Why Personal Development Is Crucial (With Examples and Tips)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated 10 August 2022 | Published 6 June 2021
Updated 10 August 2022
Published 6 June 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Personal development is a lifelong process. As you meet new people, encounter new situations and study new areas of interest, you cultivate these skills. People who seek growth progress up the corporate ladder. That is why exemplifying such development skills throughout the hiring process can help you position yourself as a front-runner for the job.
In this article, we cover what personal development skills are, why they are important, some examples in the workplace and how to improve these skills in the workplace.
What Are Personal Development Skills?
These skills are a set of characteristics that help you grow personally and professionally. They enhance the quality of your life by providing you with tools to respond effectively to different people and situations. In a work setting, personal development skills help you navigate your environment confidently and maintain solid working relationships.
Personal development are activities people engage in to build human capital, increase their employability and enhance the overall quality of their work. The most sought-after professionals set these goals to achieve beyond what employers expect of them. You, too, can set goals to aid your development journey into a happier, more capable you.
Related: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
Why Is Personal Development Important?
Personal development goals are important because they allow you to create strategic and tactical plans for personal and professional growth. It enhances your quality of life in the following areas:
Vision for the future
Personal development goals give you a clear idea of where and what you want to be in the next few months and years. It gives you a structured action plan to achieve your career aspirations. Recruiters often ask about your five-year plan in interviews to gauge your ambition. Having a well-thought-out answer to this common interview question shows you are clear with your decisions. In return, they have a better mental picture of how they can support you.
It sharpens your existing skill set and helps you identify new talents. Seizing learning opportunities allows you to attain qualifications that can distinguish you from other job candidates. Communicating your personal development skills to a recruiter shows you are self-motivated to better yourself.
Employers want employees to take ownership of their performance because it benefits the productivity of their business. It helps them reduce turnover and build a sense of belonging to the organisation.
When employees receive opportunities for personal development, it motivates them to work harder and gives them a sense of personal fulfilment. It improves your outlook on the overall organisation, including your employer and coworkers. Nowadays, financial reward is not the only factor that keeps people in a job; growth drives loyalty as well.
Examples Of Personal Development Skills For The Workplace
Individuals value different personal development skills depending on their goals, but here are some examples of skills people commonly practice for facilitating personal growth:
Communication includes your ability to write, speak and listen. The workplace is a collaborative environment; therefore, you are required to listen attentively and speak with clarity. Planning and structuring your points in advance can help you become an effective public speaker and writer. Listening carefully to your coworkers' ideas with minimum interruptions ensures you get an accurate account of a situation or problem.
Related: 4 Types of Communication (With Tips)
Also called people skills or social skills, interpersonal skills allow you to build an expansive professional network. Candidates with good interpersonal skills use verbal and nonverbal cues to make a good impression on a recruiter. Understanding these cues can help you steer a conversation in the right direction to maintain and build professional ties.
Organisation skills include the tidiness of your physical and digital workplace and your ability to plan, schedule and priorities your tasks. Organised employees save time, meet deadlines and prevent miscommunication.
Problem-solving is your ability to handle challenging or unexpected situations. It takes many other skills to be an adept problem solver, including coping with stress, managing emotions and making informed decisions. Employees with good problem-solving skills remain calm under pressure to determine the best strategic solution.
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in your own judgement and abilities. Confident people value themselves and approach others with mutual respect. Recruiters find confident job candidates attractive because they are more likely to pursue ambitious goals and are brave in the face of change. These employees are successful because they are persistent and can push companies to record heights.
Adaptability is your ability to take on new opportunities or unexpected changes with an open mind. Adaptable job candidates fit into new roles with ease. They remain positive and resilient despite a challenge. Often these individuals can find solutions where others may find none.
People with integrity are honest and have strong moral principles. Employers respect employees who seek to always do the right thing and tell the truth, regardless of the consequences. Typically, people with integrity thrive in the workplace because they can maintain lasting relationships with colleagues and customers.
If someone describes you as a person with a good work ethic, they are not only referring to your hardworking attitude, but they are also complementing your determination and discipline. Employers can rely on employees with a good work ethic because they are committed to producing quality work.
Leadership is the ability to guide and motivate people with unique skill sets to work together towards a common goal. Leaders set the direction of a company. As role models, they hold themselves responsible for upholding the values of an organisation. Through their character and vision, good leaders can inspire a strong working culture within an organisation.
How To Improve Your Personal Development Skills?
Here are a few activities and techniques to help you improve your these skills:
1. Take a course
Learning something new through a personal development course can enhance your qualifications and give you a unique advantage at work. First, identify areas of study that interest you. For example, you can learn a new language or study a short course in entrepreneurship. Next, browse through courses online that meet your needs. Personal development pushes you to go outside of your comfort zone. Like any new challenge, learning a new skill requires you to be open-minded and patient.
2. Read self-help books
If you are an avid reader, reading a self-help book can expand your knowledge with practical advice and tips. You can read a book at your own pace, which helps you learn at your own pace too. If you find it difficult to stay motivated while learning, self-help books suit your learning style because they break down complex skills into simple, tangible steps. Authors of self-help books usually write in a positive and uplifting tone to encourage you as you learn.
3. Engage in positive self-talk
Personal development skills, such as self-confidence, organisation and adaptability, require you to put in your own effort. Positive self-talk essentially means being kind to yourself. Lifting your spirits with words of encouragement helps you see challenges through. Taking the time to meditate on positive traits also boosts your self-esteem. The technique always keep you on track with your personal development goals.
4. Ask for feedback
Approach a family member, friend or trusted colleague and ask them to give you feedback on a recent project or accomplishment. Being open to constructive criticism helps you figure out new personal development goals, especially those that require your urgent attention. An outside, unbiased opinion helps you stay humble and hungry to improve.
5. Observe others
Watch and learn from the people who inspire you. This could be someone you know, a public figure or a notable figurehead in your industry. Learning about their character can inform you about ways you can develop yours. Identify the qualities you admire in them and try to replicate those in yourself. Examine how they carried themselves through their successes and failures. This can inform you how to respond to similar situations.
6. Get a mentor
A mentor could be a close friend, relative or manager who you admire. Typically, they are required to be someone older than you who can guide you by drawing from their own life experience. A mentor can help you identify ways to build self-development skills. As a close contact, they are also someone you can turn to for advice at any time.
7. Overcome your fears
Fears can prevent you from growing and progressing. If you are afraid of public speaking, for instance, take a class or join a debate club to help you overcome your fear. If you are shy or afraid of risks, doing things outside of your comfort zone can build your confidence. Personal development takes a certain amount of grit, but once you overcome your fears, the process might be rewarding.
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