Finding your SPARK

spark1I hope that all of our readers are having a happy Thanksgiving holiday and a refreshing break from work. As we’ve discussed before, taking time for rest and relaxation can help us be more effective as leaders.

If you’re like me, when you come back there will be a rush of year-end planning and deadlines. It will be easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities and lose sight of big-picture goals. One thing that can easily get neglected is time for our own professional development.

Having a professional development plan can help leaders remember to focus on their own development. I recently found a useful article by the American Management Association that had very practical tips for creating a plan. They recommended these steps:

 1. Identify your SPARK:  What skills, abilities, and experiences can help you:

  • Share information
  • Play to strengths
  • Ask for input and appreciate different ideas
  • Recognize and respond to individual needs
  • Keep your commitments

2. Measure your Success:  The article lists 10 questions that can be used as indicators of success. Create a list that works for you and review it periodically to keep yourself on track.

3. Leverage your Style. Use what you know about your personality and preferences to increase your self-awareness and develop specific development goals.

4. Build your influence:  Use your plan to challenge yourself about ways to build and maintain the influence you need to achieve goals for yourself and your team.

As you finish off this year and start thinking about goals for next year, it’s a good time to create a professional development plan.

Dee Anne Bonebright



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