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The six key areas of professional development: How managers can assist employees

Written by Editor

June 11, 2024

By Naledi Mokoena


Understanding areas of development

According to Success Finder an area of development refers to a specific skill or attribute that enhances personal and professional growth. Focusing on even one area can significantly strengthen an employee’s capabilities, motivating them to continue investing in their career and personal development. Managers play a critical role in identifying these areas and discussing professional development plans. They are well positioned to evaluate an employee’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Here are 6 key areas where managers can guide employees in their professional development according to Success Finder:

Organisational skills

Improving organisational skills can enhance both professional and personal efficiency. Key skills to focus on include:

  • Stress reduction
  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Productivity

Managers should encourage the continuous development of these skills, especially during times of change. Discussing challenges related to remote work and productivity can help employees adapt more effectively. 

Leadership skills

All employees can benefit from developing leadership skills, which can open up senior-level opportunities and boost self-confidence. Key leadership skills include:

  • Constructive feedback
  • Planning
  • Delegation

Managers can coach employees or connect them with experienced mentors to provide feedback and prepare them for leadership roles. This approach fosters better leaders and higher performance standards within teams.

Conflict management

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace, but effective conflict management can improve workplace culture and productivity. Employees should focus on developing patience and empathy, particularly if these traits are not their natural strengths. Enhancing these skills can lead to more diplomatic resolutions and a more harmonious work environment.

Negotiation skills

Strong negotiation skills contribute to business success and healthy workplace relationships. Encourage employees to develop assertiveness and persuasion techniques using resources like Harvard Business Reviews negotiation strategies. Role-playing activities can help employees practise and refine these skills.

Integrating negotiation skills with communication and leadership development can empower employees to overcome barriers and pursue their career goals. This fosters an agile mindset that promotes continuous improvement and adaptive planning.

Communication skills

Effective communication is crucial for a positive workplace culture. Managers can help employees improve their emotional intelligence and active listening skills. Practical exercises, such as practising active listening during meetings, can help employees develop these skills. Networking and mentoring programs can also provide valuable opportunities for enhancing communication skills through collaborative discussions and problem-solving.

Agile mindset 

An agile mindset is essential for adapting to changing environments and continuous improvement. Encouraging employees to embrace agility can lead to more innovative solutions and more resilient organisation. Managers can support this development by promoting adaptive planning and providing opportunities for employees to practise and refine their skills. According to research, the Agile mindset possess four qualities:

  • Rather than focusing on themselves, they focus on teamwork.
  • They are dedicated to pursuing their goals and possess an adaptable approach.
  • Make the best decisions through collaborating and consulting.
  • They adapt and persevere through uncertainty.

By focusing on these six key areas, managers can help employees grow professionally, retain talent and foster a positive and productive workplace culture.

Read more leadership advice in the 13th edition of Top 500:

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