great but if others don’t agree then it’s something you should work on. You may have heard the phrase, “perception is reality” and nowhere is this more true than with our personal development.
Even if people don’t have suggestions for you, everyone can always improve certain skills. A few everyone should think about include:
- PC Skills. No matter what your career choice today, it’s important to keep sharp PC skills. Since technology is constantly changing, this is definitely on-going.
- Leadership. Further developing leadership skills will help you even if you only want to be an “informal leader” within your company. A lot of baby boomers will be retiring and there will be opportunities for new leaders.
- Communication. Great written and oral communication skills can help you set yourself above the competition. Communication is the key to persuading others that you have a great idea and the key to “selling” yourself. It’s also surprising the number of people who need to improve grammar and English skills that we all should have learned years ago. It may not seem important, but people do notice.
- Interpersonal Skills. Being able to successfully deal with all types of people is critical. We all have co-workers and challenging customers we work with daily. The better we are at handling people situations the more successful we will be.
Once you determine what you want to work on, you need to decide how you will accomplish your goal. It really depends on the skill you are working on, but there are usually several ways. Everything from furthering your education with an advanced degree or taking a class or seminar at a technical school. Other ways to meet your goal include work on a project that will give you an opportunity to stretch, join a professional organization, participate in volunteer work, find an expert to talk with, read a book, or do research on the Internet. Regardless of your goal or the tools you use, be sure to take personal responsibility for your professional development. Not only will your present employer benefit from your increased value but you will open doors for yourself in the future.
What are your personal development goals and how do you plan to achieve them?