How to Take Charge of Your Development

Updated: October 04, 2010

Planning is key to any important undertaking and requires a focus on the end result in order for it to be effective. A well thought-out development plan ought to include the following:

Self-assessment - Assessing your current interests, skills and capabilities will assist you in making an informed career decision. A complete self assessment can reveal your character traits, interests, values and skills whilst defining your strengths and your weaknesses. Personality assessment tools, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) looks at individual traits, motivational drives, needs, and attitudes. DISC is the four quadrant behavioural model which examines the behaviour of individuals in their environment or within a specific situation. StrengthsFinder is a assessment tool that helps individuals identify their top five talents and contains various strategies for applying and building on your strengths. Self-assessment is the first and most important step in career development planning.

Enhancing self-awareness -exploring individual personalities, beliefs, value systems, natural inclinations and tendencies leads to self-awareness. When we focus attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behaviour to our internal standards and values. Becoming self aware is important in career development because when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we become empowered to capitalise on our strengths and make conscious decisions about areas where we would like to make improvements. By enhancing self-awareness, you are more likely to align your behaviour with your values. Interpersonal skills development can help you recognise and improve your ability to determine appropriate behaviour, cope with undesirable behaviour in relationships with others, share responsibility, absorb stress, deal with uncertainty, configure social interaction and interact more constructively with others.

Expanding emotional intelligence - coupled with self-awareness is the instinctive ability to identify, assess, interpret, manage and control one's own emotions whilst being aware of the impact they have on others. Self-awareness coupled with the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict contributes to a high level of emotional intelligence (or EQ). Individuals who posses high levels of emotional intelligence are able to exploit emotions, regulating them to facilitate thinking, problem solving and relationship management. People with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful than those with lower EQ because their level of self-awareness and self-understanding guides their behaviour towards success in relationships, management and business.

Evaluating / re-evaluating value systems - What you believe is based on the principles and values which guide your daily life and govern your thoughts, words, and actions. Our actions are based on choices formed by our beliefs. Our beliefs are also choices. If you want to know what your true beliefs are, look at the things you do, the way you treat not just yourself and other people, but everything around you. Look at the way you interact or choose not to interact with others. Most importantly, look at what motivates your every thought, word and action. Values form the basis for ethical action and they help with problem- solving. Over time, values become the roots of traditions that determine priorities as you endeavour to create balance in your life.

Setting stretch goals - Goal setting techniques provide short-term motivation and long-term vision for personal development. They help you to organise your time and other resources so that you can clearly focus on your knowledge acquisition and skills development in the context of the other important aspects of your life. By setting Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant and Time-bound goals, you can take pride in the incremental achievement of those goals. As you consider what you want to achieve in your lifetime, make sure that the goals that you set for yourself are ones that you genuinely want to achieve. Setting goals defines progress in a precise and meaningful way, building your self-confidence as you recognise your ability and competence in achieving the goals that you have set. Map4Life provides an effective method to systematically prepare your own, personal Master Action Plan for life. You can use the five-step process to set yourself on course to make quality decisions, plan and achieve goals in order to live a remarkable life.

Building employability - When making learning and development decisions, it is important to remember that your choices must fit into the realities of the current and future world of work. Lifelong learning has become part of everyday life and any robust development plan ought to be based on awareness, reflection, goal-setting and planning within the context of education. Gaining a basic understanding of current and future employment trends allows you to adjust your career preparation and take advantage of emerging opportunities. You can also use trends to your advantage by utilising those aspects of your personality, knowledge, experience and competencies that are most compatible with employment demands. Advances in technology and changing economic conditions are both major determinants of occupational trends, with events like economic restructuring and recessions playing vital roles.

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