This week I attended a conference on leadership for new managers and supervisors in Washington, DC. The various seminars were produced by National Seminars Group, a division of Rockhurst University Continuing Education Center, Inc. I have learned that continuing my professional education and training through seminars and conferences is one of the most important (and relaxing) things I can do for myself as a stufessional. It is nice to meet and mix with professionals from across the country with whom you share common experiences, ideas and concerns. The food is generally pretty good and it is also an excuse to turn off your blackberry or cell phone and activate that well-beloved "out of office" message.
Many organizations budget external training into your benefits package already (and may or may not tell you that) so find out what your company has to offer and take advantage of it. It looks great on a resume and should be a question all of us ask during job interviews. "What sorts of continuing education opportunities are available to me if I choose Company X or Non-Profit Y?"
As a part of a seminar on assertiveness, I learned that there are four ways to manage people; as a dominator (Executive Ed), a Persuador (Socializer Sally), a Stabalizer (Loyal Lou) or an Analyzer (Factual Fred). Which style are you? I also learned that assertiveness is being able to state what I see, what I think, what I am, what I want and what I intend without making any statements about you. Other things I learned include how to develop my own mission statement, create "liftscripts" or templates for dealing with tough personal and professional dialogues, that my body language matters more than my words, that I should offer a recommendation for solution when I task an employee because expectations should always be defined and finally, that habits form after a mere 21 days of repeating a behaviour.
Perhaps there is nothing in the above paragraph that you did not already know. Perhaps you think, wow, what a waste of three days, Anna. Well, to that I say: you may be right but it was free, it was empowering, I met some really cool people and they served a strawberry layer cake that was to die for!
Washington DC is a hub for professional conferences and seminars. Talk to your employer today about continuing your education through training and watch the stress melt away for at least a few hours or a couple of days.