Professional Development – Why it Matters

How to be among the top 30% of leaders

Do you remember the first time you participated in a leadership development program? I do. When I was in my first leadership role at work, in my early 20’s, I attended an incredible event called the Saturday Development Seminar for Women. As an inexperienced manager, wanting to be successful in my career, eager to impress my employer and co-workers, and to do a great job managing my team, I knew I need to develop my skills, so I invested my own time and money into attending this full day training session.

The fact that I still remember the event and the impact it had speaks not only to the quality of the speakers and their facilitation skills, and the overall philosophy of those who designed and developed the training. The topics were relevant and resonated with my needs, and the interactive exercises stretched and challenged us. But more than that, I remember how great it was to be in a room full of inspiring women who were serious about advancing in their careers. We had each made the commitment to spend time – on a weekend – developing ourselves, to become better, more confident, more empowered leaders. We were all investing in ourselves at a time when equality in the workplace, while talked about, was largely just given lip-service.

The focus of the event, as I recall, was on overcoming barriers – first, by identifying them and then by strategizing. Instead of giving in to negativity and fear, we learned to find positive, self-affirming solutions in order to thrive and grow in our careers, despite those barriers.

Since then, I’ve participated in many more professional development programs, courses and seminars – some provided by my employer, at those times in my career when I was an employee, but more so, on my own initiative. And I’ve noticed something – the courses, seminars, and training programs that I have chosen to take, paid for by myself, on my own time, have been far more impactful and transformational than any that have been provided for me. Like many other adults, I’m a very self-directed learner and therefore the learning that I’ve chosen for myself, and committed to 100%, is the best learning for me.

A case in point – last week I travelled across the country to take part in a 3-day professional mastery and assessment certification program – with CRG International in Abbotsford BC – that’s given me the tools to help others transform their lives through some unique in-depth leadership development. This was perfect for me because it aligns with my vision for the work I do through my business, and builds on my existing skills and values. I met some incredibly inspiring people too – passionate and talented leaders from diverse fields. It was a valuable investment in myself and my clients will reap the benefits. And I’m sure I’ll reflect back on this training in years to come as being thoroughly impactful and empowering, just like that Saturday Development Seminar that I took many years ago.

When it comes to leadership development, managers often put a great deal of effort into developing their team members, and can find this to be an incredibly rewarding part of their role. However, when it comes to developing themselves there is sometimes a blind spot. It’s hard to find the time, and sometimes the training budget is restrictive. Many industries don’t put resources into training upcoming leaders, or into growing the skill sets of their existing management teams. This shows up in the disengagement that many in the workforce feel – with one study stating that 70% of people feel that their manager lacks leadership competence.

The best managers and leaders tend to be those who recognize that they need to take control of their own development. They see their work as a vocation and are willing to invest in themselves to continue learning and growing. This can take many forms – in-person workshops, formal certifications, online programs, and working with a leadership coach. The benefits are many: increased self-awareness, the confidence to seek out new challenges and opportunities, a wider range of leadership tools, styles and approaches to use in challenging situations, a broader network of colleagues to draw on for support – and greater resilience for future career growth in a changing job market.

Do you want to be one of the 30% of leaders who are seen as competent? Are you looking to grow as a leader? If you haven’t invested in your own development in the past year you are overdue for a tune-up! If you’re interested in finding out about the leadership coaching and training that I offer, I invite you to contact me today to book a strategy session.