Professional Development Must Align Employee Strengths with the Mission

By Strength Solutions, Inc.

An organization must have a mission that is outwardly focused. It’s not what you do to help you. It’s what you do to help others, whatever that may be. The mission statement needs to be clearly stated, and you must have the human resources and processes in place to support it. To get the most from your human resources, it’s so important to nurture professional (and personal) development to align employee strengths with your organizational goals.

Visions and values supplement the mission. Some organizations spend lots of time making sure that their vision and values are inspiring and lofty, but it’s more important that they are accurate because they’re vital to the organization’s success. A vision statement looks ahead, while values are core principles that guide and direct. Your people bring to the table many varied and distinct skills, values and character strengths. The trick is harnessing them collectively toward the most effective and harmonious workplace environments possible.

Be Purposeful with Your Organization’s Professional Development

Attack your professional development with a purpose. Find resources to build skills fitting specific organizational needs – far beyond the traditional surface-level, character-counts framework.

As an organizational leader, you likely ask yourself regularly: “What can I do as an individual to further the mission of the organization and build my own strengths?” You may wonder what you can do to facilitate workplace harmony, productivity and progress toward goals. Now channel that down to professional and personal development building the skills and character strengths your organization needs to thrive.

These may include:

Cooperation & Mutual Respect

At any organization’s core, people need to work together across departments and up-and-down the chain of command to function. It’s true in organizations of two or 2,000. Staff must cooperate on tasks – fulfilling individual roles, facilitating communication, etc. – toward positive outcomes.

At their base, cooperation and teamwork are inspired by mutual respect. And we mean true mutual respect – respecting each other’s contributions, strengths and even weaknesses, having compassion and empathy, seeing the world through others’ eyes both personally and professionally. When everyone understands that another’s task, which may seem mind-numbingly tedious, is vital to organizational success, or that a team member’s family health issues may at times be distracting, everyone organically sees their own roles more clearly and others’ situations without bias. (And that helps us be true to the team when we have to pick up the slack.)

Expertise in Complementary Areas

Ideally, your team members strive for excellence in whatever roles they serve. Those roles are complementary. Accounting ensures cash flow in and out is balanced and that bills and wages are paid, which allows production teams to produce, legal to litigate, administration to administer, distribution to distribute, and whatever else.

Does your team recognize – and respect – that one can’t exist without the other? In the same vein as cooperation and mutual respect above, professional development strategies promoting open communication strategies will help staff to see their strengths and others’ as cogs in a well-oiled machine that rely on each other for success.

Drive & Commitment

Even the best of us can struggle with energy. The grind wears us down, but commitment to the mission can rekindle the drive needed to get the job done.

Of course, let’s not discount the importance of creating an environment for self-care, personal time, recreation and other factors needed for refreshment. But professional development training can complement your in-house strategies to keep the professional drive and morale alive and aligned with your organizational mission. And when times get rough – as they inevitably will – your staff will have the determination and perseverance to see it through for themselves (and each other).

Creativity & Vision

On your journey to leadership, how many times were your brilliant ideas shot down? Were there times you never spoke up at all for fear of rejection? A Gallup poll found that only 29% of workers believe they’re expected to use their creativity in their professional environment. Ask yourself honestly, where do you believe your employees stand?

Offer outlets for their creativity and innovative thinking. And listen – truly listen. Some of the best ideas come from open environments where ideas, feelings and, yes, even complaints come to the forefront. Give your employees the safe space to speak freely.

Learning from Success & Failure

The value of lifelong learning has long been proven. What better learning than experiential learning? Success, failure and everything in between have lessons built in. Question is, are we learning what we should from it?

In failure we learn accountability and resilience, to bounce back and be responsible for mistakes and shortcomings. We all make them. Most have a hard time accepting failure – fearing for their job or simply feeling shame. In success we learn humility – or at least we should. Professional development training prepares people to have honesty and integrity in defeat, and in victory to be humble and prepare for the next challenge.

Try a Professional Development Training Tailored to Your Organization’s Needs

Missions and visions change from organization to organization and department to department. Strength Solutions, Inc. tailors personal and professional development skills through The Virtues Project™, an internationally renowned training program for individual and collective strength building. It teaches Five Strategies that allow each act and interaction to be meaningful.

For more information about The Virtues Project™, contact Executive Director Mike Marvin at mike@strengthsolutions.org or (716) 790-3520.

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