Professional Development – Whose responsibility is it?

In this rapidly changing corporate world, you are always exposed to newer challenges every day. This leads to an ever-increasing need for the constant professional development of a corporate employee.

Especially as you climb up the corporate ladder, there is an increased appreciation of the need for soft skills and leadership skills to manage the increasing complexity of dynamic business scenarios.

The question is who is responsible for your professional development?

Yourself, HR or your reporting line manager?

This is a highly debatable point and you will get varied perspectives. Some employees feel it’s the responsibility of their line manager to plan their development and growth plan. On the other hand, some of the reporting line managers feel that it is HR’s scope of work. Whereas, some of the HRs think, that it’s a joint responsibility of the individual and their reporting line manager.
So, whose responsibility is it?

Who shall take the major lead in driving the professional development agenda of a corporate employee?
Let’s take an example of a small funded enterprise. In this enterprise, the founders work with various stakeholders, such as, the board of advisors, investors, and vendors etc. to achieve the organizational goals.
The entire team is working towards one goal, which is to help the organization succeed and ultimately achieve its vision. Each stakeholder has a unique role in the enterprise. Board of Advisors acts as mentors to the entrepreneurs, investors help them with much-needed funding for the organization, thereby helping in its growth plans and similarly vendors do their bit by providing their services to help the organization produce results. Everybody plays a critical role in the entire process, but who is finally accountable to make things happen in an enterprise? Well, it’s a no-brainer that the final accountability in an enterprise lies with the enterprise owners.
Similarly, comparing this analogy of a startup, with your career and your life, let’s answer few questions:

Who is the owner of your career?
Who will ultimately get benefited if you learn the right skills?
Who is in the best position to decide what skills you have to learn, aligned to your long-term goals?

The answer is an emphatic, “You”. Your reporting line manager and the HR are the support systems to help you develop the right skills and secondly to align your professional development with the organizational needs and goals.
Reporting line manager can act as a mentor and groom you, aligned to your job deliverables and career aspirations. HR can nominate you for various courses or can assign an executive coach to help you grow. However, the buck stops at you.

So here are few things that you, as an ambitious and high potential corporate leader can do to fast track your growth in the corporate world:

1.Taking accountability-
Understand that the final accountability of your professional development lies with you

. All other stakeholders are support systems in your professional development.

2. Feedback – Feedback is the breakfast of warriors. Seeking constant feedback from reporting line manager and other critical stakeholders with whom you work, can do wonders. It sounds very simple, however, it is the fastest way to empower yourself in two ways:
a. It helps you identify your strengths so that you can hone them further.
b. It helps you identify your areas of development so that you can have a growth plan around that.

3. Find a Coach: As one grows higher in the leadership hierarchy, it becomes critical to have a professional coach. Coach acts as a sounding board who asks powerful questions to:
a. Help you develop clarity about where you are heading and where you would like to go.
b. Help you strategize your growth path.
c. Positively challenge you to bring out the best in you.
d. Facilitate your transition from where you are to where you want to reach.

A thousand miles journey is initiated by taking the first step. Take that first step today and draw a pathway for your consistent growth and success.

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