The foundation of personal and professional development is gaining new skills and experiences that can help you to make progress in your life and work. The two are heavily intertwined - if you’re keen to develop professionally then you might have to start with a time investment in personal growth first. This is about the self-awareness to understand what you want from life, and from your career, and tackling the things that might be holding you back, such as anxiety and fear.
Tips for managing personal and professional development
Set goals. That could be to be able to manage more people, bigger budgets or to achieve a higher profile within your organisation. If you’re clear on your objectives then you’ll be able to find the training, courses or experiences that are going to help you to achieve them.
Make sure you have a plan. Ongoing learning has a huge range of benefits for anyone, from boosting confidence to opening up new career paths. It is well worth creating an annual plan that integrates your goals and focuses on the development that you’re looking to achieve within the next 12 months. When you’re structuring your plan try to focus on completing one significant piece of training and development at least every three months.
Be selective about the opportunities that you come across. Are they aligned with the goals that you’ve set and are they going to be a good use of your time? Not every opportunity for learning and development is going to be a good fit with where you’re trying to go. That’s why it’s so important to be selective about how you dedicate the time (and resources) that you have available. Don’t be afraid to say no if you have a sense that the training or course just isn’t going to be a constructive use of your time.
Involve your manager. When it comes to professional development at least it’s highly likely that the person signing off on the courses that you go on is going to be your manager. So, it makes sense to involve them in your thinking about development, where you’re hoping to get to over the course of the year and what your objectives are. They might have ideas and contacts that you could use and will also need to be on board with the general direction you’re taking.
Give yourself time to review your progress. If you’re setting goals then make sure you’re also tracking your progress and that you’ve set aside time to review how you’re doing on a regular basis. Reflecting on learning and development is an important part of ensuring that you get something from it - and also that you’re still heading in the right direction in terms of overall goals, objectives and planning.
Personal and professional development is vital if you want to have a satisfying, fulfilling and varied career. These are some of the ways that you can stay on top of ongoing learning and make it a habit for life. Find out more by booking onto our Personal Development for Professionals training course...