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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Manager’s Journey:  Navigating the Path to Professional Growth

Navigating the Path to Professional Growth

Navigating the path to professional growth requires a mix of thoughtfulness, strategy, and accountability. Your growth is dependent on many things in life – your natural talents, the right career choice, the right leadership to support you, and your ability to create a growth plan for yourself.

With today’s vibrant and competitive landscape, the role of a manager grows more challenging every day. For you to flourish in your professional life, you need to be intentional and committed to yourself.

The incredible outcome of your professional growth is two-fold: you grow, and those around you grow as well. So, where do you begin? Let’s explore a few key ideas and strategies to help you achieve the growth you desire.

Achieve Growth Through Self-Reflection

Self-reflection and understanding yourself are essential to your growth, both personally and professionally, and are a great place to begin. Taking time for this allows you to keep sight of your values, appreciate positive experiences you’ve had, and better identify ways you can improve moving forward.

Evaluate your current state. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?

To begin focusing on your professional growth, ask yourself a few questions and jot down your answers:

  • What currently makes you happy as a manager?
  • What are you extremely good at doing?
  • What excites you about your role?
  • Where could you improve?
  • How would you rank yourself as a leader on a scale of 1-5, and where would you like to be?
  • Would you like to work for yourself? What do you think that experience would be like?
  • How are your relationships with those on every level? Could they improve?
  • What excites you about your growth and the opportunities in your future?

The Value and Benefits of Executive Leadership Development

Identify Areas for Development

Looking back on the list you created, what stands out to you? What do you do well but would like to grow even more? Where could you improve? Are there relationships you could focus more on?

No doubt you are busy and wish you could create more time for your development, but in order for you to grow as a leader, this needs to become a priority.

Thinking of the way you answered above, here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Could you become a better listener? Listening takes intention and practice. Can you craft ways to hold yourself accountable?

  • Are you scheduling the time, prioritizing your development and the development of those you manage?

  • Could you develop a new skill set? Are there online courses you can take to learn more?

  • Do you have a list of business books, blogs, podcasts, and TED Talks that interest you? Have you scheduled the time on your calendar for this?

  • Could you take on additional leadership responsibilities, lead an initiative, create a team activity or offsite?

  • Is there a mentor who can challenge you?

It may sound like a lot to take in all at once, but just consider ONE of these ideas for now. What interests you, and how will it help develop those areas where you self-reflected?

Goal Setting

After reflection and identifying areas where you can develop, capture your growth goals. Having SMART goals (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) helps create a plan with actionable steps you can take. Having a strong sense of direction for yourself helps you navigate a path forward and creates priorities where you can hold yourself accountable to yourself.

  • Specific – clearly define your goals and objectives. How exactly would you like to grow, and how will you measure your success along the way?

  • Measurable – tracking your progress spurs you on. It also allows you to monitor and evaluate your success. What are ways you could measure your goals?

  • Achievable – goals need to be realistic and reasonable as you grow. Crafting small wins along the way makes a daunting task feel accessible and motivational.

  • Relevant – align your goals with your long-term objectives. How will the changes you make now craft your future?

  • Time-bound – set deadlines and hold yourself accountable. No one is responsible for you except you. Your path to professional growth is based on what you put into it.

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset in Sales

Seek Input From Others

How are you really perceived? Is it the same way you see yourself?

One of the best ways to understand yourself better is to learn how others view you. Regularly gathering feedback from those you manage, peers, and your superiors can provide you with an overview of what others see you doing well and where you could improve.

Consider Executive or 360 Coaching. With personalized guidance and feedback, you can enhance and develop your natural talents and challenge yourself to grow. A coach can offer you valuable insights, challenge and support you, and listen to what is important to you while holding you accountable.

This feedback can do several things:

  • Improve your self-awareness
  • Identify targeted development
  • Foster collaboration and build trust
  • Encourage feedback across the board
  • Understand how your style aligns with others
  • Provide a customized development plan to follow
  • Has accountability to a coach who wants the best for you
  • Allows you to try new ways of doing things.

Continue Growing Personally and Professionally 

Professional growth is an ongoing process, and the best leaders crave it. This is why there are hundreds of books each year on this subject.

For you to grow both personally and professionally, it is important to continuously map out a plan and hold yourself accountable for it. More than anything, your journey should be fulfilling and rewarding.

With self-reflection, identifying areas of development, setting achievable goals, and seeking the input of others, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the manager you want to be and one others long to work for.

360 Executive Strength Coaching

Topics: professional development leadership development