You can build skills using a variety of techniques and methods. Review the list below to determine the best approach for you. Some of the activities that can be helpful include:
- On-the-job-mentoring: One of the most widely used and most efficient means of developing employees is mentoring. It is the day-to-day responsibility of the manager or mentor to impart skills and knowledge, to answer questions, to review work, to discuss progress or lack of progress, and to provide general direction. Working through an actual problem as it develops will increase insight into how to handle similar problems next time.
- Guided experience: Similar to mentoring, it has an emphasis on the individual’s special development needs. You need to provide accurate information on the developmental need and someone, usually a manager, observes your interaction in the role while providing very specific feedback as you go.
- Understudy training: Preparation of a person to assume the responsibilities of another individual, either as a substitute or replacement.
- Job rotation: Job rotation offers an excellent opportunity to broaden knowledge and experience, as well as to gain an appreciation of viewpoints and interrelationships of various organizational groups.
- Project, Committee, or Task Force Assignment: Giving an individual a problem to resolve is an excellent developmental technique. Committee or task force assignments help to determine how well an individual can work with others and identifies leadership and organizational skills.
- Individual Assignments: Take the place of a manager on vacation, or on leave for an illness. You might also know someone who is taking leave and ask to “fill the role” on a volunteer basis to gain experience.
- Management Development Programs: Formal development programs can augment by providing both useful information and practice in a classroom setting.
- Technical Education Programs: Formal professional programs may be available to you that are tailored to your particular function.
- Job Expansion: Expansion of the scope of your current job to include greater responsibility and a wider variety of tasks will help you to acquire valuable skills and knowledge.
- Attendance in Staff Meetings: For effective development to take place, attendance at such meetings must occur. Such exposure will give you greater knowledge and perspective of the role.
- Serving as an Instructor, Conference Leader, or Trainer: One of the most valuable ways to obtain knowledge, broaden one’s scope, and clarify one’s thinking is to teach others. Such training responsibility puts you in touch with many new operations, processes, and problems.
- Help from Specialists in the Organization: Find opportunities to speak with knowledge experts when additional information is needed.
- Studying materials, books, and other documents: Seek out information to learn more about a subject.
- Formal Education: Pursuing formal education is also an excellent method if time and resources are not constraints.