How can you get the personal development you need if your organisation can’t or won’t support it?
I often find that people’s aspirations and the speed at which they want to develop are at odds with their organisations plans and timescales. They feel held back and dissatisfied. Not a good recipe for keeping motivated and engaged!
I like to think about my personal development plan as just that, mine. It is my responsibility to keep my eye on it, my responsibility to find my own opportunities and is definitely my responsibility to make it happen. I certainly wouldn’t let the lack of opportunity with my current employer be a reason to make me shirk that responsibility.
Here are five ways to take control of your development regardless of the support you obtain from your employer. Who knows when you might be able to use those skills in the workplace and how much more successful your results will be – your employer will certainly notice that!
There is no shortage of opportunities to be a school governor – your child does not have to go to the school concerned, in fact you don’t even need to have a child. You will gain, or at least get a chance to practice many skills including meeting skills, communication skills and decision making skills. You will find out about recruitment practises and be called upon to give your opinion and inform the decision makers on a wide range of issues. It will broaden your horizons and test your resilience (some of the issues are quite challenging to say the least).
This is a brilliant organisation and whilst there is fee to join, it is nominal. There are many, many groups around the world, which means there is bound to be one close to where you live or work. On the face of it Toastmasters is a structured way to help you learn how to make speeches, but in practise it is so much more than that. For each meeting there are a number of roles, a key one is being an evaluator – you get the chance to evaluate someone else’s speech. What a fantastic way to learn how to give really good feedback. They also have ‘table topics’, which means you do not know what you have to speak about until you get on the stage. This teaches you how to respond in the moment, which is a great skill to have, not only in life generally, but in meetings and in high pressure conversations, perhaps with a manager or client. You also get the opportunity to learn how to deliver impressive speeches. Your skills and confidence will grow exponentially.
Often these organisations looking for additional volunteers to help run the groups. Apart from the joy of working with young people, you will learn many practical skills, including planning and organising. There’s also the added bonus that you can travel the world (my niece seems to go everywhere with the guides!). In fact it is not just the Scouts or Guides, all of the Forces seem to have youth sections, and so do many religious groups. There is almost certainly one out there to suit you.
If you have something specific in mind that you want to develop, the DO IT (Follow on Twitter) website is a great place to start. Simply enter your location, the skills you have to share and the type of opportunity you are looking for and you will be provided with a list of what is available to you. It is brilliant. Of course, if you want to expand your horizons further then GVI (Follow on Twitter) offers over 150 different volunteer abroad projects in 25 countries all over the world.
If you have not heard of them, then it is like signing up to the regular forces, but you do it in your spare time. Be warned though, in times of need, you could be drafted. The level of development you would get here would be second to none, in as many different professions as you could possibly imagine. Google them and be amazed at the opportunities on offer.
Volunteering is a perfect win-win. You will learn new skills, gain confidence and the organisation will benefit from your help and assistance.
Stephanie Morgan FLPI, Director of Learning Solutions, Bray Leino Learning
Sharing ideas and observations to help improve performance.
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