As an Empowerment Instructor I work with management teams on personal development in all sectors of the UK – from self-employed business people, to project management and senior health managers in the prison service – each of these having completely different outlooks but their ultimate aims are the same; success in their field.
In the course of their working lives, most people strive to gain as much knowledge on their topics as possible, sometimes urged on by developments within the company which occasionally presents the individual with a quandary; personal scruples against company policy. This makes for unhappy people producing less than optimal results – which probably ends in the employee seeking alternative employment once they’ve gained enough knowledge to move on.
Company aims are always about profit; profit to expand, profit to research, profits to share etc but it doesn’t always result in a personal gain or any sense of value for the employee, especially if they have to choose between their conscience (mental health) and turning a buck for the business.
Company development is driven by the CEO / Exec who makes the decisions and is therefore limited; each having their own agenda guided by profit (and personal issues). This may show up in a variety of ways; personal limitations, less than ethical methods in employment and/ or in dealing with clients and other businesses. Employees may feel that their worth or value in the company is also limited.
Professional Personal Development removes company limitations and encourages the individual to grow at their own pace.
There is however, a way of working with these models to maintain optimal output and a happier environment for people to work within…
Developing the individual so that they may think and make decisions for themselves and the company – which are praised and appraised, reflecting personal values, will make a massive difference!
Team building (bonding) events which promote introspection and communication within the workforce will enable dialogue and understanding between departments, as well as instilling a sense of respect for others and their job.
Enter; Personal Responsibility
This type of training is respectful of all creeds, orientations and positions within the company – but first there must be experiential facilitation presented by someone who is balanced and unafraid to tackle the obstacles (sometimes known as bullshit) which people put up as excuses for problems which occurred or an incomplete/ messy job, to shift the mindset.
A good Personal Development Consultant (usually external) will work with both management and staff to identify and rectify the root problems, taking the entire company to task; separating the wheat from the chaff while boosting confidence and team morale.
Personal development isn’t only about gaining or regaining confidence, it’s about finding balance and doing the ‘right’ thing. It’s also about achieving, remaining authentic in your job and taking responsibility for your actions.
There’s a greater risk to mental health if there is discrepancy between work and personal ethic.
Unfortunately, the profile of personal development has been fairly low; mostly unrecognised in the workplace when in fact it should be given the highest priority – breaking through personal barriers is more important in today’s workplace than ever before – but we rarely equip staff to deal with juggling a life/work balance or stress which comes with the job.
As a person expands their professional awareness, they should also be encouraged to become self-aware, especially regarding their impact on others and the environment while reducing feelings of guilt or shame for perhaps ‘not doing enough’.
People who invest in themselves (i.e those who engage in professional personal development) will more likely have a higher regard for their output and for themselves personally; when we are given things for free or with minimal effort we tend not to value it as much as we would if we’d had to strive to achieve it.
Knowledge is power bringing confidence in our skills when we adopt what we learn.
We might often come across confident individuals but they may not have the skills to support their claims; providing clear professional personal development aims in a business mission statement or manifesto which allows and supports the individual to grow and learn, enables a sense of shared empowerment. It’s no longer two separate entities – we now have a company where the employee feels their ideas, efforts and input are valued. The employee has a greater sense of self-worth and is much more likely to want to stay with the company.
10 Tips on retaining staff;
- Take full responsibility for your decisions.
- Be honest with yourself and with those who work with or around you.
- CEOs and managers should take responsibility for developing themselves; wherever possible WITH staff.
- Get to know your teams – find out what makes them tick.
- Share information which is appropriate to the staff involved in production.
- Create an enabling environment – a space for employees to grow and learn together.
- Encourage flexibility – help staff to balance work and life commitments
- Ask questions regarding future plans for the company, to the staff – enable an open, communicative environment.
- Truly value those you have on board and invest in their potential, they will thank you for it.
- By all means have a reward system in place but remember people will base their opinions on how they are treated on a daily basis; splashing out on lavish dinner parties may be enticing but ask yourself if this is truly reflecting the value you place on your staff. Rest and relaxation are every bit as important as a good night out.