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How to Find Time to Develop Your Leadership Skills

02/13/2015 03:04 pm ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

Are you so caught up in the day-to-day grind of addressing personnel matters, budget concerns and sudden crises that there never seems to be time to even think about improving yourself at work?

If so, you're unfortunately in good company. Surveys show that federal leaders consistently give themselves poor grades when it comes to engaging in professional development. There are some ways around this dilemma, though, for both public and private sector workers at all levels.

Since it's easy to be overwhelmed and unsure of where to start, I've found it helpful to focus on several key steps.

First, break your goal into smaller pieces. That is, establish incremental goals and then devote 30 minutes to an hour each day or week to achieving those milestones.

A good way to keep yourself disciplined about this is to set up regular meetings with a colleague you admire and who possesses a skill you wish to develop, or even a friend who can serve as a confidential sounding board for some tough issues you are tackling. This means you'll need to step away from your desk for lunch or a cup of coffee, but the time is likely to yield dividends.

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This post was originally featured on The Washington Post's website.