PERMISS

Individual Self-Development

Learning is a lifelong process. Army civilians must commit to a lifetime of professional and personal growth to stay at the cutting edge of their profession and keep pace with changing Army environment. Every civilian is responsible for his own development. Accurate assessment, by individuals, commanders, and supervisors of individuals is key to determining strengths, weaknesses, and developmental needs. An individual may choose a professional reading and writing program, professional conferences, affiliations with professional organizations, correspondence courses, off duty advanced schooling, or other appropriate self-development activities. Self-development provides a means to acquire knowledge not developed in the schoolhouse or operational experience and follows the Army's lifelong learning philosophy.

Supervisors should work with employees to identify training and development needs, and encourage participation in the continuing educational activities of schools and professional associations. Self-development efforts are initiated and usually funded by the employee and are normally completed during non-duty hours. In some cases, however, accommodations may be made if an employee wishes to attend an education, training or development activity on duty time, especially if it has the potential of increasing the employee's contributions to the mission. For example, the employee's hours of duty, work schedule, or lunch period may be changed temporarily to allow for self-development activities.

One of the three domains of leader development is self-development. Self-development is continuous and should be emphasized in both institutional and operational assignments. Successful self-development requires a team effort. Self-development starts with an assessment of individual strengths, weaknesses, potential, and developmental needs. Com-manders and leaders provide feedback to enable subordinates to determine the reasons for their strengths and weaknesses. Together, they prioritize self-development goals and determine courses of action to improve performance.

Self-development is a planned process involving the leader and the subordinate being developed. It enhances previously acquired skills, knowledge, behaviors, and experience; contributes to personal development; and highlights the potential for progressively more complex and higher-level assignments. Self-development focuses on maximizing individual strengths, minimizing weaknesses, and achieving individual development goals.

Initial self-development is very structured and generally narrow in focus. The focus broadens as individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses, determine their individual needs, and become more experienced. Each individual's knowledge and perspective increases with experience, institutional training, and operational assignments. It is accelerated and broadened by specific, goal-oriented self-development actions. Self-development actions may include self study, reading programs, Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS), or community leadership positions that support development goals.

Content last reviewed: 3/20/2007-DLS

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This page was last revised: 12/28/2011