In today’s fast-paced — and often virtual — work environment, advancing your technical skills alone isn’t enough to ensure professional relevancy.
Whole-person development is the key to thriving in your career, whether you’re an experienced professional or a workplace rookie.
Whole-person development, also known as holistic learning or personal skills training, is the development of “human skills”— such as intrapersonal communication, adaptability, and conflict resolution — in addition to more technical skills — things like C++ programming, data set analysis, or process mapping. Developing the whole person, rather than just the skills that directly correlate to tasks or projects, will not only improve your knowledge base but will also allow you to navigate challenges, thrive in your workplace, and produce innovative solutions to drive your organization forward.
Adapt to New and Changing Demands
By investing in a wider variety of personal development, your mind will begin to connect parts of itself that were previously disjointed, naturally strengthening your mental flexibility and resilience. For example, connecting your skills in software engineering with your skills in intrapersonal communication may help you to complete projects more efficiently or weather unexpected challenges more smoothly.
This adaptability and agility will help you to thrive in your career journey and become a leader in your sphere. As challenges come your way, your ability to meet them head-on and produce effective solutions will give you a competitive edge, positioning you to advance more easily in your organization or industry. Being more well-rounded and versatile will also open the door to other transitions, whether it is to new types of positions or even a different industry altogether.
Furthermore, becoming proficient in both technical and human skills will allow you to navigate the multi-faceted demands of hybrid work, a growing trend in the workplace today, which combines multiple disciplines into a single position. Hybrid professionals are expected to bring both technical and soft skills to their positions, and because of this, their jobs are far less likely to be replaced by automation.
Strengthen Company Culture
Personal skills training has also been shown to bridge cross-cultural differences, optimize intrapersonal communication, and increase empathy, creating a more fulfilling work environment. As you grow in your understanding of the way your mind works—where you excel and where you need to improve—you will also grow in your ability to appreciate and relate to this in others as well. This empathy creates an environment in which people feel more comfortable admitting to mistakes or confusion, which allows you and your organization to move forward more efficiently. As a result, the organization thrives, and you and your co-workers enjoy a stronger sense of support and trust at work.
Additionally, whole-person development may also contribute directly to company culture, because the soft skills it teaches include ways to handle problems and ways of achieving and maintaining a positive attitude. When every employee possesses tools to approach or avoid problems, such as time management and conflict resolution, they will not only experience a more rewarding office environment but also will be able to tackle stressful situations more calmly and effectively, knowing that there is room for growth and a network of support.
Holistic learning, by increasing your adaptability and improving stronger company culture, ultimately helps produce growth for your organization. Creating a habit and culture of continual learning and development opens the door for fresh ideas and innovative solutions. As you invest in soft skills such as adaptability, creativity, and conflict resolution, your ability to think of new ideas will skyrocket. As you encourage your co-workers to do the same, you will help create an environment where these new ideas can come from all levels of the organization, as people are less hesitant to point out problems.
Furthermore, holistic learning helps you and your organization grow in ways beyond profit. By widening your skillset and perspective, your capacity to see beyond technical processes will help you strengthen your work strategy and contribute to your organization more effectively. In fact, a recent study with Fortune 500 CEOs found that 75% of long-term job success depends on people skills, while only 25% on technical knowledge. Your leading the way in the adoption of this mindset for your organization will help it advance overall. Companies that care more about people than profit have been proven to be more successful, enjoying lower staff turnover rates, lower occupational stress, sharper decision making, more effective leadership, better team performance, and higher productivity.
Taking the First Step
The benefits of approaching your professional development from a whole-person perspective are numerous, for you personally and for your organization. If you’re interested in taking steps toward your overall self-improvement, take a look at these upcoming opportunities, all designed to increase your resilience and adaptability, enhance your leadership, and foster your well-being.
- Organizational Effectiveness Conference, Part 2: Improve (April 30) – Learn how people, structure, and processes play into the success of an organization and how you can optimize all three through continuous learning and improvement.
- Upcoming courses from our Emotional Intelligence & Resilience certificate – Stress Success and Falling in Love With Life – Strengthen your ability to handle stress and rediscover ways to enjoy life, while also getting a sneak peek into our Emotional Intelligence & Resilience certificate.
- Cross-Cultural Communication Certificate – Learn how to navigate cultural nuances of English communication as a non-native-speaking professional seeking to meet the leadership and communication demands of today’s world.