Sep 21 / Helen Bryant

The Secrets of the Top 20%: How Busy Managers Achieve Career Success

Everyone wants to progress in their career, right? Whether it is the next promotion, a bigger role, or a more challenging and interesting project to keep you stimulated or to perform your current role with more confidence, impact, and less stress.
From my experience, less than 20% of managers will take the necessary steps to increase the likelihood of achieving their personal development goals.
For many, after leaving a training workshop with an action plan or discussing their personal development goals with their line manager as part of the organisation's performance management process, despite their good intentions, their plans remain on paper. Somewhere along the way, the day-to-day responsibilities take over, and they don't find the time to put their plan into action.
So what do the 20% do that helps them to be more successful?

#1 They Commit

Successful leaders have clarity on what they need to focus on and why it is important to achieve their personal development goals.
This clarity enables them to be proactive and commit to pursuing those goals. Just like running a marathon requires training, achieving your career goals is no different; it requires commitment.
🤔 Question: What is your current development goal? How committed are you to achieving it?

#2 They Have a System That Keeps Them On Track

James Clear said in his book Atomic Habits, "You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems."
In a busy work environment, when your to-do list is never-ending, you must prioritise time to focus on your personal development. You need a system. The good news is it does not require much time, but your system will keep your plan at the forefront of your mind.
Make sure that you can identify those micro-practice moments and opportunities to ask for feedback, as they make all the difference in moving from knowing what you should do to actually doing it.
🤔 Question: What is your personal development system? How effective is it in helping you achieve your goals?

#3 They Find People To Help Them

We learn more when we learn with others. Whether it is a mentor, a coach, an accountability buddy, or a colleague you ask for feedback, successful leaders know that the more they build their personal network to support their development, the more they learn.
They make this part of their personal development system.
🤔 Question: Who is part of your personal development network? Who can you rely on to help you achieve your personal development goals?

These three traits I consistently see making a difference for the top 20% of successful leaders.

They are always learning, always finding better ways of working and achieving their goals, and, importantly, they share what they learn with others and encourage those around them to do the same, so it is not just them who benefit from their focus.
Action Step: Answer the questions and think about what you need to do to better achieve your personal development goals.

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