Learn how to take charge of your own learning, how to sell your company on investing in you, and how to invest in yourself, even when your company won't pay for it.
- When you're leading yourself, even if you have a great boss, it's important to take ownership of your development. So, not only does this serve you well in terms of your knowledge base, but it also demonstrates to senior leadership that you value personal growth, and that increases your value to your organization. Taking charge of your own learning means finding opportunities to grow in areas that interest you. Now, this might take the form of continuing education, a seminar, or a book.
When you're trying to get organizational buy-in for your development, you need to make your case. If you're making a request for your firm to invest money in you, there are three things that you need to cover. The first: specificity. If you want to be a better leader or you want to improve your technical skills, you need to lay out a clear development plan with the content and the actions. If you just go into your boss and say, "Oh, I want more learning and development opportunities," you may as well just scream that into an abyss.
When you're making the case to your boss or HR, present them with something specific. Something clear. Make it easy for them to say yes to you. Do your homework, and know exactly what you want before you ask. Now, the second thing you need to demonstrate is value. When you ask for specific opportunities, emphasize how they will make you more valuable to the organization. What's going to be the result of you going to this seminar? What kind of ROI should the organization expect from the investment? The third area you want to make sure you cover is emotions.
Yes, your boss and HR, they need to know that the investment is going to deliver a monetary ROI, but they also want to see that you are excited and that you really care about this. So you can show your enthusiasm about growing your skills or improving your leadership, no matter what kind of opportunity you're seeking. So when you're discussing this, there's something really simple that you can do. Smile. It makes it easy for people to say yes. Tell them why this matters to you.
Organizations want passionate people, and so even if the people upstairs don't say yes this time, it still leaves you in good standing. But what if, after making your fabulous case, your company still can't, or isn't willing to, invest in your development the way that you hoped for. Well, keep in mind, some organizations have policies or regulations that don't allow them that much flexibility in learning and development. But all hope is not lost.
You can still take charge of your own development for little or no cost. Now, I want you to think about what are the goals you want to accomplish, or the areas you want to shore up? And then through that lens, here are a couple of ideas that can help you get there. The first is online learning. You're already here, so either you or your company is investing in your development via online. Now, this is a leadership course, but there are tons of other courses out there that are technical or more role-specific subjects.
Make use of them. A second area is books. Yes, actual books. They're affordable and they will take your knowledge to the next level. I can promise you, as the author of five books, the authors spend months, sometimes years, pulling together the best content, and then they organize it in a way that's going to be most helpful to you, the reader. Now if reading isn't your style, check out Audible, 'cause there's books you can play during your commute or your exercising time.
A third way to invest in yourself and your development is networking. Learn from the people around you. Organizations like Meetup offer tons of free events for professionals to meet and to learn from each other. So, even if the people you meet aren't in your exact industry, it'll help you have a well-rounded knowledge and that's going to make you more valuable and teach you how to look at things in a different light. The main thing you need to remember, and know this to be true, developing yourself does not come from a place of weakness.
Developing yourself is a sign of your strength.
- Managing your mindset
- Assessing your leadership needs
- Motivating yourself
- Leading yourself in tough times
- Managing your behavior
- Setting goals
- Giving yourself an honest performance review
- Managing your boss
- Peer to peer leadership