What does it take to ensure a successful career? Can this only be achieved through a good degree or an excellent reference?
Long gone are the days when brand names were all that mattered. The modern corporate environment has become highly competitive and this competition leaves corporate perpetually asking for more.
So then what is the key to make sure your career graph does not stagnate over time?
The answer is continuous learning and development. The businesses and trends are dynamic and keep shifting; hence one needs to introspect to find out what can be improved further.
The journey to improving yourself begins with the self-realization– understanding what are key strengths and weaknesses. Individuals often fail to find their own weaknesses; hence it is advisable to look for a third party view. A good place to start will be with your immediate supervisor, colleagues, and subordinates.
Try to look at this as a focus group. One can implement a 360-degree feedback mechanism asking questions about leadership style, working style, personality traits, and attitude. This will provide a detailed outlook on how others perceive you while highlighting what you do well and what you don’t.
Once you receive the feedback from your focus group, sort it in different categories:
- Strengths: What you do best and should be continued.
- Overdoing: What you do good but overdo. Tone these attributes down.
- Under-appreciation: Skills which others think you have but are hidden to your own eyes. Try to build on these.
- Weakness: What you don’t do well. Effort should be to minimize these and eventually eliminate
- Venture: Talents and skills that you need to explore.
- Blind spots: Attributes which you think are great but others are not in agreement.
This sort of categorization will make you realize a lot of aspects of your own personality. By bringing about change in these categories you will be able to increase your effectiveness as a leader.
Once the feedback is sanitized, move towards prioritizing the categories. Rome was not built in a day and similarly improving oneself is also not a day’s task. On the basis of your job requirements or future job, aspirations find out what aspects align perfectly and start working on improving them.
For eg. If you want to move toward a managerial role, take training in team leading and delegation of work. In this fashion, you will be able to understand what is important to you in the short term as well as in the long term.
Certain skills cannot be acquired on the job simply because the training might be time consuming or hectic. For such processes find time outside of work. To move from a junior level position to a managerial position, it might be beneficial to have an MBA degree and one does not necessarily need to quit their job to pursue this.
Distance learning programs, night schools, and weekend schools can be helpful. Certification programs are another important example. A lot of these can be pursued in after-hours such as CFA, FRM, etc.
Beyond your strengths lie your weaknesses. It is important to take care of your weak spots. It may not be always possible to completely eliminate your weaknesses however the constant effort should be to minimize them.
One way to do this is through job restructuring in such a way that the ask of the job itself eliminates using your weaknesses.
As the current or future employees, we need to realize the importance of constant learning and development.Similar job profiles and applications often saturates the market. So the need of the hour is to do everything to stand out.
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