As a leader, you may understand how your focus, drive and an overall outlook on life can inspire your team. On the other end of the spectrum, are you positive you realize how big of an impact your pessimism and lack of focus can have on your team?
When you are focused on personal development, you are taking steps to lead a more productive and fruitful life. You are no longer simply treading water in a managerial or entrepreneurial position. Instead, you are taking steps to improve yourself and to grow in different and exciting ways.
Re-focusing your life on personal development is not always easy to do, and you may be looking for tips to jumpstart the effort. These four tips can get your effort started in the right direction.
Approach Personal Development the Right Way
Some business professionals view business development as a way to reach a new rung in the career ladder but, according to August Turak, “It rarely occurs to anyone in our culture that someone (a Trappist monk for example) might become an artist, entrepreneur, leader, or politician as a means to personal development and not the other way around.”
Personal development helps you to grow as a person rather than to further your career. You should focus your energy on something that you feel passionate about or that you are personally vested in.
When you focus on growing as a person, you may find that your team feels your new energy and sense of purpose. In this way, your quest for personal development can help your business or team indirectly. However, this should not be your primary goal or driving force.
Create a Personal Development Plan
After you have decided what you want to accomplish through personal development efforts, you must create a general plan to achieve those goals. The first step is to write down the goal that you want to accomplish. This could be improving your skills, writing a book, overcoming personality trait weaknesses or accomplishing anything else of significance.
Understand what your personal talents and strengths are, and identify how they could be used strategically to help you achieve your personal development goals.
To create your personal development plan, you need to determine what steps you plan to take to achieve your goal. You also need to create a realistic deadline that gives you ample time to accomplish each step.
A smart idea is to determine which of your contacts could potentially help you to reach your goals. By taking the time to create a plan, you can focus on strategic steps that are necessary to achieve the goal. More than that, a plan can help you to define the first important step that you need to take to get the ball rolling.
Define and Prioritize Your Goals
You may have multiple personal development goals that you want to achieve over the course of the next few months or years. However, as a busy professional, you may have a limited amount of time to devote to personal development each week. A smart idea is to prioritize your goals so that you can begin confidently. These tips can help you to focus your attention on some common areas that many people want to improve on:
- Improve Your Listening Skills: To be an effective listener, you must focus on what is being said verbally as well as through body language. You also must eliminate distractions so that you can focus your full attention on the speaker. Asking open-ended questions may yield more information than closed-ended questions.
- Coaching and Collaboration: To improve in this area, you need to identify the weaknesses of your team, and you need to show your desire to help them approve. Ideally, you will help them to achieve specific goals that they have for themselves. Free up time to focus on coaching by delegating to others.
- Finances: Many business owners and managers struggle to really understand the financial aspect of a business. Educating yourself about money management and cash flow can improve your ability to lead your company forward. List all aspects of finances that you are not comfortable of confident with to begin.
Never Stop Learning
Learning is not something that you accomplish before you move onto another task. Instead, successful professionals constantly strive to improve themselves through education. Remember that there are many books as well as online resources that you can use to improve yourself in different ways in your free time. Even networking can improve your skills substantially. Through education, you can potentially feel more confident in your position, and be a better leader as a result.
Personal development should be a lifelong endeavor. Your focus on personal development should be related to an internal drive or passion rather than a desire to simply advance your career. However, when you do focus your attention on achieving personal goals that are important to you, you may become a better leader and business professional as a result.
About the Author:
Jasmine Williams covers the good and the bad of today’s business and marketing. She was rummaging through her grandma’s clothes before it was cool and she’s usually hunched over a book or dancing in the kitchen, trying hard to maintain rhythm, but delivering some fine cooking (her family says so). Tweet her @JazzyWilliams88