Apr 29, 2022

Your personal development as a care manager

In his latest column, Mark Topps discusses personal development, its importance for care managers and tips and tricks for achieving their learning goals.

Mark Topps
Mark Topps
Regional Business Manager

Table of contents

At the moment, there’s a lot of talk about the Skills Passport, gaining qualifications and climbing the career ladder. And while I welcome this conversation, we also need to focus on the individual and not take a one size fits all approach to personal development.

Personal development is the process of self-improvement, focussing on building up your own awareness, knowledge, and skills, as well as your overall sense of identity. This process needs to be person-centred and led by you. If you're learning a new skill or gaining a qualification, it must be something you want to do and find interesting. Otherwise, you’ll struggle to complete it. In this column, I want to explore why personal development is beneficial and share some tips for achieving your goals.

Improved motivation

Studies show that achieving goals increases motivation and improves health and productivity. Everyone needs to have goals, however small, as they can help to guide us, focus us and sustain momentum in life. Think about your own personal development and the goals you have for the future, both personal and work-related, then break them down into smaller achievable goals.

Time to reflect

Personal development involves taking a step back from the rush of your day job, evaluating your current skills and what you do well and identifying areas to build on. This can be an opportunity to reflect on failings and the lessons you’ve learnt. Putting a plan in place for personal development enables you to upskill your knowledge and experience and allows you to progress in your chosen career path. It might also help you rule out paths that you’re interested in pursuing but ultimately, won’t suit you.

Opens doors

Many people complete the level 5 qualification in leadership and management and the level 7 diploma in health and social care management and then stop as there isn’t much else to do in those area. Why not consider training that might progress your career in the future? I completed the level 7 diploma and then undertook a graduate course in teaching. Not because I wanted to become a trainer or teacher but it opens the door if I decide to do it in the future. If you oversee your organisation’s social media, you could do a course in marketing. There’s nothing wrong with repeating training you’ve previously done as it can refresh your knowledge. I’ve worked in learning disability services for over ten years, but last year I did a course in autism and picked up some amazing facts and tips which I now cascade to others.  

Better work-life balance

We often think that personal development is solely work focused, but it should be part of your life plan. It's not enough that you’re thriving at work if you feel like something in your personal life is lacking. Setting time aside to focus on a new skill could improve your work-life balance. Remember that skill could still be useful for your working role. And you can share your learnings with your team or the people you support.  

I know first-hand the challenges of setting time aside when you’re constantly on call and managing the daily running of your service. But it is crucial to make time to look at your goals and work towards achieving them.

Some simple tips for achieving your goals are

  • Be realistic about your abilities and don’t set yourself up to fail
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve something
  • Learn from your mistakes, but don’t hold onto them
  • Break your goal into smaller steps
  • Set aside time to work on your development and goals
  • Be selfish and think about yourself, your future and your career.

Key tips to consider when looking at your personal development

  • Think about the next three years and break down the overarching goal into smaller goals
  • Think about your personal and work goals
  • Step outside of your comfort zone and learn new skills
  • Don’t compare yourself to others or follow the crowd… be you!  
  • Identify your strengths and your weaknesses
  • Think and don’t rush into things
  • Set timeframes to achieve your goals
  • Track your progression
  • Celebrate achievements
  • Ask for support or ideas
  • Network and ask other managers
  • Be selfish and think about yourself, your future and your career.

Personal development doesn’t have to be about gaining a qualification or even doing something work-related. You could set a personal goal that helps you build skills outside of the workplace or gives you a sense of purpose and belonging. Create your vision and invest in yourself.

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