Professional Development Goals for Work

“Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.” ~Bo Bennett~

Gianna had achieved some big milestones over the past year. Instead of coasting on these successes, she wanted to make a plan for building upon them. Many of her friends would make New Year’s resolutions. She didn’t want to wait til New Year’s day to set her goals. When the clock struck midnight, she would have her goals in hand, along with a roadmap of how to reach them.

Gianna asked me to help her work on setting her professional development goals, and this is the plan we came up with.

Prepare to Start Fresh Complete the little projects you may have been procrastinating on. Tidy up your workspace so you feel …
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Six Types of Stakeholders Leaders Need to Influence

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers.” ~Robin S. Sharma~

Jackie had just accepted a promotion and was working to develop a grasp of whom she needed to influence in her organization. She knew that influencing stakeholders, both internal and external, is critical to any leader’s success, and that building strong working relationships strengthens influence. Her mentor helped her to map out the key people she needed to influence at this stage in her career, and this is what they came up with.

Executives Influencing executives helps a leader to build broad support for her projects and ideas and to gain financial backing when necessary. When a leader sells her ideas to …
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Six Ways to Improve Business Communication Skills for Greater Success

“Intelligence, knowledge or experience are important and might get you a job, but strong communication skills are what will get you promoted.” ~Mireille Guiliano~

At a performance review meeting, Sean’s boss told him he needed to improve his communication skills. “You express yourself articulately, and you’re assertive, but you can go further,” his boss told him. His boss went on to describe a range of communication-related skills that would help Sean become a stronger leader, some of which Sean had never thought about developing.

Articles on business communication skills often address the importance of being assertive in the workplace. In some cases, however, they don’t discuss the “hidden” skills that are essential for strong communication, like the ability to view the world from someone else’s point of view. When you’re equipped with a wide array of communication skills, you’ll be poised to succeed …
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Four Advantages of Leveraging a Cross-Functional Team

“Entrepreneurs as ‘soloists’ will be replaced by orchestras playing a stronger, more credible tune.” ~Steve Case~

Tamara felt her department was too isolated from the rest of the organization. As she stepped into a higher-level managerial position, she talked with her mentor about how to change this situation. Her mentor advised her to develop a cross-functional team of people who worked together in close communication.

A cross-functional workforce is composed of people from a variety of departments and levels of hierarchy. If, like Tamara, you manage people from an array of departments—or if you aspire to step into such a position—start leveraging a cross-functional workforce to increase your team’s effectiveness.

Understand the big picture. Building a strong cross-functional network will help you better understand how your organization functions. You’ll learn how to improve workflow processes because you’ll know exactly what should happen during …
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Four Roadblocks to Overcome for Effective Leadership Influence

“Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” ~Colin Powell~

Maura wants to expand her influence in her company, but she’s realizing some major barriers have existed there for years. “Maybe I should just find a new job in a company with a different culture,” she said to a trusted colleague over coffee. “I think you should stick it out,” said her colleague. “In any organization, you’re going to run into challenges to expanding your leadership influence. Effective leaders strive to pinpoint and overcome these challenges, her colleague added. Sometimes they eliminate an issue; other times, they learn to work with it. Here are four roadblocks to overcome for effective leadership influence.

The company needs a shared vision. The vision is where it all begins. If all employees …
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