Recognise the personal value of training beyond the confines of your day-to-day role says Heather Wright

Personal Development

In theory we all recognise the importance of training and development programmes within the workplace. However, there may be challenges to take-up from assistants or administrational teams due to the perceived relevance of the content or even hesitancy around coming forward.

The stumbling block can often be around the question: “How does this relate to me and my role in the organisation?” My response to this would be that everyone in a team has a vital role to play, so each person has a legitimate reason to be part of that piece of work. High performance team building must include every member of the team.

The other aspect to consider is that it’s important to see beyond the obvious and look at how personal development has wider implications in life outside the office.

Seeing the relevance

It’s the task of training and development leaders to oversee programme content and to make this as compelling and accessible as possible. The onus is also on employees to explore how this might be of benefit to them.

When I am delivering courses within workplaces, I rarely see representation from assistants and administrative professionals, which is a crying shame. The reasons for this may be multiple, yet perhaps there is a lack of clarity around the scope of learning. There is always a personal angle, which translates far beyond the confines of a professional remit.

A course on sales isn’t simply about the capacity to sell a product externally. It is hugely beneficial when learning how to sell an idea to colleagues and to influence others.

Similarly, a course around building resilience can enable people to feel greater confidence when adversity strikes in personal life situations, and a programme of learning around stakeholder relations can actually pave the way for better family relationships. The capacity to not see a topic in isolation and to consider how it could transform your whole life, rather than just your professional role, is fundamental.

Personal and professional are inextricably linked

My courses focus on a range of specific themes and they are all created and delivered with the intention to unlock personal potential. It’s impossible for me to connect with delegates and create a shift in understanding unless we talk beyond a superficial level and consider behaviour patterns, motivations and the wider context of neuroscience. This in itself is an exploration of our human idiosyncrasies and the way we operate as people and is therefore applicable to everyone.

We all wear professional hats and play different roles, however, there are so many consistent themes that determine the way we behave. As a result, it’s difficult to draw the line between professional and personal as they are not delineated clearly – they are part of who we are.

Missing a trick

So much of training and development programmes in professional environments are skills focused. While there is real value in developing Excel expertise or project management competencies, this is only half the story of personal development. It’s really important that we also consider the importance of training that focuses on emotional intelligence, communication, resilience or other aspects of growth that have exponential impact on our lives both in and outside or work.

What’s stopping you from stepping forward?

It seems like sometimes there is a barrier to engaging with training and development programmes among assistants and that could be down to a number of factors. To overcome this challenge, it’s important that:

  • Assistants see beyond the headlines and recognise the personal value of training beyond the confines of their day-to-day role
  • Business performance is reliant on recognition that everyone is part of the team. Is there a sense of ring-fencing attendance to specific roles? If this feels like a no-go area as an assistant, perhaps there is an opportunity to challenge the culture?
  • Assistants must ask the question: “May I attend, as I think it would be beneficial for me?”
  • If there are gaps that assistants feel aren’t being identified, then equally there is an opportunity to feedback and make suggestions around content and themes

    Training and development is a two-way conversation in any business. So, while leaders are responsible for recognising gaps in learning among the workforce and bridging them with engaging, high impact courses, it’s also important that employees at every level voice their opinion and step forward if they wish to embrace opportunities.

    Heather Wright is an award-winning global speaker, trainer and writer whose wisdom is imbued with a natural humour that creates an instant connection with audiences. Her ability to get to the heart of what is holding leaders and teams back opens up the ... (Read More)

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