The majority of my early career was working for a huge and beloved brand. The company was very focused on professional development for staff. Often trainers came onsite to work with various departments on topics like communication, or managing diverse personalities, or team leadership. If I ever identified a conference, or a seminar, or a workshop I wanted to attend, money would be found and off I would go. Wanting to learn and improve was treated as a very good thing.
It was surprising to find that not all organizations treat professional development the same. Some organizations do not invest in professional development and, even worse, in some organizations, there is a stigma attached to professional development.
During many interviews, members told me that managers or coworkers convey that asking for professional development is the same as admitting weakness. If a professional asks for managerial training, it must be because they are a terrible manager. If they ask to take a course in communication skills, they must be a lousy communicator. In this kind of environment, the professional is shammed into NOT getting the professional development they need.
Shaming around professional development is unthinkable to many of us but, some professionals say it happens at their organizations and this is a problem association can solve.
When associations offer soft skill training (i.e., first time manager, how to motivate your team, how to influence without authority, etc.) members can attend without managers or coworkers ever knowing. This kind of training can be bundled with conference attendance or membership and so never generates an invoice, or a special trip, and ultimately the interest of critical coworkers.
Might there be a professional development stigma at some of your member’s organizations?