Personal Development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential hence building human capital and facilitating employability. These attributes in turn enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” 

George Bernard Shaw

In the 1990s potential candidates at interviews always asked if an organization has training opportunities for staff, in comparison, millennials often enquire about the personal development opportunities offered.

 It has been my observation that there is a high turnover of employees in an organization that has a high millennial workforce this can be attributed to a lack of interest, low productivity and low morale amongst many of these millennials. Many of these young men and women seem to employ a sense of entitlement in most of their activities.  It is my personal view that to curb this sense of entitlement an organization should incorporate Personal Development opportunities for their staff when planning on training.  This will enable the staff to achieve and organizational and professional goals asper set targets as well as their personal development goals.

This can be achieved by implementing some of the following ideas;

  1. Creating an atmosphere that encourages self-awareness of the staff the impact it has on the team.

There are several self-awareness tools available in the market that the organization can use or recommend to staff. The simplest one is SWOT analysis – most organizations use the SWOT to identify their internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities and risks that may arise. The manager should encourage staff to do a personal SWOT analysis on themselves and share with the supervisors for implementation and improvement.

2. Providing resources related to self-awareness and personal development.

The organization should provide resources of assessment tools if possible, mentors and E-learning courses that the staff can access easily. For the tool, the organization can partly cover the cost. The mentors should be people the staff are comfortable with, these can be internal or external. With the organization, I am with the E-learning library is wide and it is not limited to compliance and work courses there is a lot of training on leadership and team dynamics.

3. Provide flexi-time to staff to enable them to achieve their personal development goals.

The organization should support development programs by providing staff with the flexibility to attend programs if their work schedule is adhered to.  An organization I worked for gave me the opportunity to study and allowed me to leave work an hour early, but I had to make up for hours missed by working half the day on Saturday.

4. Setting organizational goals which touch on personal development.

While setting individual organizational goals managers should include one or two-goal which are related to personal development.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, self-actualization contends that individuals are motivated to fulfil their potential in life. Personal development is a lifetime process. When needs of a certain level are satisfied, higher needs that need fulfilment arise which is the need for an individual to rise through the ranks and climb the corporate ladder.

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.”

Robin Sharma

Some benefits of personal development in an individual’s life include:

  1. Clarity to personal vision– enables to make an individual ascertain where they are and where they want to be in 2-3 years, hence ability to set short- and long-term goals. This enables the individual to become more self-aware and is able to identify the values, belief and pursuit of the intended target in career. For an individual to achieve the desired vision one needs to design his/her life based on who one is. After identifying your individual capability, you can chase your vision and achieve it.
  2. Gives your talents room to shine – A talent is something that an individual excels in and it becomes evident that you are good at something. When one is comfortable and at ease performing a task and without supervision it spurs an individual to get interested in learning more skills. Personal development gives you a sense of direction based on the self-awareness raised and you get to polish you talents and rediscover you hidden talents that have been  suppressed unconsciously due to cultural, social, economic and environmental factors that you been exposed to and expected to adhere to.
  3. Drives motivation and satisfaction – Availability of personal development programs empower employees which spurs growth and motivation and ultimately satisfaction. It has been observed that money is not the only incentive that keeps people on the job, many employees look for companies that enable growth, growth that will ensure improved productivity. Personal development gives you clarity and an improved sense of direction. This makes you more decisive in nature, identify priorities and obstacles in life.
  4. Sense of resilience – Life is not a bed of roses, when tough times hit, you need the skills and attributes to deal with them. Personal development equips you with the confidence, interpersonal capabilities and the patience to handle such situations in a professional manner and with a clear head as you are aware of your strengths and abilities. So, you should not sweat the small stuff and that which is not within your reach.  It enables you to ask for assistance where you are not able to deliver.
  5. Improved suitable network – Personal development gives you the ability to identify relationships that are worth investing in and rejecting those that are negative energy. Personal development makes you question the value of the relationship as you are more focused and determined to get the best out of yourself and from those you are interacting with. This does not mean you will avoid unproductive or negative people, but you will be able to know the amount of time you would like to send with each individual.

Personal development is a continuous process and needs to be integrated into both our lifestyle and work environment. A lot of patience and perseverance is needed for one to achieve the desired change and growth. 

“Personal development is the conscious choice to improve one’s life to become a better person and to grow as an individual.”

Anonymous.

Author,

Mohamed Shariff.

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