I listen a lot during these days, especially with the new generation of millennials, “I want to develop myself”, “I want to be the best version of me”, “I want this job because I can learn and grow”…
When I hear this in job interviews, I used to be so excited, that someone who would say that would be hired!
But I am living the experience when they arrive to the jobs the development is expected to be put in front of them and to be a frame to follow! Not something as they have culture of life!
The big buzz: “we are learning everyday” is true…but it doesn’t need to do something extraordinary, it can be built on small actions. The awareness of learning every day is the first important step…then realize the meaning of new feelings in different situations and recognize the triggers.
I used to have a lecturer at the Psychology College who used to say: “Everything can be trained, even the people’s behaviors”. Looks obvious but what we normally takes for granted as our personality, is now subject to be trained if we want!!
I used to be skeptical about this, but then I leaned the concept of Emotional Intelligence and started to experience that we can take ourselves to another level, and leaving the world of stereotypes.
Starting with the simple question, what do we think we need/want to develop?
It can be quite challenging…the fact that we need to stop and look at the mirror, or ask for honest feedback and have the capacity to listen and digest it, requires maturity and open mindset.
Build a development plan, with tangible actions.
I believe the development plan can be taken outside work, and when we talk about our development plan is not only in the work environment but also in our personal lives.
For example I have in my development plan “Influencing Skills”, it is a skill necessary to do my job, influence my team, my peers, my stakeholders and also the senior leadership. So I put these standard actions, as presenting to senior leaders, investing in preparation of written communication, and contracting feedback to measure the results.
It is a good plan…but it is not enough…I need more situations where I can practice, in different environments, and live unexpected non controlled situations which I could feel and remind myself it makes part of my development plan.
So for influencing skills, outside work, I am trying to use other situations, and if I think it is part of my development plan actually it helps to put myself forward!
Like for example:
I started to buy online in Facebook Marketplace. Looks a very normal thing… but I found the negotiation behind quite challenging! So I set some rules…I always started to ask by 50% down of the price and saying I could go and pick up in the next day taking cash. You can think it doesn’t work but it actually 80% of the time it worked out.
In the other 20% of the cases, I lost some good deals, and I felt bad in the moment, but because I was saying to myself, I was doing a training in influencing skills I was keep doing, and trying to read the triggers of the situation.
Other situation is about to expose my opinions across conversations in the social media. I decided to express my opinion as comment from a friend’s post in Facebook, regarding the Serena’s behavior…it literally had 27 other comments against me! With pictures, with meme’s, cartoons! I think it was great! It really test my influencing skills as crap! It was the best, couldn’t get anybody on my side, not even my husband! I thought it was really fine because the conscience that this was part of my development plan, really change the perspective.
Trying to have fun negotiating…as Prof. Streeter from eCornell College says if the women prefers going to the dentist than negotiate, do it more often until you feel comfortable and enjoy it.
“Test, Train and Practice yourself! Depends on you!”
It is the same of taking new shoes to the wedding day, to feel comfortable test the shoes, train high heels and practice the dance with them. Or going to a box combat with the most tested, trained and practiced boxing gloves.