Focus on Development

Article contributed by Val Harlow

Developing ourselves at work is vital for all employees.  It’s important that we focus on developing our strengths and growing within our current role and maybe even to a future role.  But if we are also a supervisor, manager or leader we also have to develop our team.  It’s the saying “put your oxygen mask on first, then help others” that will make us the most effective when developing our team members.

How do we begin? The first part of the process is to understand ourselves. Great leaders know themselves.  They do this not just from their own perspective but by also getting feedback and insight from others.  They look at developing their strengths through work experiences, relationships in the organization (mentors, coaches, role models) and from formal learning.  They also strive to uncover their blind spots.  This comes from feedback from their direct leader, peers, and partners. 

Great leaders also know how to effectively build relationships in the organization.  They form fruitful partnerships with other leaders, partners, suppliers, customers, vendors etc.  They do this in the spirit and intention of how can I serve you vs what can you do for me.  They also encourage their employees to do the same.  Networking is part of it, but really positive influencing is the measure of success.

The goal of development is not only to help ourselves and our employees to bring out their best and to be their best, but also to have a positive impact on the overall organization. This comes about through higher performing teams, better customer relationships and satisfaction as well as a better bottom line.  The need is great to develop ourselves as leaders but also to develop our employees.  The more we focus on it and put deliberate plans in place, the higher employee engagement and the better results for our organization in the long run.