Career Development Are you wondering what’s next for your career?  I always love it when I get e-mails from our blog community about the challenges they are facing. The e-mail I got recently inspired me to write a blog post on the topic. Jane (not her real name), is someone who wants to really grow her leadership. However, she is not getting development or coaching from her boss. She feels disengaged and stuck. Here is her e-mail and my coaching on five steps to create a great development plan.

Stuck (and Disengaged)

“Dear Henna,
I want to thank you for the valuable information that I have been receiving from your website. The information has touched my heart and is a great tool for personal advancement.  By nature, I tend to be a leader. However, since I changed my career focus I have not been able to excel into a management level. I am looking to overcome some of my own personal challenges.  Removing ‘the plank from my own eye’ before I can advance forward.

Currently, my supervisor informs me I am not in charge of anything and should just concentrate on my current duties. In doing so, I am extremely bored and find myself with a lot of time on my hands.  I continue to request more responsibility but I am frequently declined.  It has been a long while since I have been under the direction of a mentor (supervisor) that has interest to mentor my development. I am pleased to have found this website to assist with my interpersonal skills and leadership development.

Best. Jane”

Five Steps To Own Your Development Plan

I can completely empathize with Jane’s lack of engagement.  One of the key drivers of engagement according to Gallup is the opportunity we have to learn and grow, and work with people who care about our development. Yet, in our fast-paced organizations, only the most committed leaders make the time to grow their people. What to do?  Own your development.

Leaders start by leading themselves first. They get clear about who they are, what they want, who they need to influence to get that, and move purposefully toward action and learning.  Our growth and development is first and foremost our own accountability. Here are the five steps.

1) Start by getting self-aware  Answer the following questions for yourself. They are intended to help you know yourself and what matters to YOU.  We often pursue goals and career paths that we’re conditioned to believe will help us feel successful. What I have found in making my own career change is that true success and fulfillment comes from when we are true to who we are uniquely.

  • What are my strengths?
  • What kind of work most energizes me?
  • What is my personal leadership brand?
  • What’s the impact I’m inspired to make with my leadership?
  • What are potential derailers that can stand in the way of achieving my goals?

Here are some tools and resources to get you started.  Working with an executive coach is another way to learn about yourself so you can move purposefully toward defining what you want and achieving goals that are important to you.

2) Get feedback from key stakeholders Talk with people who know you well including your boss, peers, direct reports, and others to find out what they perceive as your strengths and opportunities for development.  Many times we have blind spots that prevent us from seeing ourselves clearly.

3) Map out your objectives Get clear about where you want to go next.  Answer for yourself:

  • What roles did you have greatest success and fun in?
  • What does that tell you about the common characteristics of roles where you thrive? (e.g. roles with a high degree of challenge, or roles where you’re constantly learning, or roles where you have the opportunity to teach others, etc).
  • What’s next for you?

4)  Create a Development Plan A great development plan address the following questions:

  • What are my strengths and leadership purpose?
  • What are the kinds of roles where I thrive?
  • What new experiences am I looking for to challenge and grow me?
  • What are roles that would give me those experiences?
  • What do I need to develop and gain exposure to in order to prepare myself for these roles?

5)  Leverage your network  Once you have created your development plan, get feedback from your boss, mentors, others in your network.  Share your excitement for the role you have identified and why it’s exciting to you. Ask for their help to get you there. When we are truly inspired about the opportunities in front of us, we inspire others to help us.

Be sure to refresh your development plan every year to reflect the growth and development in who you are.

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Henna Inam - Professional Photo - ColorThis article was written by Henna Inam, CEO of Transformational Leadership Inc.  Her company works with organizations to help women realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. Her clients drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Novartis, J&J, and others who know female leadership talent is good for business. To accelerate your own growth connect with her here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.