November is National Career Development Month in the UK, a perfect opportunity to focus on the professional growth and development of employees. Within the leadership development domain (our specialty), it is true that some people possess innate leadership qualities. That said, natural ability itself is not usually enough so it is essential for leaders to continuously learn and develop their skills in order to adapt to the changing demands of their environment.
This professional growth can come in many forms, including assessments, coaching and 360 feedback. It is through such approaches that leaders can hone their existing competencies and acquire new ones, ultimately leading to individual success and the growth of their team. Understanding leadership is key; our proprietary Primary Colours® leadership model defines the tasks leaders must perform in order to create the conditions for sustained success. It allows us to measure and develop what leaders do and how they do it at individual, team and organisational levels. By mapping the three domains in which leaders work – the strategic, operational and interpersonal domains – it provides a simple, memorable and actionable description of WHAT leaders need to do.
We know that leadership significantly impacts employee performance, productivity and satisfaction so a commitment to personal and professional growth (to ‘sharpen the saw’, as Dr Stephen Covey put it) is a hallmark of true leadership, and it is an essential aspect of creating a culture of continuous improvement and excellence in the workplace.
The benefits of self-development
National Career Development Month serves as a timely reminder of the importance of professional growth and development for employees, particularly those at leadership level.
A chance for employees to audit their professional journey to date, identify their strengths and weaknesses, and set development goals. Through self-assessment, employees can identify areas where they want to seek feedback from colleagues, identify new professional development opportunities, and improve leadership skills.
Fostering reflection and learning
An opportunity for employees to step back from the day-to-day challenges of their role to gain a broader perspective on their development. By using practices such as journaling, employees can identify patterns of the highs and lows, successes and failures that underpin their progress, and reveal the need for further development of core skills such as communication, teamwork, decision-making and conflict management.
Prompting career exploration
An opportunity for employees to explore leadership career paths by encouraging them to speak with leaders in their organisation to learn more about leadership roles, responsibilities and challenges, and gain insights into what it takes to succeed in the roles. By exploring career paths, employees can better understand how and why they can develop leadership skills.
Encouraging collaboration and networking
National Career Development Month is an excellent time for employees to build networks with colleagues, mentors, and coaches who can help them develop leadership skills. Encourage employees to seek help, exchange ideas, and share experiences with others as they develop and grow in their roles. Promoting a culture of mentorship will help employees achieve their personal and professional goals.
Stimulating job crafting
An opportunity for employees to review their current role and challenges, identify those which most interest them and those which they find less appealing, and seek opportunities to rebalance their roles to improve the fit with their interests. Job crafting is one of the powerful ways to boost employee engagement, satisfaction and retention, and helps improve productivity and progression.
Boosting motivation and retention
When employees feel that their organisation values their growth and development, they are more likely to stay and grow within the company. Moreover, they will be more motivated to contribute positively to the organisation’s success and actively seek new challenges and opportunities.
As we mark National Career Development Month, it’s important to recognise the significant role that professional development and success play in the personal growth and satisfaction of our people. Business leaders need to show employees that they value their career paths and are committed to supporting their growth every step of the way. Investing in our people not only benefits the individual but leads to strengthened teams and increased organisational success.
We are business psychologists with decades of experience helping leaders to thrive. To find out more about the ways we support leaders, get in touch to speak to a member of our team.