January 12th 2022
By: Stéphanie Crites | Andréanne Roy

Self-Management: A Key Competency For Today’s Workforce

Career development is more important than ever in the discussions of guidance professionals. Several sources state that adults will make between 5 and 7 career transitions in their lifetime. It is clear that today’s work contexts often result in non-linear and highly unpredictable career paths. This desire to remain motivated and efficient drives today’s worker.

The idea here is not to generate anxiety but rather to make you more aware of the importance of being an actor in your own professional development. Self-management is the ability of a worker to effectively manage their professional goals. This key competency of today’s worker means taking charge of their career management on an ongoing basis and is a remedy by excellence to avoid burnout, boredom or even loss of meaning. The job market will continue to evolve, today’s jobs are not tomorrow’s jobs. To be satisfied at work and perform well, we must get into the habit of reflecting on our journey and projecting ourselves into the future. We must be the first accomplices of our skills development.

Self-awareness:An Important Starting Point

Some may wonder where to start. First, it may be relevant to use psychometric evaluations at different stages of a person’s career path. However, before even discussing the relevance of psychometric tools in a professional development context, it is important to define them clearly. Psychometric tools are scientifically validated instruments that aim to objectively measure certain individual characteristics, such as leadership, IQ, logical reasoning, etc. There are several types of psychometric tests, but the most commonly used in professional development are interest, values, aptitude, and personality tests.

Firstly, psychometric tools can be used in the context of self-knowledge in orientation or career reorientation. This type of tool can be a starting point to help a person better understand their reactions to certain situations, what is important to them, or the type of professional field they are interested in. When an individual knows themselves well, they are more likely to make a career choice that is aligned with their interests, values, personality, and skills.

In addition, professionals are increasingly using psychometric assessments as part of a job interview or team-building process. They provide precise and objective information about a candidate’s potential to hold a position and can also help a manager put together a work team that is complementary and, at the same time, increase cohesion and collaboration among its members. When there is a good fit between a person’s personal characteristics and their work environment, they are more likely to perform better and experience job satisfaction.  

Finally, psychometric tools can be used to evaluate competencies when an individual wishes to develop within an organization. With a good understanding of an employee’s strengths and skills to be improved, it is possible to target interventions and training to be integrated into an individual development plan in order to meet the requirements of the current or planned position.

Although psychometric instruments have proven their relevance in many respects, they remain tools that must be part of a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process. Finally, it is important to specify that they must be administered and interpreted by qualified professionals.

There are other ways, sometimes more accessible, to promote your self-knowledge, such as a performance evaluation, a peer evaluation or a self-evaluation. It is also possible to be accompanied by a guidance counsellor as part of a competency assessment, which promotes the worker’s professional development through the recognition and development of their competencies. An analysis of one’s professional history also allows the individual to make interesting observations. By recounting your experiences and accomplishments, you will be able to better target what you liked, what motivated you, the strengths that enabled you to act, or what was important to you in a job, or a good job.

Projecting Into the Future: A Question of Balance

The identification of a project allows the worker to give a direction and a meaning to their career. A better knowledge of oneself leads us to explore the possibilities in order to target activities, projects, or objectives in which we want to invest ourselves. Use information resources and your networks to consider opportunities.

It is important to understand that a project is dynamic and that it is in interaction with the worker’s environment. Therefore, it is important, when defining objectives, to consider its reality factors. What are my personal and environmental resources and limitations? What is possible considering my reality? For example, does it make sense to start a business if the regional market is saturated for this type of establishment? Is it possible to consider going back to school when your financial situation is unstable? 

Also, imagine what your balance could look like. In which area of my life do I want to invest more time? In which area do I want to invest less time? You can also think in terms of needs. What are my unmet needs?

In short, this exploration stage allows us to target projects and to give a basic direction that may require a readjustment. The project is an anchor that allows the worker to be in motion. The action plan is a very interesting tool to encourage action, but a development plan can also be used. We can include strategies to reach our objectives, deadlines, etc. There are many ways to develop oneself such as coaching, mentoring, reading, training, journaling, etc. You must consider your preferences, your learning style, and the means at your disposal. Therefore, it is a matter of targeting what you want to make real and the desired situation, while targeting ways to get there.

Putting It Into Action: A Step Too Often Neglected 

Any change requires effort. Taking action on a practical level can seem complex. Coaching can have a positive impact on this stage of professional development. In a process with a guidance expert or even in a coaching process, the worker is supported in taking action to achieve results.

The action plan or development plan can also motivate the person to take action. Follow-up can also be interesting from an HR manager, a manager, or a team leader.

The most effective way to make changes is to use a flexible method. This step is malleable, and the worker can adapt as they go along. On the other hand, the clarity of the project and the objectives should not be neglected, as it promotes confidence and therefore action. Furthermore, it is important to return to the basis of the reflection process, self-knowledge. Remember that this first step allows the worker to define a project or objectives that reflect his or her image. It also promotes the worker’s commitment to the strategies identified.

In conclusion, self-management of one’s professional objectives is a key skill to master in order to develop throughout one’s career. You must first be able to know yourself well and reflect on your past experiences in order to define your professional goals and detail them in a realistic and achievable action plan. However, it is not a matter of engaging in this reflection process once, but rather of developing the habit.  

Stéphanie Crites
Stéphanie Crites, C.O

Leader in Professional Development, Coach and Guidance Counselor at EPSI

Andréanne Roy

Organizational Psychology Consultant at EPSI