The importance of Personal Development
I have always treated my continual personal development seriously throughout my career.
This blog is going to outline my thoughts on how you should take ownership of your own continuous personal development.
For me I have always had a thirst for knowledge. In the early part of my career it was mainly qualifications that satisfied that thirst. But after that I started to focus more on every element of development.
I have taken personal responsibility for renewing and updating my skills and knowledge over my working life. Personal development should be a lifelong process of nurturing, shaping and improving your skills and knowledge to ensure maximum effectiveness but more importantly employability.
Many employers are increasingly aware of the importance of investing in their staff, and many have structures in place to provide opportunities for training and development of their employees. This is always a good starting point for your personal development, and if you can you should seek to maximise any training and development opportunities your employer might provide.
Personal development does not necessarily imply upward movement; it is more about enabling individuals to improve their performance and reach their full potential at each stage of their career.
Continuous personal development needs some planning if it is to be done well, and it should help you to :
– consider where you are now, where you want to go and how you might get there
– revitalise technical skills that date very quickly
– build up transferable skills, such as self-awareness, ability to learn, adaptability to change, empathy and good time management
– monitor and evaluate your achievements
I have gained a great deal from being a member of The Chartered Management Institute and also being a Chartered Manager through that body. They helped me to think much wider than just formal qualifications for my own CPD.
Informal learning gained through experience in the workplace can also be extremely important, as can self-directed learning. This list from the Chartered Management Institute gives valid CPD activities that can include the following:
- Networking events
- Embarking upon, working towards and completing a qualification
- Training courses, including in-company programmes
- Informal or self-directed learning
- Reading journals, books, research papers etc
- Viewing multimedia resources e.g. videos, e-learning etc
- Coaching and mentoring
- Experiential or “on-the-job” learning
Voluntary and other activities
- Volunteering at branch or national level for CMI or any other professional body
- Organising charitable activities
- Being a school governor
- Relevant learning gained through leisure activities
I would recommend that effective CPD should be multi-faceted, i.e. include a range of different activities that include self-directed study and opportunities to learn from other people in both formal and informal settings.
I have learnt a great deal from being a Chartered Manager, and part of remaining a Chartered Manager is to ensure you log your Continual Professional Development. When you are considering what types of CPD you may need the Institute uses a very simple but effective way of assessing your needs.
It goes through a cycle of Reflection, Planning, Action and Evaluation. I have set these out below in case you want to use it.
Reflection – What are my needs and objectives?
It is always a good idea to set some time aside during which you will not be disturbed to think about your professional skills and knowledge as a manager and leader and how you might develop these further to improve your effectiveness.
Asking yourself the following questions may help this process:
What do you do well and what are you less confident or effective in? Have there been any particular incidents over the last twelve months, from which you can learn, or things you wish you had done differently?
Planning – What am I going to do?
Once you have a good idea of what your needs are and what you might like to achieve it is time to prioritise and schedule your next steps towards achieving these.
- Which things are most urgent for your development, and which are most important? Try to focus on the things that can make the biggest impact.
- How can you best schedule time for development activities in your upcoming work plan?
- Are there some activities which you would like to undertake that have fixed timings, for example training programmes, courses or events you would like to attend?
Action – What have I done?
Once you have completed a specific action make sure that you record the fact. The Institute provides an excellent online facility,
Evaluation – What have I learnt?
There are two key things you should consider when evaluating your CPD activities:
- What have you learnt? (Your learning outcome.) This part is about “I” not “we”. What have “I” learnt?
- How are you going to apply this new learning so that it has an impact at work?
This is what we mean by focussing on the outputs rather than the inputs of CPD. CPD recording that omits this stage is simply a list of things you have done.
If you would like to become a member of The Chartered Management Institute and a Chartered Manager visit their website at http://www.managers.org.uk.
I hope you have found this useful, and if you would like to see more blogs on other topics go to http://www.leadershipthinkingblog.wordpress.com
The Chartered Management Institute at http://www.managers.org.uk