How To be Autonomous In Your Development And Growth

Autonomy in Your Development and Growth Comes From Learning, Knowledge and Experience. Three Superpowers We All Have within Us

Tony’s Story — Going Across rather than Up the Proverbial WorkLife Ladder

Tony is a sales negotiator in residential property. While he really enjoys his work, he feels his development and growth has stagnated. For the moment there is no scope for him to advance his position within the company — and he is fine with that, because he enjoys his day-to-day work. But he does feel the need to stretch himself more, and he wants to develop new skills — to go across rather than up the proverbial career ladder.

He identified that he wanted to develop his coaching and training skills, and figured the best way to get started at this would be to teach something to someone. He had a wealth of knowledge, and so he asked himself what the smallest and simplest thing he could do to teach someone was.

A fundamental part of his role was building rapport and connecting with people both on the phone and in person. Tony excelled at this, as did his fellow sales colleagues, but he had observed that other colleagues in different functions sometimes struggled. While this was not necessarily integral to all roles, Tony felt this was a WorkLife skill that would benefit everyone, regardless of whether they needed it in their particular role.

Because it was something that had always come naturally to him, he had never given much thought as to how he did it. So he began to break down the steps, which he identified as being:

  1. Open with a smile;
  2. Be himself;
  3. Be friendly;
  4. Listen well;
  5. Show real interest;
  6. Find common ground;
  7. Go off-script.

He noted questions he used throughout the call or meeting to build and maintain rapport, to really connect with people.

The company ran Friday Lunch and Learn sessions where people imparted their knowledge to a captive audience of pizza eaters. Tony put forward his idea for a session on building rapport, which attracted a lot of interest. He wanted to make it fun, and so he asked people to share experiences and ideas for good, bad and ugly sales calls, which he then developed into roleplay scenarios. 

People loved it and wanted more. Tony was happy to oblige and is setting out to develop a series of coaching and training programmes, as well as more Friday Lunch and Learn sessions.

Develop Your WorkLife Story

In today’s world there are not always opportunities to climb the proverbial WorkLife ladder. There will often be few or no positions to grow into. You can, however, continue your development and growth through learning, knowledge and experience, in or out of your workplace.


Becoming an Autonomous Self-Development and Growth Agent Assignment

Begin by asking yourself:

How do I want to develop and grow?


What do I want to develop and grow into?


What learning, knowledge and experience do I want to gain?

What opportunities either in or out of the workplace will facilitate this?

Having this awareness will help you to identify the opportunities you need to facilitate your development and growth wants and needs.

This story is one of the stories featured in my book: How To Be Autonomous In Your Development And Growth, from The School Of WorkLife Book Series.

Click on the above title for an inside view of the book, where you will see the stories and assignments. Tap the link below to see the other books in the series.

The stories I write are based on real WorkLife challenges, obstacles and successes. In some stories I share my own experiences, and with permission stories of people I’ve worked with, whose names have been changed to protect their anonymity. Other persons and companies portrayed in the stories are not based on real people or entities.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.