In today’s fast-paced world, busy executives may find it challenging to justify investing time and money in continuing education, especially when ongoing learning isn’t a requirement for their field. However, I was fortunate enough to understand that learning didn’t end with my college degree. I knew that professional development would benefit my employer, as well as my career, over time. Personal development is important and, given the right approach, ongoing learning can be a painless and fruitful experience.
As company representatives, employees represent the face of an organization. Resultingly, business leaders seek executives who deliver the best possible performance. Ongoing professional development builds not only competence, but excellence, and should be part of your career from start to finish. The following sections highlight 4 flexible career development opportunities for upwardly mobile professionals.
Opportunity 1: Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence, or EI, is the ability to manage, understand and express feelings. Poor emotional health can lead to low self-esteem. 90-percent of high workplace performers possess high EI, while 80-percent of low performers possess low EI. In the workplace, emotional intelligence is vital for the development of most professional relationships. You can grow and develop emotional intelligence over time.
Opportunity 2: Improving Professional Communication
Whether spoken or written, understanding professional communication is essential in the modern workplace and will help you stand out from the crowd. Today’s young professionals use many forms of communication, such as phone calls, email and texting. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to a noisy, digitally-driven work environment. Technology definitely enhances the process of completing daily tasks, but comes with challenges. To build strong relationships, it’s important to remember that you are a personal brand that must be maintained off-line, online and in person.
Opportunity 3: Leadership Development
During my career, I’ve witnessed many different styles of leadership, and noticed that effective leaders that honed and perfected their management style quickly climbed executive ranks. Effective leaders are practical, methodical, adventurous and engaging. As technology evolves, leadership styles, and management structures have changed in tandem. Transformational leaders, for example, have strong vision and believe that shared values are requisite for building professional relationships. As management styles and leadership continue to evolve in an increasingly complex workplace, business leaders must continue to hone their technical competence and soft skills to keep pace with ongoing changes.
Opportunity 4: Finding a Mentor
When I was earning my MBA, I made it my mission to find a mentor outside of the classroom. How? By contacting a number of professors with access to professional networks. It’s important to take advantage of this! Finding a mentor doesn’t have to be complicated. In my case, all I had to do was express my desire to find a mentor to my professors, and they referred me to suitable candidates. When searching for a mentor, find someone who’s already accomplished the goal you’d like to achieve, and learn everything that you can from them – especially from the mistakes that they made early in their career.
Millennials, who will soon make up nearly half of the United States workforce, are one of the most confident generations in history. They’re aware that their age isn’t an impediment for excellence, but there’s still much they can learn from experienced executives. They have much to gain by participating in a mentor-mentee partnership. However, ambitious mentees must know what they’re trying to accomplish before seeking guidance.
By actively pursuing professional development, you can ensure that your skills are always relevant and up-to-date. Awareness of changing trends and directions is important to your role as a leader in your field. The business landscape is evolving faster than any other time in history. It’s vital that you stay well-informed about changes to remain a valued asset to your employer and organization. When it comes to professional development, there is always something else that you can learn. Professional conferences and seminars are a great way to develop new skills and learn about innovations in your field.
In a business environment that’s moving toward globalization at a rapidly increasing pace, professional development has never been more important. The constantly evolving nature of commerce shapes the modern business landscape with exciting opportunities, but also presents challenges. Ongoing education gives professionals the ability to develop current and important skills and eliminate any shortfalls in their abilities. A lifetime commitment to learning will help you remain competitive in the workplace and stay abreast of critical developments and specialized expertise that aids your organization in achieving corporate objectives.
Photo is pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Sarah Daren has been a consultant for startups in multiple industries including health and wellness, wearable technology, nursing, and education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life, including her position as a yoga instructor and raising her two children. When she’s not watching the New York Yankees play, Sarah enjoys practicing yoga and reading a good book on the beach.