When you think of professional development, what is it that you imagine?
Do you think of conferences, held in warm, sunny climes… or webinars, watched over a bagged lunch… or droning, mandatory training sessions, conducted by your HR department?
Although all of these are nominal examples of professional development, they really only scratch the surface of what real professional development is all about.
Professional Development is challenging your team to punch above their weight; to tackle work that stretches their current abilities;
Professional Development is holding your team accountable, holding yourself accountable, and leading by example;
Professional Development is fighting for fair compensation for your people, and rewarding good work as you’re able;
Professional Development is firing underperformers and removing toxic influences; and, it’s putting people in situations where there is a pathway to success, and they are given the proper tools to do their work.
Professional Development is mentoring those under your charge, holding them up when they excel, and being honest when they need to do better.
Professional Development is being present, in the moment, and engaged in the work; Being a mentor, a coach, and an honest broker.
Professional Development happens every day, whether you acknowledge it or not. It is not a perk, but a solemn responsibility, to offer a pathway to success for everyone that reports to you; to move up, and perhaps out, of your organization, to bigger and better personal goals.
Professional Development is your job, and the exemplar you present doing your job.
Send your folks to training. Sponsor release time for 20% projects. Set aside budget for conference travel.
But realize – real professional development happens the minute you hit the door, grab your coffee, and start the day.
Go, and be you.