Career remains one of the most important aspects of a person’s self-realization. It has an uncanny ability of manipulating a person’s expectations and motivation while also possessing many variables a person has little to no control over. Bridgstock et al. (2019, p. 89) acknowledge that “employability is influenced by a wide range of factors beyond the graduate’s skills and knowledge”. A successful career determines a person’s overall well-being, both financial and psychological, while also tending to the basic needs such as safety and feeling of accomplishment. Moreover, a well-planned career path will also ensure skills development and expand personal capabilities.
Thus, it is important to be aware of the various strategies of career development, as well as constantly engage in professional learning in order to properly advance as a professional. High performance in the workplace is also dependent on the specific strategies.
The Role of Skills Development Strategies and Lifelong Learning in Career Development
Types of Career Development Strategies
In terms of career development, there are a horizontal and a vertical strategy – each of them requires a different type of skill development. Both concepts are quite important for career planning, as they allow the person to apply their skills in the best way. Horizontal type represents a specialization: a specialist enhances their competencies in one specific area. It could be a preferred way of development for creative and expert-level professions, where the worker is narrowly specialized in a set of specific skills, without striving to become a leader. For this type of career planning, a lifelong learning is strongly required, as the worker should constantly improve their skills and expand their knowledge in order to stay on top of their professional field.
On the other side is a vertical career – a career growth associated with organizational and managerial work. Within this strategy, an employee continuously rises in position through developing a set of leadership competencies. For this career strategy, the skill development is absolutely crucial – namely, the soft skills which are necessary for management and leadership. Tseng and Levy (2019, p. 4) claim that “leadership is inherent in the interpersonal aspects of performance management”.
This study implies that for an effective management approach, a manager should not only follow the organization’s set of policies – they also need to possess leader’s qualities. Stollberger et al. (2019, p. 13253) whereas demonstrate that “manager behaviors have an extended reach and not only influence their direct reports, but act through them, and affect the work performance of employees at lower levels”. The process of leadership is comprised of many variables, the main being the ability to listen and understand, to see the whole picture and to unite people.
Personal Development Plan as a Part of Career Strategy
An innovative entrepreneurship requires a continuous improvement of employees’ qualifications and perpetual training. The desire for constant development can truly become a secure basis for career development and growth. In the context of constant professional challenges, every worker should consider the lifelong learning as a way to secure their place in the profession. Stebleton and Diamond (2019, p. 160) advocate that “career development, exploration, and vocational reflection during the first year of studying should be viewed as a potential high-impact practice”. Employees with a high level of professional training have better chances to achieve high performance indicators, be capable of introducing new modern technologies and methods of conducting the professional process.
To estimate the potential career challenges, as well as professional goals, one needs to develop a personal plan of improving one’s personal, social, and work characteristics. A proper and detailed plan of professional development allows its user to clearly see the major career milestones and potential achievements. Moreover, it helps determine the needs and requirements for completing each stage of a career growth. Overall, a professional development plan is a powerful tool for assessing one’s perspectives and possible ways of improvement.
Key Career Development Points
Nowadays, the system of continuous education implies that a successful employee has to constantly develop their skills. It could be achieved through lifelong education in the main specialty, increasing qualifications, obtaining a degree or entering a second education, and the search for additional knowledge. On this way of lifelong learning and skill development, a person needs to establish their own key career development points. There a three approaches for selecting these points: strategic, tactical and situational.
To strategic choices belong the most significant life goals and values that subordinate and determine the life path of a person. For example, Kim et al. (2019, p. 351) found that “women and men used different strategies regarding how to direct their effort to achieve promotions”. In their final embodiment, the strategic goals of a person come into contact with such an existential issue as the meaning of life. Confusion, ambiguity of strategic goals leads to ambiguity in all areas of a person’s life – especially, in the career field. Tactical goals, in turn, are set on the basis of strategic guidelines, and concretize the value components of the main goal.
They are, in fact, the steps that form the path of strategic goals. Finally, the situational choices determine the everyday, momentary milestones that are subordinate to tactical goals and ensure their achievement.
By realizing and understanding one’s own strategic and tactical values and goals, a person can greatly facilitate goal-setting and the choice of alternatives in various uncertain situations. This is an important concept to understand, as it affects not only the career development, but the whole life of an individual. For example, prognoses show that there will be a high demand for employees with enhanced soft skills – and the companies’ leaders will have to act as examples to ensure the proper communication inside their organizations. Delegach et al. (2017, p. 737) claims that “a transformational leadership style can enhance followers’ promotion motivation and in turn can contribute to employees’ affective commitment in general”. A person who strives for a successful career and leading positions has to take into account these trends and adjust their career development points accordingly in order to match the professional needs.
Managing the Changes
Many change management models presented recently have been developed on the basis of Lewin’s approach, in accordance with which to understand the changes one needs to know what “the stability of the organization” is. Stability means ensuring a balance of two forces: driving and restraining, which can act both internally and externally. Burnes (2019, p. 33) claims that “Lewin’s model represents a well-developed approach to changing human behavior based on over 25 years of his research”. The Defrost stage of Lewin’s model is probably the most important for career development, as it provides and understanding that today is an era of change.
Subsequently, this stage allows the professionals to prepare themselves for changes. Moreover, it includes an awareness that the changes are needed, prompting the person to move outside of their “comfort zone”. From this point, the process of learning and developing new skills begins. It might be useful for any professional to constantly evaluate their preparedness for changes, and the Lewin’s concept proved to be a great tool for that.
High Performance Individuals and Teams
The Role of Organizational Culture in High Performance
Organizational culture can be considered as one of the main tools of any modern management organization and staff development. It implies a certain set of values, norms and rules that form the guidelines for behavior and actions taken by employees. Modern management views organizational culture as a powerful strategic tool that allows all departments and employees to be focused on the same goals, which results in high performance rates. Kraśnicka et al. (2017, p. 745) states that “innovation supportive culture stimulates the generation of new solutions or their absorption from the outside and contributes to the more effective implementation of creative ideas”. Thus, organizational culture is rightfully considered one of the main components of a complete and effective management system of team motivation.
The culture of a company allows it to manage its development more efficiently using the employees’ personal ambitions and goals. Moreover, it is also a powerful tool to create a positive microclimate in the team, which will help unleash the creative potential of the workers and motivate them to use innovative methods when solving emerging problems. It also gently pushes employees to constantly improve and develop, which is the main task of the organization’s motivational policy. Complex interaction and integration of corporate concepts of motivation and organizational culture involves combining them into a single whole to carry out joint practical actions and educational activities that lead to a synergistic effect.
With the right choice of organizational culture, enterprise’s innovative human resources would increase, as employees will have different personality traits. Guven (2020, p. 234) adds that “it is the process of discovering innovations that are based on strategic intrapreneurship and future competitive advantages, and ensuring that business people strive to benefit from today’s competitive advantages”. Moreover, the conditions corresponding to these properties would allow the culture to reveal creative and innovative potential of the personnel and apply it in reality.
For example, Shahbazi et al.’s (2019, p. 1) study results show “a significant improvement in the career development of workers, with on average 8.6% improvement in employees’ closeness to their ideal skill set”. In the healthy conditions of such culture, employees will best develop and apply their personal skills and knowledge to ensure the enterprise’s profit. Thus, it can be safely concluded that a proper organizational culture is crucial for high performance – both in individuals and teams.
Networking as a Tool for Enhancing Performance
The world of today relies on digital technology in all aspects of live, including, most importantly, communication between people. With the introduction of the internet, the process of networking has become much more accessible and convenient, giving individuals from all walks of life an opportunity to promote themselves and meet other professionals in their sphere. The ability to exchange information freely has expanded the ability of people to work internationally, providing them with the chance to enhance their performance with experiences of other people.
Networking, as a process, is a long standing and important practice pertaining to the establishment of social connections within a given sphere (Kagan, 2021). This process has always been an intricate and unspoken part of the work environment, allowing people to work with each other more effectively. Networking can be done in person, at special parties, gatherings, and meetups, or indirectly, through various services that are used for professional communication. Umbelino et al. (2021, p. 1) add that “mentoring is a key part of career development, especially in emerging fields such as social entrepreneurship”. The process of engaging in networking is necessary for both successful career advancement and cooperation between people in the same sphere.
While conventional social networks are still widely used to connect people across the world and make it easier for professionals to establish their networks, they are not ideal for a work environment due to the focus put on entertainment and the lack of specialized tools. In this case, Niche Networks come into play as a way to unite the use of social networks with the needs of a worker, giving people in specific spheres an ability to find like-minded individuals and establish strong relations. The use of Niche Networking helps to create a diverse and adaptable platform that caters to the needs of a particular sphere, or allows people to find jobs easily (Koksal, 2019). It opens new opportunities and maximizes the potential humans can showcase in their trade, proving to be invaluable for both individual and team high performance.
The Role of Cultural Management in Team Performance
The business possibilities are changing as the boundaries of everyday experience are shifting, and in turn, social mobility accelerates. Shore et al. (2018, p. 176) state that “scholars are increasingly focusing on inclusion to enhance work environments by offering support for a diverse workforce”. In many studies, successful management of socio-cultural diversity is recognized as a key leadership strategic aspect of international companies. Roberson et al. (2017, p. 493) claim that “diversity became recognized as an important contextual variable, or unit-level characteristic, which influences employee attitudes and behavior”.
The multinational workforce combines different professional skills and values, worldviews, and work attitudes, impacting greatly the functioning of the company in general and the employees in particular. Moreover, Allen et al. (2018, p. 13) suggest that “empowering work conditions are associated with increased organizational commitment even when the employee does not experience the job as personally meaningful”. Therefore, the personnel management policy, corporate and marketing policies should properly address workplace diversity so that the employees would feel as a part of the inner company culture. It is evident that this strategy can enhance the performance greatly.
The study of career development allows to conclude that career takes place only within the interaction of the individual and society. In addition, it is closely interconnected with the development and expansion of the system of needs, motives and interests of a person.
As a result, an individual occupies a primary place in the process of career development. It is from their attitude to this process, the level of self-knowledge, an individual orientation, and preferred ways of self-expression that determines the forms in which the career process will be expressed. Moreover, these factors will also affect the organizational structures and hierarchies through the professional’s performance. In this regard, the development and implementation of an individual career strategy becomes an important problem for both the enterprise and the individual. A proper career development plan ensures not only increased satisfaction, but also a high performance in the chosen professional field.
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