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Why developing yourself is even more important now than ever
‘Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere’ – Chinese Proverb
Everything you know you have learned.
Everything you can do you have learned (apart from a few basic reflexes that you were born with).
Everything you believe you have learned – your attitudes, perceptions and values.
You are built to learn! It is a vital process for your survival and continued growth.
So what are the reasons behind the importance of developing yourself?
- Change – is happening faster – learning keeps you ahead of the game
- Employability – jobs for life have now long gone
- Appreciate (not depreciate) in value as an asset to your organisation
- Promotability – preparing yourself up front for your next role
- Learning to learn – is one of the most valuable skills you’ll ever gain, it will never become obsolete!
Maslow (1970) suggests that all individuals have an in-built need for personal development which occurs through a process called self-actualisation.
The extent to which people are able to develop depends on certain needs being met and these needs form a hierarchy. Only when one level of need is satisfied can a higher one be developed. As change occurs throughout life, however, the level of need motivating someone’s behaviour at any one time will also change.
- At the bottom of the hierarchy are the basic physiological needs for food, drink and sleep. I.e. the basics for survival
- Second are the needs for safety and security in both the physical and economic sense
- Thirdly, progression can be made to satisfying the need for love and belonging
- The fourth level refers to meeting the need for self-esteem and self-worth. This is the level most closely related to ‘self-empowerment’
- The fifth level relates to the need to understand. This level includes more abstract ideas such as curiosity and the search for meaning or purpose and a deeper understanding
- The sixth relates to aesthetic needs of beauty, symmetry and order
- Finally, at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy is the need for self-actualisation.
Maslow (1970) says that all individuals have the need to see themselves as competent and autonomous, also that every person has limitless room for growth.
Self-actualisation refers to the desire that everybody has ‘to become everything that they are capable of becoming’. In other words, it refers to self-fulfilment and the need to reach full potential as a unique human being.
For Maslow, the path to self-actualisation involves being in touch with your feelings, experiencing life fully and with total concentration.
Applied to the workplace, you are literally surrounded by development opportunities. Don’t miss out on something great!
But where can you find these opportunities? Why not try some of these:
Coach or Train Someone A great way to reinforce & refine your own skills & techniques
Delegation Ask your boss to delegate new tasks and responsibilities
Feedback Regularly ask for feedback from others. What do they think you do well or could improve? What could you do more/less of?
Find a Mentor Seek out a senior manager to guide and supportively challenge you
Go Online Learn how to search properly to discover loads of information
Job Shadowing Work alongside someone who gets results and inspires you
Networking Develop your contacts across your own and other organisations
Professional Institutes Check out your professional body and membership activities
Reading Check out a good book shop or visit your local library
Secondments Put yourself forward for new challenges and responsibilities
Trade Shows, Exhibitions Attend these events and keep up to date with your industry
Voluntary Work A great chance to work with new people in new surroundings
‘You learn something every day if you pay attention’ – Ray LeBlond