Make Professional Development Part of Self-Care Plan



As a social worker I am frequently promoting self-care.  As a management consultant I am frequently promoting professional development. Today I want to talk to you about them both.


Self-care is what you do for yourself to ensure that you are healthy, prepared, and productive as a professional. Self-care means treating yourself well and making sure that others do the same. A manager who is over-worked, over-stressed, or burnt out loses creativity and cannot lead effectively.  A self-care routine is a group of activities or practices that you perform or engage in regularly to ensure that you are at your professional best.


Many managers are promoted from within. Being a good employee doesn’t mean that you will be a good manager. Adequate training is essential for quality performance and productivity.


Professional development is activities or practices that allow you to gain or maintain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in your role.  Professional development allows you to stay up to date on new trends and remain competitive in the job market.  Professional development includes research, formal educations (academic degrees or licenses), workshops and trainings, conferences, stretch assignments, mentorship, membership in professional associations, coaching and consultations, and supervision.


As a manager you are not only responsible for the professional development of your staff, you are also responsible for your own professional development. You want to be aware of major changes or updates in your field. You also want to model healthy boundaries, continuous improvement and life-long learning for your team.


Make professional development a part of your self-care plan.


In my first management role I was enrolled in graduate school pursuing a social work concentration in management and community organization. My employer also offered a management training series. In my first year in my second management role I was focused solely on “getting things done”. I was working unscheduled hours, splitting myself between two roles because I had not had time to hire another employee, and neglecting myself overall. I did not attend any trainings or focus on my own professional development.  My year would have gone much better if I had taken more time to breathe, think, and learn. I could have been more proactive and less reactive.  We could have grown more quickly as an organization if we had stopped to plan and prepare.


I want you to learn from my professional mistake. Don’t get so busy working that you aren’t developing your leadership and management skills. In addition to remaining competitive in your industry, professional development can help you feel more confident and competent. Taking time to learn, dialogue, and network with other professionals can also improve your problem solving and big picture thinking. In short, you, your team, and your company benefit when you make professional development a part of your self-care plan.






Nicki Sanders, MSW, is a travel and cupcake lover with a passion for self-discovery and career advancement. She has a strong background in developing and managing interns and successful internship programs. She is an accomplished manager, professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has packaged her Master of Social Work degree and 20 years of diverse work experience into Packaged For Success Enterprises, a full-service training and professional development company.

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