How to help staff manage their careers

Public service managers guide, mentor and develop people. This, in part, means identifying learning opportunities for others, encouraging staff to engage in development opportunities, and identifying knowledge gaps.

What are some of the specific actions managers can take to fulfil this role and foster a positive, learning environment? Here are ten actions:

  1. foster self-knowledge by encouraging people to reflect on what they do, how they do it, what results they obtain. Look for opportunities for staff to complete tools that give insight into personal preferences and how they differ from other people.(e.g. Myers-Briggs, DISC, Influence Dimensions)
  2. provide skill-building challenging work
  3. think creatively about rewards and recognition
  4. encourage phased retirement so that corporate knowledge can be passed on
  5. be generous with feedback. Compliment people with specific and general positive comments. Use civil courtesies frequently (e.g. please and thank you)
  6. listen to people’s ideas. Encourage staff to offer ideas.
  7. take professional development planning seriously
  8. keep your commitments about learning and development
  9. model excellence by taking your professional development seriously
  10. support staff who take on further study.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.