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Methods to improve personal and professional skills

Methods to improve personal and professional skills

Successful jobs and promotions seekers recognize their degrees and work experience are not enough to distinguish them from the crowded field of candidates. Though college degrees, professional certificates and experience help you meet the minimum criteria to apply, once you get the chance to interview your demonstrated communication, self management and behavioral skills combined with your presence is what will distinguish you from the competition. Your level of professionalism will relate directly to the degree to which you will RISE ABOVE THE CROWD! We may be a valued employee but if our skills and contributions don't accelerate over the years, especially in tough time like credit crunch, we may find our self out of a job. It's good that the boss likes you, but when are up against serious challenges to the ongoing success of the company, being a liked, known quantity is not enough. The only way we could find successful carrier by Exploring and evaluate methods to improve personal and professional skills and explore methods to improve them. Moreover, company must visualize our talents and contributions as essential to the company's future success. If we are doing a decent job, our reporting employees like and get along with us, and the job is getting done, we'll likely coast for a little. Change is difficult even when change would be beneficial the organization.

Personal skill is something which is the inner responsibility and self esteem. If we take some aspects of personal skill it can be categorized into the followings:

Carefulness:

This is what we can say think before acting. This helps with reducing the chance for costly errors, as well as keeping a steady workflow going. [1]

Cooperation:

It is the willingness to cooperate in a working environment with your colleagues or work mates.

Creativity:

This is the thinking and imagination or you can say different perception in order to bring something positive in the organisation. It is also called as ‘'thinking out of box''.

Discipline:

This includes the ability to complete the task with enthusiastic and determined way
without being distracted or bored.

Drive:

Every business needs people with the drive and ‘'to do'' attitude for their growth.

Good attitude:

This has been shown to predict counter productive work behaviors, job performance and theft.

Goodwill:

This is a long term record of the person who has got some well-intentioned remarks on his behalf.

Influence:

This includes the motivational power to influence people in order to maintain a good working team. A strong leader can influence a mass and carry out them in a way to reap gain.

Optimism:

Productivity is directly proportional to positive attitude which is the optimism.

Order:

This show the proper placement of thing in order to retrieve them easily when and wherever it is needed.

Safe work behavior:

Every organisation needs people with knowledge of self protection and safety rules. These include the general fire alarm and first-aid knowledge.

Savvy:

This is about knowledge about your co-workers behavior and personality and way of dealing with them. It includes a tendency to read other people's motives from observed behavior and use this information to guide one's thinking and action.

Sociability:

This is all about socializing while working in the work place. The more you socialize the better less job tensions and more productivity.

Stability:

This means a tendency to maintain composure and rationality in stressful work situations.

The Professional skills are as followings:

COMMUNICATION:

It is again can be divided into two parts- Verbal and Non Verbal (or Written). [2]

Oral-

Public speaking, general conversation, seminars, conferences, presentations, workshops and negotiation.

Written-

Letters, proposals, reports, speeches, manuals, press releases, articles for periodicals and publications

PROBLEM SOLVING:

It is the skill needed by the employer in order to work efficiently in times when the situation demands and no one there to help. It also can be taking initiative in case of a problem while others find it hard to tackle. It can be classified as followings: [3]

Trouble shooting-

Problem identification, problem analysis and problem resolution

Personnel-

Employee morale and satisfaction, productivity and efficiency, work simplification and work flow improvement

Customer and Public Relations-

Liaison and coordination, improvement in customer service and satisfaction and client support.

Personal and Professional development plan

Most importantly it is crucial to remember that personal and professional development need to be intentional if they are to result improve individual and organization effectiveness. Plans should connect individual and institution need to meaningful activities. Outcome associated with those activities should be evaluated.
Professional development is incomplete without continue professional development (CPD).This normally assists us to orient our self to the subject and in the course of doing so, CPD is a process by which individuals take control of their own learning and development. This progression is empowering and exciting and can inspire people to achieve their goal and move toward their dreams.

CPD core concept is the we (as an employee) is in control, CPD is holistic process and can address all aspects of life and balance between them, regular looking forward how we want to be, reflecting on how we are working from our present position towards the future direction, helps in achieving CPD`s purpose and adds hunger and direction to work and learning. CPD works if we have the support and financial backing of our employer and it also works even if the employer is unconcerned or hostile.(Megginson, Whitaker,2003)

Value of competence framework in an organisation

 Make companies recruitment process more successful by using competencies to establish the crucial match between job candidates and the demand of the role.
 Manage employee's performance more effectively by using competencies to provide performance benchmarks and identify those employees with potential.
 Design a more appropriate training and development programme by using competencies to identify learning needs.
 Improve motivation by using competencies to clarify the link between pay and performance. (Amstrong,2000)
Value of competence framework in individuals

 It help to develop and define competencies that are a valuable management tool, providing a common language and framework for understanding organizations performance.
 Explore how to select the competency model that best suits organizations need.
 Helps to understand the fundamental components involved in designing an effective competency framework.
 Effectively implement the competency framework to ensure it contributes organization success.
 Helps to overcome the critical challenges that so often effective implementation
 Improve professional experience through discussions. ( Amstrong,2000)

Importance of Planning

We tend to use any excuse not to get down to work, and one is uncertainty over where to begin; “Shall I do this or that?” And the uncertainty becomes an excuse for doing something else and in the end we would be running around like headless chickens not knowing what to do next. So it's highly imperative to plan in advance so that there will be clear structure of how to execute the particular task successfully. The simple expedient of writing a list of various things to do and the order in which you are going to do them can save a considerable amount of time. Although it is important not be overly ambitious while planning as you can always do something extra at the end if time permits. When you make a list of everything you have to do the following day, your subconscious mind works on that list all night long and when you wake up next day, you will be able to generate more insights and develop strategies to help accomplish the task in hand. It will also help to use manpower, opportunities and resources you need to achieve your goals and complete the assignment successfully. So planning well in advance is necessary and recommended because it eradicates all the doubts and ambiguity regarding the task and helps an individual to forge ahead and complete the task in the best possible way. [6]

Stress management techniques

Job stress and its related conditions, job burnout, contribute to poor physical and mental health. Employee stress is a source of discomfort and a major concern to managers and stockholders. According to research, a worker stress cost $300 billion annually due to lot of productivity, increase workers' compensation claims, and anxiety in general of dread, fear or worry for no immediate reason, and is a symptom of stress. Behavioral symptoms include nervous habits, such as facial twitching, and sudden decreases in job performance due to forgetfulness and errors in concentration or judgment. The control techniques consist of both actions and mental evaluations that help people take change in stress situation.

(a) Get social support- Few people can do it alone when experiencing prolonged stress. Receiving social support - encouragement, understanding and friendship- from other people is an important strategy for coping successfully with job stress.
(b) Improve your work habit- This technique can be used for improving your personal productivity to reduce stress. People typically experience stress when they feel themselves losing control of their work assignments. Conscientious employees are especially prone to negative stress when they cannot get their work under control.
(c) Develop positive self talk- Stress resistant people are basically optimistic and cheerful. This kind of positivism can be learned by switching to positive talk instead of thinking about negative thoughts.
(d) Demand less than perfection from yourself- By demanding les than 100% performance than yourself, you will fail less frequently in your own perception. Not measuring up to one's own unrealistically high standards creates a considerable amount stress. Few human can operate with zero defects or ever achieve six-sigma perfection.
(e) Strive not to neglect aspects of life outside of work- There is a big difference between a negative type of workaholic and a person who simply works hard and long to achieve constructive goals. A negative workaholic usually becomes anxious when not working. When a person neglects other aspects of life outside of work, such as spending time with family, friends and physical exercise, the person is more likely to suffer from stress symptoms such as irritability and lack of focus. [7]

References :

1. www.emeraldinsight.com/Insight/ViewContentServlet?.../pdf/(cited 10 July 2009)

2. www.communicationskills.co.in/t (cited 10 July 2009)

3. Robson , Continuous process improvement: simplifying work flow , p37

4. Continuing professional development, by David Megginson, Vivien Whitaker,2003

5. Performance management: key strategies and practical guidelines‎ by Michael Armstrong
Limited preview - 2000

6. Goals! How to get everything you want- faster than you ever thought possible, ‘Manage your time well' by Brian Tracy, PP 165-166

7. Essentials of management by Andrew J DuBrin,, 7th edition, 2005, pp 18-28.

Key questions for the Pragmatist

Q1 Shall I be learning to do things with obvious practical links to my job?

A1 It is easier to learn from experience when you can actually relate your learning to real life experience. When you have actually gone through the experience, you will be able to pick out and isolate the flaws and rectify it.

Q2 Will the learning approach includes lots of practical tips and techniques?

A2 After going through all the theory, techniques and concepts, it is imperative to have a reality check and test the practicality of the theories and concepts. it is very useful to learn practical tips and techniques along with the theory.

Q3 Will there be ample opportunities to practice and experiment - using “live” problems or good simulations?

A3 There will be sufficient opportunities to practice and experiment during your learning but the most important thing is to understand the concept. A single practical experiment could able to solve a hundred theory questions. So even if there is no exact practical solution to a particular problem, you can always correlate it to previous experience and could find out the solution.

Q4 Will there be coaching and feedback from a credible expert or role model: ie someone who is successful and can do what is being taught themselves?

A4. An experienced person has the wealth of knowledge and expertise which he can share to the budding managers. And at the same time his feedback to a particular solution is equally important.

Q5 Will there be an immediate real life application which can be included in my action plans?

A5 It will be very useful you could include immediate real life application into you action plan because then It become more easier and the Individual will be able to perform the task in the best possible way.

Q6 Will it contribute to the immediate performance of myself and my colleagues by addressing current problems?

A6. It will not only contribute to the immediate performance but also have a positive impact on the future performance of an individual or a team by addressing current problems.

Personal Development Plan

A PDP is just a different name for an action plan which refers specifically to your aspirations regarding personal development. Plans are made every day, but are not always written down and for those reasons PDP are drawn which allows you to set your own personal targets and find the best possible way to achieve them. An action plan will help you to envisage what you are doing and keep track of your achievements. To be totally effective, it must be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is always precise, appropriate and pragmatic. [1]

Personal development plan is a key component in the future working practice of all professionals. In the future, educational provision should be based on educational needs assessment. This means that the individual and the organisation must find a method to identify their educational needs and then methods to fulfil those needs for the benefit of the company. These plans are designed to structure educational activity of managers and their teams and to accomplish specific areas of development within the practice. They should take into account the individual's learning needs, the developmental needs of the practice as a whole and the priorities of the company.

It consists of the following plan:

• Specifying how the learning needs are identified.
• The educational activity proposed to meet those needs
• How the plan will be addressed.

Balancing the development needs of the managers to meet the needs of individual team members is sometimes difficult. Through Professional Development Plan individuals can start to understand why some areas of practice activity are given priority over others and how the decision was made. [2]
What skills do you need to develop to do the job better? Are these shortcomings in your management capacities that you need to try to address? Are these projects or special assignments that you could get involved in that could strengthen you skills? Are there formal courses or programs that could strengthen your capabilities? It is especially critical that you do this when you are making key career passages. If you are a first time manager, get in the habit early of asking your boss for feedback and help in developing supervisory skills. Your willingness to seek candid feedback on your strength and weakness and, critically, your ability to act on the feedback send a powerful message. The same fundamental principle holds whether you are becoming a manager for the first time, functional leader, a general manager, or CEO. Whenever you are at a point in your career when success demands a different set of skills and attitudes, discipline yourself to be open to learning from others who have gone before you. Don't restrict your focus on hard skills. The higher you rise, the more important the key soft skills of cultural and political diagnosis, negotiation, coalition building, and conflict management will become. Formal training can help, but development assignments- in project teams, in new parts of organisation, in different functions, in different locations- are indispensible in honing these key managerial skills. For example, no matter what type of situation you are entering, it can be useful to put together a 90- day plan and to get buy-in from your boss. Usually you will be able to devise a plan after a couple of weeks in the new job, when you have begun to connect with the organisation and to get the lay of the land. Your 90-day plan should be written, even if it just consists of bullet points. It should specify priorities and goals as well as milestones. Critically, you should share it with your boss and seek buy-in for it. It should serve as a contract between the two of you about how you are going to spend your time, spelling out both what you will do and what you will not do. To begin to develop your plan, divide the 90 day into three blocks of 30-days. At the end of each block, you will have a review meeting with your boss. [3]

In development programmes, there is an emphasis on personal development and planned learning from experience. Personal development programme is carried out by individual with guidance, encouragement and help from their managers as required. A personal development plan sets out the actions people prepare to take to learn and develop themselves. They take responsibility for formulating and implementing the plan, but they receive support from the organisation and their managers in doing so.Personal Development Programme consists of following stages

1. Analyse current situation and development needs

What am I good at?

a. Communication Skills
b. Sincerity and Hardworking attitude
c. Creativity

What do I need to work on?

a. Personal Organisation
b. Leadership Skills
c. Decision Making

What could help me along?

a. Taking responsibility for the activities of others during work experience.
b. Setting priorities and meeting deadlines.
c. Organising various activities and events.

What could stop me?

a. Lack of resources (money/time).
b. Lack of concentration and focus.
2. Set Goals- These could include improving performance in the current job, improving or acquiring skills, extending relevant knowledge, developing specified areas of competence and preparing for changes in the current role. The most appropriate way or organising work is to set short term goals, medium term goals and long term goals.
3. Prepare action plan- The action plan sets out what needs to be done and how it will be done under headings such as outcome expected, the development activities, the responsibility for development and timing.

Reference

1. www.learning-forces.org.uk/.../PERSONAL%20DEVELOPMENT%20PLANS2.doc, (cited 22 August 2009.

2. Personal Development and Practice Professional Development Plans in Primary Care Sector, by Derek Gallan, Glyns Buckle, 2001, pp 3-12.

3. The first 90 days: critical success strategies for new leaders at all levels By Michael Watkins, 2003, pp120-143.

4. A handbook of Human Resource Management Practices By Micheal Armstrong, 2001, pp 571-580.

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