May 062014

Can You Adjust Your Skills to Meet the Challenges of the Future?

Today’s world and work environment is rapidly changing. Skills acquired from past experiences may now be out of date or less useful. They are unlikely to be adequate for the future challenges or opportunities we will face. Fortunately, developing our personal and interpersonal skills is a leadership competency. We can be more successful if we continue to grow and change throughout our career.

Effective leaders learn to constantly adjust; otherwise they can become ineffective and obsolete. One insurance against this is to continually acquire new skills. Preparing for an uncertain future and potential opportunities is a way to get and stay ahead of our competition.

Too many times we want a quick fix. We don’t want to put in the time and effort necessary to develop ourselves for future growth. One of the first things we can do to change this is to “know thyself” as the Greek philosopher Socrates once suggested. We have to know our “blind spots.” A blind spot is one of the worst things we can have. If we don’t know our blind spots, we can go into areas unprepared or ill-prepared. This can result in disaster.

If we can identify our blind spots, we can get to know ourselves. If we know our default settings and motivational core, we can greatly facilitate our growth by being aware of what is most centrally driving our ego agenda. We have to be aware of our personality patterns because in most cases the mechanisms of our personality are invisible to us. If we are able to bring a nonjudgmental awareness to the reactivity of our personality, we can discover a vast part of ourselves and learn how to improve our personal and interpersonal skills.

To learn your personality type and potential blind spots, I recommend the Enneagram assessment. It is a quick way to identify talents, strengths and blind spots. All of my coaching clients and workshop participants to take the assessment before we start working together. You can take The Free RHEIT Sampler, or for $10 take the RHEIT Independently validated full test. Here is the link.

Another development tool is to do a simple skills audit. Poll 10 people who know you well enough to give you detailed feedback on what you do well and not well, what they would like to see you keep doing, start doing and stop doing. Use the results to help you develop skills you need without wasting time on the areas you don’t need.

Also, think about what’s important in your current job as well as the next two or three jobs you want to strive for. Find successful people in these jobs and ask them what skills they need to use to be successful.

Finally, find others who understand that you take your personal and professional development seriously. State your needs and ask for their help. You will be surprised how many will be willing to assist. They will give the benefit of the doubt and support to those who aren’t arrogant, admit their shortcomings, and try to do something about them.

You can also engage the services of a certified, professional coach. Having a coach is a great way to help identify your blind spots and develop your full potential.

Personal development should be a lifelong process. It’s a way for us to assess our skills and qualities, consider our aims in life, and set goals in order to realize and maximize our potential.

To quote American Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden, “If I am through learning, I am through.”


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