Recently, I was advising someone who was frustrated about the lack of investment her company was making in her development. She was unhappy at the limited training they offered and the lack of support they had given her in finding a mentor. Although I could empathise with her frustration about the feeling that her development had stalled, I could not support the assumption that it was her company that was responsible for providing her with the solution.
However, this is a pretty common perspective. Research by EdAssist found that more than 70% of employees believe it is their employer’s responsibility to provide training and identify career paths. Conversely, 85% of managers believe it is employees’ responsibility. This is a fundamental disconnect that ultimately affects the individual’s development.
Personal development is exactly that. It is unique to you and should be owned by you. It doesn’t mean your organisation can’t help, but it does mean that you should be in the driving seat of what that support looks like. The downsides of not taking ownership are significant.
First, your development may stall as you wait for solutions to come to you. Or, you may be given training that doesn’t fit your personal development needs. It may be a great programme that your organisation has bought into and it might help you generally, but it won’t necessarily help you to be your best. And being at your best is what it’s all about.
This is the sweet spot where you’re delivering the most value for your organisation while at the same time feeling positive about the work you’re doing and the impact you’re having. Being at your best is foundational to a happy career.
Clearly, though, it’s not that easy or we’d all be perfectly happy and feeling like we’re in control of our development – and I’d hazard a guess that is not the case for several of you reading this.
There are a number of things that hold us back from taking the lead in our career development, such as having the insight about what development we really need, developing the confidence to ask for it and identifying creative solutions for training and development (and the funds to pay for them). I’ll tackle each of these in turn to give you some practical ideas to take forward.
What development do you need?
Given the pace of change we’re all working with, the knowledge we have today is not going to be sufficient…