In today’s resource-constrained environment, many of us are delivering 120% on the current demands of our job—but devoting little time to developing ourselves further or positioning ourselves for a future move. If you’re ambitious but your job offers you limited opportunities for exploration and growth, what can you do to develop new skills?
Below are 6 ways you can personally develop new skills and grow in the office –without assuming a new role.
1. Stay Alert: Understanding how your organization works, how it makes money and its key decision makers are a few good ways to grasp opportunities you may have in the future. Doing so is an obvious way to shift your own work in the direction of what really matters, and will give you a sense of purpose.
2. Create Slack in your Schedule: Don’t let your day-to-day functions fully absorb your job; make some time to step back and work towards the bigger picture. Some companies give employees up to 20% of their day to work on their own projects and while yours may not be a lenient, give yourself time to evolve in your position.
3. Sign Up for an Outside Project: All companies have projects that traverse departments, specialties and hierarchal levels – get involved in one! Not only will these projects allow you to familiarize yourself with what other positions in the company do, but they will also teach you new skills and give you access to new connections. Who knows? You may discover a new interest or passion, leading to a career path you’ve never considered!
4. Make Strategy your Day Job: When people think strategy, they typically look at executing the tasks they have to complete at that moment. However, strategy is about asking “what” we should be doing—figuring out what problems the company should be tackling, sensing what is happening in the world and learning how to apply it to your business. No matter your hierarchical position in your business, think strategically to grow your role.
5. Contribute outside your Organization: If you can’t find a project to jump on at work, look outside of your organization for blogs you can guest write for, a speaking engagement or volunteer opportunities within your industry. Doing so will increase your personal brand, are good resume builders and keep you from feeling stagnant or bored when nothing new presents itself in the office.
6. Learn to Delegate: While many of us advance our careers by excelling at operational work, once we have the ability to do so, it’s important to learn how to delegate tasks to our co-workers and direct reports. By learning how to let get, you will free up your schedule for the tasks that will truly let you shine.