A Message from Sally Leslie, Coordinator, Employee Development
With 2018-19 Check-Ins and Evaluations opening, you’ve probably already been working with your employees on their goals for the year ahead. Maybe you’ve even set personal resolutions, like losing 10 pounds or going to the gym three times a week, or even learning another language?
Whatever your goals, however, it’s important to remember that professional and personal development should be much more than a box-checking process. To successfully improve ourselves and improve our teams, we, as supervisors, we need to ask ourselves: How can I ensure both myself and my team are more valuable at the end of the year than we were at the beginning? From there, you should develop goals that can help answer that question.
While some of the investment we make in our goals takes time to show results, following through on those goals is likely to become you and your employees’ long-term competitive advantage.
Developing yourself and your team takes three main forms: learning, connecting and creating.
Helping your employees create their goals starts with identifying the gaps in their current knowledge or experience. Are there areas of their job or field they’re not sufficiently familiar with? If they’ve moved into a new position or department, you may want to encourage the employee to research so they can be more familiar with their new role. As a supervisor, it’s your responsibility to take the time to understand your employees’ needs and goals, and support them in crafting learning goals meaningful for them and your team.
There may be particular skills you want to encourage your employees to hone or interesting trends you see on the horizon that you’d like them to learn more about. Often, you can connect these skills and learnings to their goals and help them chart out the best method to obtaining said skills — whether it’s taking a course through Valencia’s Employee Development schedule, independent reading or listening to podcasts.
You can also develop your team as a whole by connecting goals to people. Encourage your employees to discover who else has influence in their career (besides themselves). Who are the people they listen to most closely and why? Think about ways your employees can start to spend more time with key people (without seeming opportunistic). Perhaps encourage them to serve on a committee, and encourage them to suggest meeting for coffee to talk about the latest developments with folks from around the Valencia in areas they are interested in. These are just two ways in which my supervisor has helped in my development.
Last, one of the most underused forms of professional development is creating. Many people think of professional development as a more passive form of skill building. But, creating content and sharing your insights is a valuable form of professional development. The act of writing (or giving speeches or making podcasts or creating videos) forces you to develop your knowledge into a form that’s comprehensible and engaging to others. That sharpens your own understanding and prompts you to think more deeply about the issues.
Developing your team is a long-term investment that requires not just time and effort, but careful planning. If your employees make their professional resolutions with a clear understanding of how they’ll advance their learning and connect skills and people to goals, they’ll be well ahead by this time next year.