What are the Key Areas of Professional Development?

Asking what and what are the key areas of professional development is a proof of strong interest and undiluted expression of readiness for growth, particular on personal end. More often than not, it is the curiosity that bears the fruit. The fruit,  by extension, is the evidence of commitment, consistency, and diligence.

Professional development, also known as professional education, is a kind of learning that leads to or emphasizes education in a specific professional career field or builds practical job applicable skills. It is used to earn or maintain professional credentials such as professional certifications or academic degrees through formal coursework at institutions known as professional schools, or attending conferences and informal learning opportunities to strengthen or gain new skills.

So, the question, what are the key areas of professional development, is a step to improvement and as such, a sign of professional serious which is embedded in the positive concern for progress and massive transformation in terms of occupational recognition.

Key Areas of Professional Development

Below are some of the areas you as a professional should concentrate on in order to attain ultimate development in your chosen field:

  • Written Communication

It’s true that technology has made communicating with others faster and easier. So much so that we tend to rely on it for everything. That technology, though, can’t make your employees’ writing better. Sure, it can help catch small spelling and grammar mistakes, but it can’t improve the quality and clarity of their words.

If your business relies on written communication, consider creating an internal style book for your employees to use when they’re composing. Make that style guide available to everyone (perhaps in the employee handbook) and encourage your team members to refer to it whenever possible.

  • Interpersonal Communication

It doesn’t matter if you manage a restaurant, a coffee shop, or a call center, you and everyone else who works there can all stand to improve interpersonal communication.

Even if it’s just between team members, being clear and direct in what you say (without offending) will improve the way you work like few other suggestions on this list.

  • Cooperation

Unless your employees work by themselves, they’re going to have to cooperate with others at some point. And for your employees to operate at their full potential and overcome the obstacles in their paths, they’re going to need the help and cooperation of those on their team.

  • Time Management

Time management is crucial to your business’s success. Without it, few tasks would get done on time (if at all). That could be disastrous for everyone involved.

The best solution to this problem is to incorporate scheduling software, like Sling, into your daily routine. Sling not only helps you schedule when your employees are going to work, but it also provides a cloud-based to-do list with customizable deadlines and reminders that will keep everyone on task.

  • Conflict Resolution

Conflict among employees is bound to happen even in the most well-adjusted teams. Sometimes, the stress just overwhelms and friction produces a flame.

It’s usually the manager’s job to put out the fire of conflict, but if you can train your employees to resolve their own disagreements, it will benefit your business 100-fold.

  • Listening

Effective listening — not just hearing — is essential for communication and the success of your business. When you foster mature listening skills in all your employees, their productivity will increase, they’ll make fewer mistakes, and they (and your customers) will be much happier.

  • Organization

Organization can make time management much easier. When you and your employees are organized, you’ll know what needs to be done — and in what order — to get the task at hand accomplished.

Encourage your employees to create a daily schedule of the top three or four tasks (in order of priority) that they need to focus on. Then help them stick to that list until it’s finished.

Read Also: 5 Most Unprofessional Behaviors to Avoid in Your Career

  • Soft skills

The digitalization of work has made one thing abundantly clear: soft skills are vital for employees.

According to LinkedIn’s Workplace Learning Report, empowering soft skills affects how employees think and behave. As a result, it should be a number one priority for talent developers, executives, and HR managers. Soft skills prepare employees for virtually any functional need, both now and in the future.

  • Learning New skills

Unless you’ve got a perfect employee working with you (in which case, we’re going to poach him or her from you), everyone will benefit by learning new skills. Doing so not only stimulates thinking and creativity, but it also increases the employee’s value to your business.

With new skills, you can use team members in different capacities, and they won’t be a “one-trick pony” who is only good at one thing.

  • Goal setting

To help your employees stretch and grow in the way they work, encourage them to set and strive to meet new goals. A surefire way to help your team members reach their goals is to create an employee development plan they can follow. The development plan acts as a road map of sorts that shows team members the steps they need to take to succeed.

  • Focus and Engagement

A big part of your job as a manager is to keep your team focused and engaged. But your employees can learn how to improve their productivity and work performance on their own.

There are plenty of strategies they can employ (many of them the same as you would use) to keep themselves motivated and on track to succeed.

  • Patience

We all think we have patience. That is, until work gets difficult and we begin losing our cool at the smallest problem.

If you see your employees facing this situation more often than not, don’t despair. You can encourage them to improve their patience with a little practice.

When you feel like they might be on the verge of losing their cool, instruct them to close their eyes, breathe deeply, and slowly count to 10 in their head. This simple technique can help them restore their patience during even the most trying of circumstances.

  • Sympathy

Sympathy, in many ways, is similar to compassion toward another person. If an employee is having a hard time accepting the behavior of a coworker during a difficult time in their life, encourage them to try to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.

Once they understand what their coworker is going through, they can begin to see things from a new perspective. This helps them see why their coworker may be distracted at work, making more mistakes than usual, or getting irritated easily.

Your employee will realize that these negative traits are not the new norm. The behavior is just a reaction to an extreme situation. Give them the space and support they need and they’ll return to normal soon.

  • Customer Service

Good customer service is the cornerstone of every great business. Even if your business already has a reputation as a customer-friendly establishment, this is one area of improvement for employees that you can never spend too much time on.

One of the best ways to improve your employees’ customer service skills is to demonstrate it in all you say and do. Then encourage your employees to follow your lead.

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