7 Simple Ideas to Build Professional Muscle this Year

Professional development like physical fitness and weight loss is oft discussed, frequently initiated and rarely completed. Make this year different.

Here are 7 ideas that like push-ups, build core strength, can be practiced anywhere, and are absolutely free:

1. Listen more and talk less. This under-used sense is your best friend as a professional. Properly honed, your active listening conveys respect and helps you gain value from every interaction.

2. Ask more questions. If you must talk, instead of opining, show that you are curious and ask questions. And then listen.

3. Resist the rush to provide answers to “What do you want me to do?” questions from your team members. . Learn to respond with “What do you think you/we should do?” Few questions are better instructors than this one.

4. Learn to graciously accept constructive feedback. Most of our time in leadership programs and books is spent on learning to give feedback. In my opinion, the true learning starts with you focusing on extracting your own developmental nuggets from every feedback opportunity.

5. Change your meeting habits. Kill excessive status meetings and end the “death by around the table” updates and you and your team members will be the beneficiaries of considerable found time.

6. Read more. With all of your new found time from successfully exorcising wasteful meetings in your life (#5), invest at least 15 minutes every single day in reading something that prompts ideas, challenges you to think and exposes you to others who have overcome great obstacles.

7. Interact more. Repair old relationships and build new ones.  Knock the rust off of dormant relationships, strive to repair broken and burnt bridges and reach out across your organization, industry and vocation to engage with and learn from more as many people as possible.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Start building muscle strength and memory with these portable professional exercises, and you’ll feel and see the difference in no time at all.

Other Relevant Posts:

The Power of Paying Attention

4 Reasons Why Questions are a Leader’s Best Friend

4 Big Reasons to Kill Your Weekly Status Meeting

More Professional Development Reads from Art Petty:

Don’t miss the next Leadership Caffeine-Newsletter! Register herebook cover: shows title Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development by Art Petty. Includes image of a coffee cup.

For more ideas on professional development-one sound bite at a time, check out Art’s latest book: Leadership Caffeine-Ideas to Energize Your Professional Development

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An ideal book for anyone starting our in leadership: Practical Lessons in Leadership by Art Petty and Rich Petro.

Need help with Feedback? Art’s new online program: Learning to Master Feedback

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By | 2016-10-22T17:11:24+00:00 January 1st, 2013|Career, Leadership|3 Comments

About the Author:

Art Petty is a coach, speaker and workshop presenter focusing on helping professionals and organizations learn to survive and thrive in an era of change. When he is not speaking, Art serves senior executives, business owners and high potential professionals as a coach and strategy advisor. Additionally, Art’s books are widely used in leadership development programs. To learn more or discuss a challenge, contact Art.


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  2. skipprichard1 January 11, 2013 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Art, a great list. I am working on “listening” because I want to be present and really listen–not just to the words, but to be in tune with the emotions. It’s all too easy to be multi-tasking and not 100% there.

    • Art Petty January 11, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Skip, I’m right there with you on the listening front. Kudos for your hard work on your own self development! -Art

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