- Domain knowledge and functional skills: This learning happens when you are in early career. You are expected to be sound in your area of functions. You can choose to be an expert in the area of the function.
- Perspective building: Here you learn how people behave & how they react. You learn about different perspectives in life, differences in the social strata, culture etc. This is not that easy, you have to build upon your learning, interpret your understanding and make the strategy to deal with the people.
- Leadership building: This is about overall leadership development. Your signature style, executive presence, influencing and networking etc.
Friday, June 26, 2020
How to avoid derailment in the career?
He had good communication skills, he also had good curiosity. He had worked in one of the European countries for a few years and when he wanted to come back to India, it was a natural choice to hire him in a technology function. Because of his good exposure and presentation style, he was also nominated in the list of top potential within a year. He was good in everything but had a struggle for managing his team members. He was strong in his functional knowledge but somehow, he was always perceived superficial by his peers and team members. He had to struggle to establish his credibility. When he was assigned the mentor from the management team, he wanted the mentor from business & not from support functions citing they didn’t have the knowledge of business. But his immediate development need was his people management skills. Instead, he was thinking for the next role in the business and was expecting coaching on that.
He said that he would not learn anything from the coach assigned to him and he would like to work with the business director instead of that person who was in support function. Of course, it was his choice and his point of view might be right. However, his insight was not that great. When you start thinking that you are much better in particular traits without understanding the actual reality, your career may start derailing. He could not succeed only because of his perception that he needs to understand the business, which is perfectly fine, but missed the most crucial part of behavioural skills, i.e people management skills.
There are three types of learning normally we have in life. Those learning are important at different stages of the career. These are:
In the first stage, learning functional skills is not that difficult. If you have the basic talent, you grasp very easily. You become professional in your particular area of the function. You may not know all things, but you can read and learn. For example, you may be an expert in tax matters, but if you have the learning ability, you will also learn accounting. You also can learn business, market and all business-related things here easily if you are smart enough where to get the information. This applies for all functions.
However, both stages required a lot of effort and an open mind set. Other two stages are about attitude, behaviours and competence (ABC). You can’t learn this like other skills. Functional skills can be taught and learnt. Perspective and leadership skills (including behavioural soft skills) needs more attention while learning. You have to put yourself always in a student mindset, you need to act like a sponge, absorbing the learning from events happening around you. Easy to say but difficult to put in the practice.
And this is the challenge we always have. Here we need good mentors and coaches to help and support you to excel in your professional life. You will learn what the business is, but you have to learn how to do it.
Most of the time, professionals only focus on functional learning and miss other parts of learning. Ignoring those two learning derails career growth easily.
(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)
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