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Personal and professional skills, my weaknesses and strengths

This report is to examine my personal and professional skills, to identify my weaknesses and strengths and make some personal plans on how to improve and enhance them.

Activity 1: Personal Skills Review

Decision Making

Everyday and every step of the way we are making decision, one way or another. Decision making involves risks, and I would say that it is one of my weaknesses. It could be the culture or the familial orientation I have, where decision making is the responsibility of the father or the husband in the family. I know I have a good understanding and better judgement when it comes to assessing certain situations, but my skills in decision making is not exercised. I want to develop that skill but I had no confidence in voicing out my opinion in the workplace and at home.

As Pettinger (2001) said it is impossible to predict with certainty the outcome of decisions, but it is possible to take certain steps to assess the possible range of outcomes. In decision making, it is always coupled with certain risks that the decision maker has to undergo. I should be able to handle and cope with the outcome of the decision I make. I should be prepared to face what could possibly be the outcome of my decisions. There should be an alternative plan if anything goes wrong. Careful planning must be considered before coming up with a decision in order to avoid negative results. I should study and analyse important information relative to the planned activities before making a decision in order to lessen if not to avoid pitfalls in decision making. Taking ample time to review planned activities is one of the best strategies for the managers and supervisors to consider in ensuring successful outcomes.

I should enhance my skills in decision making by participating in the planning of activities at home and in the workplace. I lack the determination and the courage for fear of making failures and blamed for it. The lack of courage to stand up and said

my piece has shunned all the good opportunities that had come my way. I should try to develop confidence and take some risks in order to achieve what I wanted to accomplish with my life.

Effective Communication

As an individual I believe that effective communication keeps a healthy personal or professional relationship with the people I am interacting with, be it at home, at work or in any circumstances where my personal opinion is required. There are a lot of ways to communicate and it is not only the idea of transmitting my message but also how I deliver the message effectively. It is clear therefore, that it is not just the words stated or written that are important, but also (Pettinger, 2001):

The ways they are spoken or written

The context in which they are spoken or written

The relationship between those giving and those receiving

What is not stated or written

What is precise

What is deliberately vague

Effective communication elicits good relations, improves the quality of life, motivates people and therefore yields better interpersonal relationship at home and at work.

In my personal experience, I am successful in transmitting messages verbally and get feedback promptly. I have a good skill in verbal communication and consider this as one of my strengths. It is an advantage, I would say, because I was able to help the small business of my husband and his brother. I may not be a part of the decision making process concerning the business but I was able to attract customers through my ability to communicate effectively. My personal strategy is listening to suggestions made by clients; listen to questions raised before giving my personal opinion about the situation. This could open communication line between me and the customers and create friendly relationship and gain their loyalty and patronage.

Negotiating Skills

John Hayes (2002) said that we are all negotiators. Negotiation is a process of joint decision making in which people with different preferred outcomes interact in order to resolve.

Negotiating is the process of coming to terms of agreement considering the factors of personal relationship, the status, gender, racial, and age differences, reputation, expectations, timing and work pressure. It is the art of discussing with another party to come up with agreeable terms such as determining what I and that of the other party wants and don’t want for a particular situation. It is the understanding of what is acceptable to me and for the other party and what is not acceptable. Negotiating is a two-way process. You take and benefit without having the other party being disadvantaged.

I have a personal talent in negotiating things and I have applied it to help the business run by my husband and his brother. I build rapport with our clients and customers. Negotiation is a win-win process. In situations like this when the customer demands some things and services relative to the business, I am in the frontline to deal with the situation. I see to it that the demands of the customers will be granted without compromising the generated profit of the company. When customers start to negotiate, they have already in mind the kind of benefit they hoped to get. In negotiating I have to be pleasant in dealing with the person I am making a deal with but sometimes I have to be a little bit aggressive but not intimidating to protect my own desired outcomes. My skill in negotiating has helped a lot in the success of our small business. I gained not only customers but also good friends. My communication skills improved my ability to interact with the people I am dealing with in everyday life. Even in my own home I practice how to negotiate because children are very good negotiators. It is not giving the desires of the other party while my own interest suffers and vice versa. There is always a common ground of agreement to achieve that would benefit both negotiating parties and that is where my skill in negotiating will take place.

Activity 2: Professional Skills Review

Coaching Skills

Coaching is assessing the people and organizational needs and provided them with the necessary knowledge, skills and expertise to achieve organizational goals. A coach or a mentor is an advisor who guides the person to perform better or to learn new techniques on how to do task effectively. A manager in an organization will help improve the working performance of the employees if the manager possesses the skill on how to coach. Coaching is more than just imparting your ideas, skills and knowledge to your subordinates. According to Zeus, P and Skiffington, S. (2002) coaching also focuses on function and performance of an individual; builds rapport and listening, questioning and reflecting skills; use goal setting and action plan. It is also monitoring the extent of their progress and assesses the area the learner still need to improve. The employees of the Parts and Services Company produce very good services to their clients because they are very skilled in their craft. They have acquired their skill thru their managers who are very patient in introducing some new skills to them. A good performance reflects a good coach. Employees will have a high regard for themselves if they know the details of how a certain task is done. A productive employee will also produce good results and the credit will go to the manager who serves as a mentor or coach. An effective coaching will help employees to be motivated to learn more not only for purposes of career advancement but also for the company’s objectives to be realized. Employee effectiveness also depends how they are trained skilfully, either by coaching or mentoring, and positive counselling. Learning cannot be applied effectively in the absence of one-on-one follow up from the coach. It is necessary for the manager coach to see how much the employee has learned from the personal training given by putting the learner to practice what he has learned. The coaching technique must vary from person to person because there are fast learner people and some need detailed explanation and information. That is why a good coach must possess the quality of being patient.

Leadership Skills

Through good mentoring and counselling we can produce good leaders. Wikipedia-Dictionary defined counselling as the provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social or psychological problems and difficulties especially by a trained person on a professional basis. In the other hand, mentoring is a personal development tool helping people to progress and realize its potentials.

The managers of Parts and Service Company were not only good in their skills in counselling, but are also good mentors. They identify the employees who have the potentials of becoming good leaders and encouraged and helped them to develop their skills through mentoring and counselling.

A good leader must have a flexible personality. Leadership skill is acquired, therefore through practice and experience a manager can be a good and effective leader.

The success of an organization depends greatly on the leadership of the people managing it. Leadership is the capacity to influence other people in the organization. A good leader is followed and respected by the people he is working with. Parts and Service Company employees look up to their manager not only because he has contributed much to the achievement of company objectives, but because of his manner in leading the people he is working with. He does not only lead people but he also coaches at the same time, imparting to them his expertise that made him the role model in the organization. He leads by example. The qualities of a good leader is characterized by a having a sense of responsibility, work hard to complete a task, determination to achieve goals, exercise initiative in social situations, self confident, the ability to respond positively to stress and the ability to influence other people. (Bernard Bass, 3rd Edition).

Employees are encouraged to find some ways to develop and enhance skills. They are motivated to strive and work hard to be as successful as their leader. A leader who does not care about the welfare of the employees can do nothing to meet organizational objectives set by the management. Employees will not get anything good from leaders that think only of their own personal benefit without considering the welfare of other people in the organization. Good leaders are first to approach their staff to give commendations if the job is satisfactorily done and the first to show concern to those who need encouragement.

We always look up to a good and successful leader and we want to be influenced by their ability to handle complex things that led to their success. Their ability to cope with stressful situations, to stand and endure failure, to solve problems in the organization is admirable. Successful leaders have gone through a lot of frustrations but managed to overcome it and boost their confidence as an individual.

Multi-Tasking Skills

Multi-tasking is the ability of the person to do more than one task all at the same period of time. The employees given the responsibility to do this task must be well trained in performing the tasks in order to complete it in a given time. Multi-tasking saves cost and money but the quality of work may suffer as a result. It can benefit the organization because of reduced cost. Likewise it will benefit the employees because it will develop their knowledge and skills in performing some tasks other than what they are familiar doing. Adjustment in the part of the employees performing multi tasking is difficult if the sudden change is introduced. Multi task require a high degree of skill because the employee is placed in a variety of task that he must be ready to perform and complete. It is difficult for the person doing the multi-tasking but in the long run it is beneficial to the person because it will give him the advantage to be recognized if he performs what is expected of him to do. This will give the employee the chance for career advancement. The person doing multi-tasking must be creative and innovative. But the management must take some caution not to overload the person doing the multi-task. The person might be stressed out and cannot perform well. Poor performance will result to poor productivity. Stressed people have the tendency to get sick that could be avoided. Management must follow up the output of the person doing the multi task to know if the person is capable of doing it and see to it that that the person doing is well trained to avoid problems that can affect the performance of the entire organization.

Multi-tasking helps the organization in many ways one of which is the financial cost. The task of two people can be performed by one if there is similarity of function in the task. The quality of output will not be affected if the mentors are religiously following and monitoring the performance of the employees. Counselling is important to give encouragement to the employees with overloaded tasks. Mentoring and counselling is important where multi-tasking is introduced to the organization.

Task 2: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

Activity 1: Personal audit

I requested two (2) of my friends to help me assess my personal skills and to give me pointers on how to develop my weak points. As decision making is my weakness which I wanted to improve, they have given me their personal opinion on how to develop it. They suggested that I should:

Assert if I think that my opinion is worth considering

Communicate effectively so that my views will be heard

Build my confidence

Present relevant points of my opinion

Assert to present my good ideas

The points they have suggested will help develop and enhance my decision making skill. I have good and better ideas when it comes to family matters. My husband has the authority to make decisions in my home I have the tendency to keep silent. I have to be assertive because I want to be a part in the decisions and plans in my family. I have to enhance my communication skills in order to be heard and respected. And I also need to build my confidence in order to have the courage to assert.

B. PERSONAL AUDIT QUESTIONNAIRE

Please tick the appropriate option on the following rating scale (1-5), 1 being the weakest and 5 being the strongest.

Name: ____________________________

Date: ______________________

1

2

3

4

5

I am confident to talk in front of many people

I can express my ideas well

I cannot influence people easily

I take responsibility of my actions

I cannot manage pressure

I cannot give relevant ideas on certain topics

I can take risk

I cannot solve problems easily

C. Analysis

1

2

3

4

5

I am confident to talk in front of many people

1

1

I can express my ideas well

l

l

I cannot influence people easily

l

l

I take responsibility of my actions

l

l

I cannot manage pressure

ll

I cannot give relevant ideas on certain topics

ll

I can take risk

ll

I cannot solve problems easily

ll

Based on the above answers obtained, it was identified that my skills in decision making is the weak points but I have the potentials to become a good decision maker because I can take responsibility well and take risk if needed. I might be observed to be weak in expressing my ideas, but I know I have good ones. I just have to develop my confidence. Solving problems is always a joint process between me and my husband, and I know I can enhance that skill in time. I will consider the suggestions of my friends in order to develop my personal and professional skills.

Activity 2: Progression Plan

The SWOT analyses

Strengths

Weaknesses

Communication skills

Negotiating

Multi-tasking

Good learner

Confidence

Stress Management

Decision making

Handling Conflict

Opportunities

Threats

My opinion is considered

Encouragement from my family

Support from friends

I have good ideas

Culture

Environment

Level of responsibility

Arguments and debates

Learning Style Application

Honey and Mumford have identified four main learning style preferences, namely:

Activist – persons who like to be involved in new experiences and new ideas.

Reflector – persons who like to collect data, and review before presenting conclusions.

Theorist – persons who adapt and integrate observations into complex and logically sound theories.

Pragmatist – persons who are more practical by nature; likes concepts that can be applied to their job.

My goal is to develop my skill in decision making. It won’t be hard for me because I have the determination and the potential to give good ideas. In order to achieve this goal I will use the reflector style of learning identified by Honey and Mumford. This style of learning reflects my qualities being careful, thorough, methodical, thoughtful, good at listening and absorbing information and don’t jump to conclusion. My learning process will be fast and easy because different kinds of information are accessible.

Monitoring

I have to monitor the progress of my learning to know if I have improved or not. I have to identify mistakes incurred in the process so that I will be able to correct them. I will provide for myself a diary or activity planner where I can write activities that will help me strengthen my weaknesses. I should incorporate in my diary or planner activities like: where the learning took place; people involved; reason for undertaking the learning; what was learnt; topics covered and skills developed

My family and friends will also help me in the learning process by asking them comments if I have improved skilfully and intellectually.

In monitoring I should be able to identify my priorities for personal and professional development. I will also see if there are opportunities for developing my skills. I will create an action plan and evaluate my personal performance.

From time to time I will ask a colleague or family member who can honestly assess the progress of my learning. The feedback will help me see the areas I still need to improve and the skills I have to enhance.

 


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