Looking back at the beginning of the journey when I started the MBA in September 2013, it seems like yesterday, yet I have experienced and learned so much.
The MBA has honestly changed my life and the way I see my self
I have never reflected upon my own behaviour and the way others see my self. In fact I have never reflected that much about my career and the different things that has happened since I started my first real job in 2005.
This reflection and my Personal Development is the outcome of taking a course of the Henley MBA extremely serious – The Personal Development Programme.
The Henley Personal Development Program
As mentioned in my previous blog about academic writing, the first assignment at the MBA is PD1 – the foundation of the Personal Development Programme. This assignment has to be passed in order to proceed and it needs to contain some serious reflection of where you are in your life and what your strengths and weakness are as well as your priorities.
Later in your PD2 (the second assignment) you have to describe how you have managed to work with and further develop your weakness and strengths.
First I found it strange working with my Personal development this way. I just wanted to learn more about leadership and what I was supposed to do to become a better leader.
The more I worked with technical leadership as well as strategy areas I learned that leadership is so much about learning to get to know yourself better
I also found that this is not very easy either.
Reviewing my first Personal Development assignment done after the first work shop at Henley in September 2013 I stated that I was also over-optimistic and I also, at that time, might loss interest in things once initial enthusiasm has passed. I needed to work on these weaknesses.
The connection between Personal development and leadership
I have seen that a lot of people are just doing today what they did yesterday and they are not reflecting about their own leadership behaviour and the outcome of their actions as well as how they are seen by other.
Today (primarily in the western part of world) leadership is about getting “followers” and very much about getting people around you to understand what you mean and what you want.
E-mail management with instructions is “so much last year” and something that no employees find appealing and like to obey. Sending out a mass e-mail and hoping that the receivers finds it interesting and will do what is written is like going to the casino with your savings and hoping to get a positive return.
Learning more about how you appear to others and how others see you as a leader is the foundation of leadership development and links to personal development as the first step of getting to know your self
The first step in learning how you should communicate to get followers and getting people to do what you want them to. Without feeling tempted to using the weakness of e-mail management.
Personal development is not only about creating emotional resilience and learning to push your self mentally – it is about learning to become a better leader.
Tests and development
At Henley the Personal Development starts with an assignment setting the foundation. Then later in the process personalities test with focus on a specific leadership style. That was somehow very specific and something that most of the students liked.
Each of the students got a concrete result that was meant for them to compare with their development areas from the PD1 meaning that we were given tools for us to work it.
The outcome for me
Now I think that I have acquired a lot more confidence in myself and my personal capabilities that have made me believe in that I have the skills to meet the deadlines of the things that I have to accomplish.
This has definitely made me calmer and less impatient that has then made me allow myself time to go more into depth with things and I do not feel that I tend to loose interest in things to the same extend anymore.
Summary and recommendations
First of all start the Personal Development program at Henley with an open mindset – it is very important that you take the tests and the program itself very serious.
The ability to stop and reflect has made me see the various organizational challenges from above and this has made me react less aggressive towards things that I do not understand or do not have to change. This was also one of my personal development goals from the first Personal Development Assignment.
You should also learn to stop and reflect and start getting to know your self better. Take the time to do it and prioritize it
It might be that you think that you have not got time for reflection and that it is something done by hippies sitting around a fire and singing with a guitar. They might do and that is fine, but I am reflecting at least 2 hours each week and I do it when I am running or biking alone.
Not all training (or whatever you do privately that takes time) needs to be structured and could easily be suitable for reflection. It could also be moving the lawn or washing or your car.
Going forward I will definitely keep reflecting upon my own development, my career and especially my behavior. I will do this because it will simply make me a better leader and help me achieving my goals.
I hope you find personal development interesting and hopefully now feel a little bit more ready to start reflecting about your own development and leadership style. In my next blog I will describe how to prepare for an MBA exam and passing it the first time.