Being at work, especially during the early days, is a bit like being in a fish bowl: you must prove to one and all that you have the capability to do your job well.
In this, the third and final part of our discussion on knowing how to develop your capability to do your job, we are going to look at two further steps you need to take.
Remember, personal capability = mastery and competence at the job. And mastery and competence fuels your unique personal force or power.
If you like, that’s the force that opens doors for you, and it increases as you become better and better at what you do.
Recognise and address gaps in your learning
The process of realising that there are things you don’t know begins with a feeling of frustration or confusion. You will be faced with a task or an event and realise that you cannot move forward to take the action you want because you don’t know enough about it. There is a gap between what you know and what you don’t. Recognise these times and write them down. Make a decision to look into the areas you don’t understand.
Do hard stuff
The only way to grow is to take on increasingly challenging stuff that take you out of your comfort zone. Offer yourself up for such projects. Shying away from a task because you think it is too difficult will not develop your capability and therefore will not get you noticed. Remember, you develop capability by doing a mix of tasks you can do well and tasks that require you to stretch and challenge yourself.
Richard Dealtry uses what he calls the Praxiology of Learning to help learners make good decisions about their learning. It helps them decide when to learn a hard thing, and when to play it safe.
To do so students choose from a combination of the following by asking, “Am I ready or willing to learn a …”:
- familiar topic in a familiar environment
- familiar topic in an unfamiliar environment
- unfamiliar topic in a familiar environment
- unfamiliar topic in an unfamiliar environment
The Praxiology of Learning moves on a scale from low to high risk thereby enabling a person to see instantly whether they are choosing to play it safe or to take on a challenge. It allows you to plan and control your learning as you feel is best for you.
Whatever you decide, try to build your skills one at a time: decide what you want to work on, work on building it and then move onto the next skill.
Finally, as with any successful activity you must have in built checks so you can assess your progress and adapt what you are doing accordingly. Don’t wait for your manager alone to do this; have your own self-checks by keeping a work diary. Record your goals, progress, triumphs, difficulties and reflections on it all. Include feedback from your managers, colleagues and even customers about what is working well, and what isn’t. Don’t take feedback personally but use it as a way to train yourself and thereby developing your capability further.
Once you have begun to practice these steps you will see that your capability to do the job is improving. You will possess the unique personal power to attract the kind of attention you want.