Powerful ways to get ahead at work

Stephen Waddington

27 February 2019

In honor of Employee Appreciation Day, check out these leadership and development tips.

Take responsibility for your own personal development
Personal development starts with you. You can get support from your employer and professional association, but no one can take responsibility for your learning and development apart from you. It’s like diet and exercise.

Setting personal goals that match learning and training activities is a good way to ensure that your skills remain relevant I track my continuous professional development via my professional association.

Recording your learning is a way to ensure that you develop your skills. It’s also a good discipline, and, if aligned with a competency framework, it highlights development opportunities.

Benchmark your skills against industry competency frameworks
Seniority or years on the job is the typical measure of competence, but not all experience is equal, and when media and technology are changing so quickly, it’s can be a faulty metric.

Professional competency frameworks set out the skills you need at each stage of your career. They should serve as the foundation for learning and development.

In more mature professions, such as finance and law, competency is linked directly to earnings. In other sectors, such as marketing, it’s a continuous work in progress.

Respect your craft and become an expert practitioner
It’s ironic that, in professional development, the higher you climb the management ladder, the further you’re removed from your craft.

For example, the natural order of things is for proofreaders to become editors, designers become studio managers, and photographers become producers.

It’s important to stay connected to your craft and keep your skills fresh as technology develops. It’s also a good management tactic to be able to roll up your sleeves, dive into the trenches, and get involved in delivering a project.

Embrace technology and future-proof your skills
The pace of change in the media, marketing, and public relations fields is frenzied. You need to have a positive attitude about learning and development if you don’t want to fall behind.

How do you equip yourself with the skills for a future you can barely imagine? It’s a question that’s challenging organizations around the world.

Pick a topic to explore and master each year. In the recent past, I’ve explored artificial intelligence, bots, and voice marketing.

Make learning and development part of your routine
The classroom approach to learning has been radically disrupted by technology. The Internet has broken the notion of learning as a classroom activity. 

The classroom format undoubtedly still has its place, but now you’re more likely to find learning resources via blogs, communities, podcasts, and videos.

The most powerful learning tool I have is the community of people I’ve developed around my blog and people I’m connected to on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Whatever stage your career is at and however you learn, be enthusiastic about developing your skills. I guarantee it will make a difference.