Employee Development is Always About You!

Your career advancement is about your attributes and accomplishments, not the deficiencies of others

By David Cox, SHRM-SCP | February 27, 2018

Introduction

Employee development challenges participants to consider the current status of their job performance and career advancement and decide whether changes in their attitudes, behaviors, and practices would enable them to make more progress.

Whenever I present an Employerwise seminar, there’s always one employee in the meeting who pulls me aside and says: “I know exactly who you’re talking about.” There will always be a few who confidently assume that I must be talking about someone else. My response is the same one I offer during the seminar’s introduction: “Employee development is always about you!”
Overconfident employees assume the following:

  1. They’re convinced they possess an innate ability to identify the deficiencies of any employee in the organization while remaining absolutely oblivious to their own.
  2. Over time, they’ve developed and accepted a set of beliefs about themselves that shields them from the idea that they need to change anything about the way they work with others. These beliefs may include the following:
    • I’m excellent at my job.
    • I’m one of the most talented people in the organization.
    • I deserve a raise.
    • I’m an excellent leader.
    • I’m smarter than most of the managers.
    • I should be making a lot more money than others in my position.
    • I deserve a promotion.
    • My advancement is long overdue.

If there are no facts, evidence, or other employees in the workplace to corroborate these statements, the employee’s beliefs are without merit. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but “saying it don’t make it so.”

In delivering a seminar to a group of about 30 employees, one employee responding to something I had said stated, “I’ve been working here for over 10 years and I’m considered a leader.”
Other participants indicated by their body language that this individual might be the only one to consider himself as a leader. Several appeared rather amused at his statement.
Obviously, the participant felt this statement gave him credibility. However, since no one else thought his statement was true, it made him appear inappropriately arrogant and foolish to his co-workers. As previously stated, “saying it don’t make it so.”

The Nature of Employee Development

Employee development promotes self-improvement and helps employees learn how to better distinguish themselves, build greater job security, and position themselves for advancement at work.
It’s not about providing an opportunity to criticize others in the workplace or compare oneself to others. I’ve never seen an employee promoted that routinely points out the deficiencies of others, while ignoring their own. Business owners are most likely to advance employees based on evidence of their own professional attributes and accomplishments.

Conclusion

Some employees will return to work, following our seminar, with no thought of improving any aspect of their performance. In the safety of their routines, they cling to the hope that one day, someone will give them a promotion because “they deserve it.” Others will improve in some areas and approach their work with more confidence. These changes will eventually yield more opportunities.

However, there will be a few employees who will do a complete turnaround at work. They will decide what to start doing, and what to stop doing. These decisions will result in the improvement of their attitude, behaviors, and workplace practices.

A successful career is the result of making many good decisions that will position the employee for future advancement. Those who learn the lessons of employee development can identify these decisions and make their career advancement inevitable.

Up Next: A Three-Point Strategy to Retain Your Employees

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David Cox

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