Even when you work in an office full of people, self-management involves doing a lot of things independently – resolving your conflicts, figuring out the solutions to your problems and creating your most productive work. Self-management also involves thinking about your future and generating your own professional development plan.
In a traditional office environment, your boss might tell you what skills to develop. In a self-managing environment, the boss might – scratch that – they will rely upon you for the input. That’s where knowing yourself comes into play. You want to be confident in the things you do well and cite specific examples of when you’ve used definite skills.
Also, be prepared to discuss what skills you’d like to develop. It might be something that will help you do your work easier, better or faster. It could also be a skill you would like to acquire for the future.
Once you and your manager agree on that skill or quality you want to develop, think about how you want to go about learning it. We all have preferred methods of learning. Ever heard someone come back from a workshop only to say, “What a waste! I could have learned everything I needed to know by reading the book.” This is why understanding how you like to learn will be very valuable.
Audio learners like to learn by listening. This could be at a lecture or podcast.
Visual learners want to see to gain understanding. Charts, graphs, diagrams, pictures, videos are all visual learning mediums. Visual learners might also like to learn via books.
Kinesthetic learners prefer to have a hands-on learning experience. They enjoy the opportunity to practice the activity, conduct an experiment or maybe even role play.
No style of learning is better or worse. It’s understanding the best style for you that makes the difference. For instance, if you’re a visual learner then the last thing that might interest you is attending a lecture. And, if you did attend the lecture, you might not learn anything.
You might also find that you gravitate toward different learning styles depending upon the subject. An example might be learning how to create a spreadsheet pivot table (by doing it which is kinesthetic) versus learning the history of blogging via a lecture.
Being in tune not only with the subjects you want to learn but your preferred learning style creates greater opportunities for you. It allows you to allocate your resources (time, money, etc.) toward those experiences that will help you learn the most.
The second part of self-managed learning is being able to curate credible information. Emphasis here is on the credible part. First, it’s finding what you need at the moment you need it. For example, I purchased a pomelo at the farmer’s market recently. I had no idea how to peel it. So I went to YouTube and found the perfect video to help me. And, it worked! That’s the key – the video was accurate and easy to follow.
In today’s work environment, it’s important to understand that we as individuals are in control of our professional development. And what better way to drive your career than by establishing your own development plan and on your own terms. The only way we can do that is by understanding how we like to learn and the best way to learn the information.
Our last self-management competency touches all of the previous ones. Yep, it’s focused on change.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby1