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The importance of creating a Personal Development Portfolio

Personal Development Portfolio (PDP) is designed to enable us to explore our values, attitudes, style and interpersonal skills and to provide a stage for continuing personal development as a manager and leader. It will advance your ability to critically evaluate the theories relating to personal development, management and leadership skills. A PDP is what person achieves the standard of professional competence relevant to their educational qualifications and experiences that will assure our future requirements such as a professional career in an organisation. When the development enters the higher level, it concentrate more on management and leadership skills in order to provide equivalent support to the organisation’s mission.

Personally, creating a PDP is very important as it helps to evaluate my career progress, to assess where myself now comparing to 5 or few years ago and to have a target for myself in another certain years as well as identify my character and behaviour which will have huge impact on my professional career in the future. As a management student and targeting a professional career in management level it’s important to identify my management philosophy, leadership skills, strengths and weaknesses as it helps to communicate with either senior, tactical or operational level management or the operational staff to have a higher impact in any organisation. In that case it’s important to identify the professional skills and personal skills separately.

Professional Skills

Personal development is more than a training or continuing education. As development of professional skills is not a new concept, it is clear the need of gaining skills in order to climb the career ladder is getting important due to the extremely eventful business conditions. Among the vast number of professional skill some of the important ones that especially significant to myself are discussed below.

Coaching and Mentoring

Coaching and mentoring can be defined as the processes that enable both individual and corporate clients to achieve their full potential. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development defines coaching as helping another person to improve awareness, to set and achieve goals in order to improve a particular behavioural performance. Alternatively mentoring is helping to shape an individual’s beliefs and values in a positive way. Mentoring can be identifying as an ongoing relationship regardless of the duration. It concentrates on both professional and personal development.

Counselling

Counselling involves helping an individual to improve performance by resolving situations from the past. This is a key skill that needed in professional development of a manager in order to resolve long term performance problem effects at work. The best advantage of developing counselling skills is that it is a short term contribution that lasts with long time effects.

Multi tasking

Since the business world started becoming more hectic day by day, the actual industrial world has seen the requirement of people that can multitask in order to increase the productivity. Multitasking has become a widely discussed topic in the present, where some argue that without concentrating on one thing employees can loos their abilities and loose the productivity while the other argue that it is a crucial way of time management.

Leadership Skills

This is one of the most important professional skills that every member of a management team should concentrate. Leadership can be identified as an essential administration skill, in simple words the capability of motivating a group of people towards a common target. Managers who need to develop their leadership skills can benefit by many theories such as Autocrat/Democrat model and XY theory model by Douglas McGregor.

Management philosophy

Personal skills Audit

From the management perspective, skills audit can be defined as an assessment of performances, from both a task and process. Personal skill development is essential at every level of any persons’ career as today business conditions are constantly changing. Employees and managers need to improve their current skills into a highest possible level and should learn new skills. In any organisation, getting the right mix of skills, experiences and qualities is a key ingredient in building an effective management team. The topics discussed below are some of the important personal skills among numerous others that myself can concentrate on developing.

Time Management

Time management is a personal skill that I find one of the most important areas that needs to develop as a prospective manager. Every minute spent in mistaken or incorrect way is a time that effects negatively on the productivity. In any company, managing the time of its tasks is a major requirement and setting priorities and manage the time to meet the dead lines will lead to get over the internal barriers easily.

Influence

Influence is another vital skill which have to develop. As the employees expecting strong leaders to guide their way forward by having a correct influence will constantly increase the productivity. As a manger influence is a personal skill that needs steady developing in order to positively impact on social and work situations.

Stress Management

While everybody in an organisation working in extremely hectic situations mangers must remain calm but energetic and keep their stress level hidden. I strongly believe that needs to go through experiences and personal trainings. When stress level can be managed easily, that will ease the concentration, reduce the interruptions and will become innovative. This is a management method that makes mind and body works easily together.

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Personal SWOT analysis: SWOT analysis identifies strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in my professional life and helps in determining where my position at the moment and where it likely to be. It will keep on track and motivated, help with decision making and improvement of personality to get success in the personal and professional life. In addition to that SWOT analysis is much important than personal profile however it is also a document of personal use.

SWOT analysis

By looking at the above SWOT analysis a clear view can be taken of the current conditions and the future possibilities.

Undertaking a SWOT analyse will assist to carry out a much successful skills audit and it can be useful in management and leadership in many ways such as overcoming the weaknesses, minimising the threats to achieve the goals, increasing strengths, trying for best and more opportunities, knowing reading, writing, learning skills and examining the mentoring, counselling power.

Skills audit given below is also undertaken by the line manager evaluating his personal management and leadership skills.

Learning Cycle and learning Styles

Traditionally, learning has been associated with reading books, attending courses and lectures, etc. However in this fast moving world it has been realised that , learning should be more durable and lifelong and therefore much logical systems should be used. Learning cycle can be identified as an illustration of a engaging and integrating learning methods so that it affects not only thinking but also the behaviour. Many philosophers have explained many learning cycles although the one that David Kolb published in 1984 the most popular. Kolb’s learning cycle is illustrated below and explained.

Kolb identifies four different stages of the learning cycle as below.

Concrete Experience - The cycle starts with doing something in which the individual, team or organisation are allocated a task. Key to learning therefore is active participation.

Reflective Observation – In this stage the person who actually on the learning cycle stepping back from doing and reviewing what has been done and experienced.

Abstract Conceptualisation - At this stage the learner makes comparisons between what they have done, reflect upon and what they already know.

Active Experimentation - The final stage of the learning cycle is when the learner considers how they are going to put what they have learnt into practice. In other words it is a way of planning.

According to Kolb different people naturally prefer a certain single different learning style. Furthermore he identifies four different styles as below.

Diverging - Divergers take experiences and think deeply about them, thus moves away from a single experience to multiple possibilities.

Assimilating – Assimilator’s greatest strength lies in the ability to create theoretical models. Ideas and concepts are more important than people and require good clear explanation rather than practical opportunity.

Converging – Converger likes finding practical uses for ideas and theories, evaluating consequences and selecting solutions. Again this type of learner does not prefer interpersonal situations or people connections, instead they like technical uses.

Accommodating – This learner uses trial and error rather than thought and reflection. He is good at adapting to changing circumstances and get on well with the people.

Honey and Mumford styles of learning illustrate the same actions as above however the names they used are different. The similarity can be given as below.

Activist = Accommodating

Reflector = Diverging

Theorist = Assimilating

Pragmatist = Converging

Learning Style

Leaning style can be identified as capabilities of a person to learn in a particular environment or method. Learning styles are formal-learn into schools, colleges or bookish knowledge and non formal-learn in society and from the experiences.

The way of a person thinks, eat, walk all because of learning and learning styles are visual-learn more by seeing maps, models, reading and visualising, auditory-learn by listening others from interviews, speeches, kinaesthetic-practically, touching and doing like drawing pictures, manipulate formulas.

According to Fleming (2001) there are four different learning styles which he has described as the VARK style.

Visual - These learners need to see the body language and facial expression to fully understand the content of something. They may think in pictures and learn best from visual displays including: diagrams, illustrated text books, overhead transparencies, videos, flipcharts and hand-outs.

Auditory - They learn best through verbal lectures, discussions, talking things through and listening to what others have to say. Auditory learners interpret the underlying meanings of speech through listening to tone of voice, pitch, speed and other nuances.

Reading – These learners prefer to learn many things by reading and writing. Many members of this group like to read book books, articles, journals and other written material and keep notes in order to ease the learning.

Kinesthetic - Tactile/Kinesthetic persons learn best through a hands-on approach, actively exploring the physical world around them. They may find it hard to sit still for long periods and may become distracted by their need for activity

There are many learning styles models been introduced by many people such as Anthony Gregory’s Model, Sudbury model, Honey and Mumford’s Model and Kolb's Model.

According to Kolb different people naturally prefer a certain single different learning style. Furthermore he identifies four different styles as below.

Diverging - Divergers take experiences and think deeply about them, thus moves away from a single experience to multiple possibilities.

Assimilating – Assimilator’s greatest strength lies in the ability to create theoretical models. Ideas and concepts are more important than people and require good clear explanation rather than practical opportunity.

Converging – Converger likes finding practical uses for ideas and theories, evaluating consequences and selecting solutions. Again this type of learner does not prefer interpersonal situations or people connections, instead they like technical uses.

Accommodating – This learner uses trial and error rather than thought and reflection. He is good at adapting to changing circumstances and get on well with the people.

Honey and Mumford styles of learning illustrate the same actions as above however the names they used are different. The similarity can be given as below.

Activist = Accommodating

Reflector = Diverging

Theorist = Assimilating

Pragmatist = Converging

Out of these learning styles It can be explained as an accommodating learner although some situations can drag me to a converger’s position. The graph given below illustrates some of the VARK styles I prefer against management skills.

Skill

VARK Style

Organization and Management

Visual and kinetic

Decision making and problem solving

Kinetic

Planning

Kinetic

Delegation

Auditory and kinetic

Motivation

Visual, auditory and kinetic

Coaching

Visual and kinetic

Target Setting

Auditory, reading and kinetic

Personal Skills

Visual, auditory, reading and kinetic

Written Communications

Reading

Oral Communications

Auditory and reading

Effectiveness and Impact of Learning

Learning at Work gives the chance specially for a line manager to individually alter a route to a more recognised level using the tasks that complete as part of the current role, so both the person and business benefit. It is an important professional experience which uses a unique framework and work-based projects while giving the chance to interact with other work colleagues unlike academic learning. Learning benefits the line mangers position in many ways. Some of them are,

Assessing current work practices and relevant industry experience

Evaluating personal, professional and career objectives.

Identifying the strategic directions and priorities of the employer

Negotiating your own learning plan

Organising work-based projects

Recording progress and achievements

All these benefits can be achieved by using three different methods of learning experiences which are,

Learning from the current job

Learning through experience and

Learning through skills and knowledge

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

CPD can be defined as a lifelong learning process that will be effective through the entire work life. According to Megginson and Whitaker CPD is a Process by individuals take control of their own learning and development by engaging in an ongoing process of reflection and action. It is an effective way of development which easily combines the past, present and provides successful future learning which stimulates people to move towards their dreams.

CPD is most important in someone’s professional life especially when they planning to progress in management field. It provides a personal support to managers to remain successfully in the professional world by organized maintenance and improvement of knowledge, talents and competence, and the enhancement of learning. Bolam (1993) identifies three different ways of delivering CPD methods in to a manager’s professional life as given below.

Professional Training where training courses and other practical methods, enhances the work based knowledge.

Professional education where much longer courses assists to gain research based knowledge

Professional support where different types of activities benefits the reaching of work based targets.

Even though Bolan categorised the delivery of CPD under the three methods given above, him and many other definitions also claim that CPD is much wider technique in professional perspective where Any process or activity involves in increasing level of skill, knowledge or understanding and which enables carry out current range of tasks more effectively or prepares for a future role.

Conclusion

Advanced professional development is an important and very useful part of a manager’s career. Managers must be aggressive and focused in their objectives for professional development. In addition it is their duty to keep the reputation of their position by using different learning systems that are already available.

This report undertook a study of parts of professional development of myself as a line manger working for a department store based in UK. Due to the position of an international student and the studies are stil continuing this position had to be created as an imaginary job, however discussions with an actual line manger became more helpful.

Professional development is an important and very useful part of a manager’s career. Managers must be aggressive and focused in their objectives for professional development. In addition it is their duty to keep the reputation of their position by using different learning systems that are already available. Carefully managed professional development process can be identified as the key aspect of any manager’s career. The report undertook above was an independent document of a section manager’s personal and professional development criteria.

Have described where i have to be in few years and the areas have to improve......

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