Personal Development

PDJ –  Personal Development Journals cycles are important for an exec – they demonstrate a continuous cycle of learning based on past, empirical evidence. Is it the strongest method of development – beating 360 feedback and line management review. They are also the hardest to master – self  reflection and critical analysis are not easy when the focus is you yourself. There are many techniques for recording self refection – the PDJ being just one of them.


to be able to analyse experiences in a structured way, to develop self-awareness and learn from experience.


based on work of Pedler et al (2001)  Pedler, M., J., and Boydell, T. (2001) A managers guide to self-development (4th ed.) McGraw Hill


  1. What happened: a brief outline of events (keep it narrowly focused). Concentrate of the objective facts, and including what led up to the situation).
  2. My emotions: what was going through your mind – avoid the prefix “I felt..” Be specific about the emotions that you felt e.g. anger, irritation, fear, anxiety, happiness, satisfaction, sadness and how they changed during the event.
  3. My thoughts and ideas: what went through your mind – the dialogue (it may be different to what you actually did)
  4. My action tendencies: what you TYPICALLY do in such situations .
  5. My behaviour: What you actually said and did, and how – verbal and non verbal behaviours. How others responded to your behaviours.
  6. Implications for my development: Lessons learned on your conduct to deal with the situation. What would you do differently next time, what might you change? What can you learn about your Leadership behaviour from analysing the event?

Relevance of the event:

When deciding if the event is suitable to be documented as A PDJ, consider the following points:

  • It should have happened relatively recently, so that you can accurately describe what happened. Remember that you need to be able to recall actual behaviours.
  • The event should involve a SPECIFIC interaction rather than a series of events with one or more people over a period of time.
  • The event does not necessarily have to have been face to face. It could be an email or on the telephone.
  • The event could have had a positive or negative outcome for you. You could have handled it well or perhaps could have handled it better.
  • The event does not have to be a situation where you were in a formal leadership role. It could have been under assumed responsibility.
  • They are most likely to be around work events, though leading a sports or social team is just as applicable

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