Leadership By Self Development

“Sorry, you cannot go on that training and the company cannot bear the full cost of your certification either”, Sean sat stunned as HR shattered his dream of going to Kenya for training. “But it was part of my training plan, I was told at the beginning of the year and have been preparing for it; studying course materials and taking mock exams!”

As he stormed out of the office he knew he needed to cool-off; he got into the elevator and went to the car park. Turning on his radio, he increased the volume, as he screamed in frustration. The last appraisal was gut-wrenching, his Supervisor had told him that if he didn’t get some certifications, he would not be promoted; after 5 years on the same grade, telling him he lacked some ‘essential competencies’. ‘Do competencies grow on trees?’ Every year the training budget shrinks, but demand for productivity increases.

Lily, Sean’s colleague, saw him getting into the elevator and followed him. When she noticed he had settled down, she got into his car and sat quietly for a bit. Sean could not hold it anymore, he poured out his frustrations to Lily, who listened without saying a word. When he was done, she said, “Most of us have been trying to get trained by the company for years; and as much as it is their responsibility to train us, it is also our responsibility to develop ourselves. Why do you think Tim always gets trained? I asked him and he said, he registers for courses on his own, attends seminars and conferences. He even goes as far as paying for his own certifications and submits his certificates to HR. He gradually became the expert and a keyman risk to the company.”

“Now the company literally appeal to him to attend training because they do not want to lose him. I am trying to follow suit. The first step in leadership is being able to take responsibility for your own development, and becoming the best possible version of yourself. If you want to become a leader, you cannot rely on anybody else to set you on the right path, find cost-effective ways to develop yourself.”

Invest in yourself, and people will see value enough to invest in you.

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