Getting the best out of ourselves and others

If you’ve worked with me, or read the last blog I wrote, you’ll know that I’m someone who believes passionately in making the most of people’s unique abilities. I found out late in my working life that I’m dyslexic and did a lot of thinking about what this meant for me and my career in communications. I came to realise that what I’d achieved was not despite my dyslexia but because of the strengths it gives me. 

Headshot of woman smiling

I’m convinced that what matters most is discovering what we are each best at, together with the areas we find more challenging, so we can build the confidence to manage both. From the feedback I got after my last blog, I know that many of you feel the same.  So when we started discussing GCS’ new approach to learning and development, I knew it would be important to focus our minds on unlocking the many talents of our people.   

Sometimes it can be hard to get our heads out of the day job, especially after such a busy year responding to a global pandemic! That’s where the new curriculum can help. It provides guidance on the types of learning that you can consider, from on the job to mentoring and shadowing through to formal training, and how to best record your progress. You’re responsible for developing a plan that works for you, but you’re not alone. Your manager and DoC will help create the time to do this.

Celebrating our best 

Learning and development has always been at the heart of GCS. But if we’re all honest, most of us are probably guilty of not prioritising our own development as much as we should have during recent busy times. That’s not to say we haven’t been learning – in fact it’s how we deal with the most difficult times that shape us. From working at home and leading teams virtually to managing the unexpected closure of the French border two days before Christmas, this year has personally taught me an incredible amount.

Early last year we also launched the GCS Leadership Framework to recognise that it’s not just what we do, but how we do it. As well as investing in our capabilities, as communications professionals we also need to be connected, creative and collaborative.

In the intervening year, we’ve realised more than ever that, while where – and even when – we do things matters far less than we thought, ourbehaviours are more critical than ever. We achieved what we did over the last year because of the incredible people we have working in GCS – dedicated, hardworking and creative even in the face of the most unexpected turn of events. 

The excellent GCS learning and development (L&D) roadshows over the past weeks have shown the levels of passion you all have to prioritise all these things, especially as we move back toward a more proactive campaigning approach. So, I’m delighted to say that this month we are launching a new GCS Professional Development Award. 

Here is the best bit. Anyone can nominate anyone, including yourselves, to showcase the great work people have done to develop themselves and/or others… I’d really encourage you to consider how people went about it, as well as the impact it had, as both matter equally. By sharing the stories of our winners, we hope to provide further inspiration while raising awareness and understanding of the importance of investing in our own talents, and those of our colleagues.

Photograph of keyboard, glasses, paper clip, post-it note (which reads: "never stop learning"), pen, and clock.

The GCS: a profession of many talents

So, as we embark on a new performance year and look to celebrate the development of brilliant individuals and teams, I’d encourage each and every one of you to consider the following questions. What unique talents do you possess? After a tough year, what are you going to do to nurture them? What areas would you like to strengthen and how could you do that?

Ultimately, all we can ask of ourselves is to be the best we possibly can. That means creating the right environment where everyone can thrive. For your part, don’t be afraid to offer to get involved in areas outside of your day job and ask to learn more about the areas that interest you.

Along with my Director of Communications colleagues, I look forward to sharing and celebrating the amazing individuals and exceptional teams through the GCS Professional Development Award. Beyond that, I hope that together we can create a profession where we see the value in creating a profession of many unique talents and encourage everyone to be their very best.

    Image credits:
  • Suzanne Edmond (1)
  • Shutterstock/ Bychykhin Olexandr (2)