Personal Development as a Shift in Focus

It is undeniable that high-quality professional development is necessary to enhance the knowledge and skills of employees for optimal job performance — as well as helping employees to remain current in their respective fields. Professional development opportunities have also been linked to being a motivating factor in recruiting and retaining top talent. But what if there was a missing piece? A way to build greater job satisfaction and purpose?

What if we intensified our efforts on personal development?

Making the shift to increase personal development opportunities would mean more chances for employees to improve self-awareness, cultivate individual talents and potential, and contribute to the realization of their dreams and aspirations — all at a relatively low cost.

It would allow employees to develop aspects of themselves that would be applicable on a greater scale, across many different settings. Here are four ways to consider:

Exploring different work styles

Work styles are the basis of how we organize our work, manage our time, teach and learn, interact with others and communicate. Increasing awareness of our work style not only gives us insight into ourselves but also influences the potential to build stronger teams and minimize conflict. One way to explore this is to gain an understanding of psychological preferences, and how they impact work style. For example, an instrument such as the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) can help to identify and navigate the intricacies of individual work styles and to leverage ways to integrate those styles in the workplace.

Additionally, it is essential to ensure that different ways of working are honored when possible. By being proactive in implementing practices that allow different work styles to shine, an inclusive environment focused on strengths is cultivated, and in turn, people can flourish.

Collaboration for the soul

Building a strong sense of community and fostering meaningful relationships can assist in personal development by providing a sense of camaraderie that is necessary to endure setbacks as well as enhance interpersonal and communication skills. In addition, a spirit of humor and levity at appropriate times can reinforce those relationships, fostering a truly collaborative environment. A community of people who are connected, excited about their work, celebrate each other’s accomplishments and challenge each other have a stronger sense of purpose in doing something truly remarkable. By structuring intentional times to connect and providing the platform for celebrations of all kinds, collaboration becomes an integral part of success.

Zoom in, zoom out

To gain perspective in the day-to-day grind, it is sometimes essential to zoom out and look at the bigger picture. Other times, a closer look may help to see things clearly. When we lose sight of the “why” in our work, it is easy to become distracted by the everyday challenges we encounter. The idea that we are a part of something greater is an important motivating factor. This can be felt by real stories told by the beneficiaries of the work; client stories, satisfied customers, or glowing testimonials. The heart of the matter, matters. Seek out those stories and use them as a centering force.

Tapping into passions

When you tap into an individual’s passions, you become aware of their interests. When you follow their interests, you awaken motivation. Developing skills based on individual interests and strengths, creates an environment that allows employees to do what makes them come alive. This creates an increased sense of purpose, and lays the foundation for an individual’s motivational formula.

As Howard Thurman once said “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Imagine a workforce that has come alive and the far-reaching impact that a shift in focus could reveal.

Nicole Edwards, CPLP® is a speaker and facilitator, dedicated to empowering people to challenge limiting perceptions that stand in the way of personal and professional success. Click here to see her TEDx talk entitled In Your Eyes.