We all need to grow — not only to stay engaged in our work but also to keep up with our employers’ changing needs. And this is the perfect time of year to set personal development goals and start making progress on them. No matter what skills you’d like to improve, it’s important to know where to begin. Amy Gallo of hbr.org has put together 7 important dimensions that one could work on in order to improve themselves professionally.
Productivity. Time management is a perennial thorn in most managers’ sides. How can you possibly get everything done with not enough hours in the day? A lot of the advice out there presumes that one size fits all. But in fact, your cognitive style — that is, the way you prefer to perceive and process information — can have a dramatic impact on how you manage your time. So before you try out a new program or app, take this assessment to understand your own style and discover productivity tips that like-minded people have found most effective.
Work/life balance. If your New Year’s resolutions included making more time for family, volunteering more regularly, or even just going to the gym, you’ll probably need to figure out how to fit those activities into your schedule. In this assessment, you can compare your priorities with how you actually allocate your time and energy. Once you’ve answered questions about four key areas — work, home, community, self — Wharton professor Stewart Friedman provides practical guidance and a useful exercise for addressing the critical gaps.
Cultural skills. In this increasingly global world of work, it’s essential to collaborate with people from different cultures. Yet even seasoned, cosmopolitan managers often have oversimplified ideas about how other cultures operate. This assessment helps you see key differences in eight areas where cultural gaps are most common, like communicating, scheduling, trusting, and disagreeing — and shows you how you compare with the norm for your culture in each area.
Emotional intelligence. Relationships matter at work, and you need emotional intelligence to be an effective manager. With this quiz, you can test yourself on five critical EI skills — emotional self-awareness, positive outlook, emotional self-control, adaptability, and empathy. In addition to your score on each component, Annie McKee of the University of Pennsylvania shares an exercise to help you enhance your self-awareness by getting feedback from trusted friends or colleagues.
You might also take this assessment on emotional agility — the ability to manage your thoughts and feelings. Everyone has an inner stream of thoughts and feelings that includes criticism, doubt, and fear. By answering the questions in this assessment, you can identify your own patterns when it comes to avoiding or buying into those negatives thoughts. At the end, you’ll receive advice on how to respond more mindfully.
Communication skills. If this is an area you’d like to improve, you’re not alone. The popularity of our grammar quiz shows just how many struggle with writing. Review the 10 sentences and decide whether you think they’re grammatically correct. You’ll find out if you’re right, get feedback on how to improve the broken sentences, and receive a final score benchmarking your results against other test takers.
Finance skills. Of course, it’s equally important to be financially literate, especially if you’re eager to advance in your organization. This 10-question finance quiz comes from the HBR Guide to Finance Basics for Managers. When you finish taking it, you’ll see which answers are correct, and why, so you can brush up on key concepts you need to learn to become a more effective manager.
Managing your boss. This assessment asks what you would do in five “managing up” scenarios. After selecting your answers, you learn which approaches experts recommend. You also receive links to further reading on how to cultivate your most important relationship at work — your relationship with your boss.
This post was originally published here on hbr.org in January 2016. TheYoungProfessionalGroup.com takes no credit for the work of the author.