ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Task 1

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Professional development is not a new concept, but it is becoming increasingly important. The continuing pace of change in materials science and engineering means that what we learned in our initial training courses soon becomes dated and irrelevant. It has been estimated that the half-life of technical knowledge is about seven years. Furthermore, the amount of knowledge - and the amount of information - continues to increase. Materials science and engineering has become knowledge intensive: we have entered the knowledge-based economy.

In this new world, it is impossible for us to know all that there is to know, yet access to the knowledge base is increasingly readily available. So what will make us good materials technologists, rather than poor ones, is that our knowledge is more relevant, and more current, and is applied more efficiently and effectively.

The work-place has also changed, with the result that materials scientists and engineers are expected to have a wider range of skills (see table 1). We increasingly work in teams on projects and much of what we do is virtual rather than tangible. As one project ends, another begins, and so we move from project to project, from team to team, and from one work-place to another. Indeed, for many, the increasingly itinerant nature of work leads us into several different careers during our working lives.

These are strong, compelling reasons for professional development skills, but there are many more!

A better informed and more sophisticated public is demanding a higher duty of care and level of service from professionals.

Linked to this is the increasing risk of claims for negligence from professionals deemed to have 'failed' in their duty or given poor advice.

Within organizations, modern quality management systems demand that qualified people are in place to make decisions.

And so we need to learn continually as we work. This requires a skill set all of its own, a skill set we need to learn for ourselves If we do not respond to this challenge, we face the prospect of becoming irrelevant. If, as professionals, we assume that our old time-served competences will last a lifetime, we will find ourselves becoming candidates for redundancy.

The growing demands of business, the level of competency and the need for dedicated professionals has increased. It is necessary to have professional knowledge on how to handle difficult situations. Professional development training sure that people benefit from the training given to them. The benefits are based on the quality, standardization and methodology applied. It helps to build confidence, promotes personal development and attracts quality staff.

Quality is a priority in any business and professional development. It is not restricted to the products, but also the performance of the professionals. Lack of quality leads to a compromise in the standard of performance and is against the laws of business. The customer depends on products and the services available and provided by the different businesses. Professional development takes the opportunity to improve on the defects and shortcomings and deliver quality products.

Standardization has revolutionized the manufacturing industry and has helped it to grow further. The introduction of technology and quality control has made it easier to stimulate performance. The improved productivity and the professionalism with which service is provided, is due to the standardization and the effective use of methodology.

The professional development-training program helps in creating value for staff, in terms of providing service. This helps to boost the confidence level of the workers, businessmen and professional staff, to bring out the best of their abilities. The willingness to perform and a quality output is a part of professional development programs.

Responsibilities of a Manager( My Role)

I am a retail manger and have to perform several duties in the store for the effective management of the store . The first main duty is overseeing the hiring, firing and maintaining of personnel. These individuals are ones who make the store a success and it takes a strong manager to ensure that the perfect individuals are hired to fill sales associate positions, clerical positions and other important job titles. In addition to these tasks, I have to see to it that each individual is adequately trained to fill their job title and supervise the work that they do throughout their employment at the store. 

Another important duty and/or responsibility is to deal with the money that comes into the store and goes back out as well. I am responsible for handling the turning in of cash at the end of each sales associate's day required to ensure that all the money is accounted for in the end. In addition responsible for paying the employees and ensuring that the paychecks match the hours worked by each individual. Meticulous records are needed to be kept to ensure that all money which has come into the store is accounted for and sales associates and other store employees are paid as they should be. 

Inventory is another responsibility . Since there needs to be goods in stock to sell, it is imperative me who check the inventory on a frequent basis and make sure that orders are in when they are supposed to be.

One very important duty that I have is the customer service responsibilities. From time to time, shoppers within the retail store will ask to speak with me whether it be to issue a complaint regarding their shopping experience or provide a compliment to an employee or the store itself.

Personal and Professional skills needed to meet organizational needs

Managers are essential to every organization. They are detrimental to a company's growth as well as decline because they are ones who handle the most difficult company resource; people. Ideally a manager reports and gets reported to. In most scenarios a manager's work is outlined on the way, what, how, when, and to whom he/she reports to. In ensuring a smooth flow between the higher hierarchy and himself, a manager should be well versed with all process and operational functions of a company. A manager needs to be a part of the company's growth plan and polices, upon his role in the organization. He/she should ensure maintenance of books (financial and administrative), records and grievances.

Just as a manager needs to fulfill his responsibilities towards his employer, he has to ensure an approachable and patient attitude towards his subordinates or reporting members of his team. A manager who has cultivated the art of being a good listener, will always be able to help his juniors through a maze of professional and at times personal problems too. If you are known as a solution oriented manager, your team will soon catch up with you and even emulate you. A good manager should be resourceful, and well learned about all process and goals of the particular project and of the company, so his subordinates find it worthwhile and confident to carry forward their responsibilities. Delegating responsibilities, letting the juniors take responsibilities and decisions, right or wrong, and seeing them through a bad mess is perhaps the most desired trait in a good manager.A good manager should work towards team building and maintaining workplace ethics.

Another point regarding what makes a good manager is, is that a manager can give opinions, take decisions and delegate responsibilities without being biased. Although, it is possible to have a few favorites, a good manager needs to rise above showing petty favoritism. This trait will be particularly useful while giving a constructive feedback. Feedback and appraisals should be based on an individual professional conduct and abilities, and not on a biased act. A good manager, while disapproving of an act should avoid getting personal.Assigning blame is a difficult task of a manager, but a good manager will help his subordinates make an example out of the mistaken approach

A good manager works like a buffer point between the top level and junior level management. Filtering out pressure is important, to understand how much the manager should keep to himself, and how much he needs to pass it below. A manager should be trained to address and recognize grievances. A dip in work performance should be assessed, if it's a training issue, a training to upgrade the employee should be conducted, or if it is a personal problem, the help should be forwarded without getting too involved.

A must for a good manager:

Management Skills

Employee Management

Leadership Development

To sum up what makes a good manager; a team player, an analytical approach combined with a people centric outlook. A good manager will help align an individual's aspirations to the company's goals and objectives thus improving teamwork. This the manager needs to do by setting himself as an example.

A perfect manager is a boon for any company. A good manager needs to have a strong knowledge about the functioning of a company. There are few who are born with natural skills where as there are some who need to work their way towards it.

What are the Skills needed to be a Good Manager?

A good manager should have all the basic leadership skills. There are various ways in which a person can handle different situations through various leadership roles. A good leader should be able to guide his/her teammates to be able to perform well. Leadership does not mean dominating people.

One of the most important skills of a good manager is the knowledge of effective time management. A person who manages to plan the schedule and divide time equally between tasks can be an asset for the organization.

A good manager should also have a visionary sight for the benefits of the company. He/she should plan the future steps for the growth of the company.

For a team to perform well, a good manager should be able to motivate the team for their tasks. He/she should encourage talents. In case of people with low performances, he/she should tackle the situation with professionalism to reach a positive conclusion.

Even in a crisis situation, a person with good managerial skills should be able to perform well. He/she should be mentally tough to handle any kind of situations.

He/she should also be responsible enough to maintain a good office atmosphere. A manager should be sensitive towards others in the workplace. A happy atmosphere would only lead to more productivity for the company.

With these skills, a person can definitely strive to be a good manager and thus be an asset for any organization

Traits of a Good Manager

Leadership

Leadership is one of the vital qualities of a good manager. A good manager is often seen exercising effective leadership in the organization. By effective and fair leadership we mean the skills to guide the team members, to encourage them towards attainment of the organization's goals and take the right decisions at the right point of time. A good manager has confidence in his/her abilities, and is thus innovative enough to experiment while nevertheless being brave to admit mistakes.

Plan and Delegate

Planning well is a part of one's managerial skills. A good manager has a foresight that helps him/her plan effectively. A good manager devises fail-proof plans, divides the task into subtasks and delegates them to his/her team members. Effective delegation involves an understanding of the skill sets of the employees, scheduling tasks and getting them done from the employees within deadlines. Delegation facilitates the division of responsibility; helps accomplish the plan faster while also giving the delegates an opportunity to excel. The effective execution of a plan requires a manager to dream, dedicate resources towards the fulfillment of the dream.

Intelligentsia

A very uncommon common sense is something that is seen in a good manager. A good manager possesses complete knowledge of his field and is confident about that knowledge. A thorough knowledge of one's position and responsibilities is the trait of a good manager. Intelligence is characteristic to a good manager. A witty sense of humor is a trait that is often seen in good managers. Along with intellect and humor, creativity is a common trait of good managers. A manager needs to have a creative mind to welcome new ideas from the team members and subordinates, and execute the bright, the innovative and the feasible ones. A good manager always aims at bringing in reforms to work patterns, experiment and take his/her organization on the path of success. Emotional intelligence is another important trait of a good manager.

Listen with Concern

A good manager exhibits the trait of always taking everyone along. An excellent manager is the one who treads with a positive attitude, along with his/her team and leads them to success. A good manager shows traits such as an optimistic attitude, a motivating ability, listening skills and a concern for people. An effective manager must motivate his/her team members and be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each of them. A good manager is a good listener to pay heed to the team members' problems, be open to their views, accept a constructive criticism from them and understand their abilities. A good manager is always aware that 'subordinates' are after all 'humans' and treats them with concern and consideration. A good manager never forgets that he/she is leading people who are the most important assets of an organization.

Keep Your Cool

Being able to keep one's cool in all kinds of situations is a trait seen in a good manager. An enthusiastic and optimistic manager is capable of remaining calm in all types of scenarios. A good manager does not lose his/her cool even while facing a difficulty. He/she is able to correct the team members without going wild. A good manager is an effective communicator and a composed individual.

Task 2

Effective Methods of learning

Learning ordinarily can be explained as a process that results in behavioral changes in the learner that are considerably permanent. However effective learning requires use of certain techniques and methods that can be implemented so as to ensure that the knowledge is properly assimilated and used in the future. This is because learning is not always the result of simple teaching or mere instruction.

Traditional learning strategies or methods required teachers to simply pass on the information to the students through concepts and theories. However this technique often failed since the information wasn't often completely accepted and utilized practically by the respondents. Effective learning strategies allow people to not only get the requisite information but also develop different views of looking at the concepts and implementing and utilizing these concepts. Before deciding on the learning techniques certain aspects need to be taken into consideration such as the material to be taught and how it can be molded to fit into the different learning methods, the students or learners to be taught and their details such as age, level of education etc and finally the conditions or environment under which the teaching is to take place. There are various factors such as heredity, environmental impressions and upbringing of individuals that determine their ability to understand and perceive information. Concrete perceivers are those who can understand and process information through direct experience such as through actual experiments, sensing and feeling of objects etc. Abstract perceivers on the other hand can understand and process information better through observation and analysis along with thinking. Active perceivers need to put the information gained to practice so as to assimilate it better and reflective perceivers reflect on the experience to understand it better.

One of the relatively new approaches in learning psychology is the use of different learning strategies based on different learning styles of people. This recognizes and uses multiple intelligence theory as a base in devising the different learning techniques for different people. Some of these different techniques to effective learning include:

Visual or spatial learning style: This style revolves around use of images and pictures to transfer the information and is well suited for learners with high spatial intelligence.

Auditory style: Learners can be taught using sounds or music.

Logical or mathematical style: In this style the transfer of information is done using logic and reasoning.

Social or interpersonal style: These learners assimilate information better when it is transferred in a group environment.

Solitary or Intrapersonal style: Here transfer of information is done on a solitary basis or ordinarily where self study is followed. E learning uses solitary style of information transfer with great effectiveness.

Verbal or Linguistic style: These learners score high in verbal skills and so information can be better assimilated through speech or in written form.

Often for effective learning one or more of these styles are combined so as to ensure that the learning goals are met. Other important aspects that need to be kept in mind while devising learning methods include:

Information is better processed and remembered for a longer period of time only when the individuals get a chance to put it into practice.

Also effective learning can occur only where the learning environment is an open and encouraging one and where the individuals have the chance to express their viewpoints and their understanding along with their queries and where they also get proper feedback on their expressed ideas. Feedback should not be too critical but should be analytical and suggestive in nature.

Any learning style should be one that motivates the learners in their effort to gain information. It should give confidence to the learners. Only when the learner is motivated can he make headway into his area of enquiry. So the learning style and the way the material is presented should seem relevant and interesting to the learner.

 A good learning style engages the learner and should offer the learner with concepts, information that seems familiar and interesting. At every step the guidance of the teacher should be available to the learner. Truly effective learning also ensures that the learner is given problems that can gauge the core understanding of the learner about the subject matter.

Collaborative or group style of learning can help the learner share his understanding with his team and this is also different than the routine textbook - lecture approach. A collaborative approach can also encourage curiosity far more than an individualistic approach.

An effective learning style encourages active participation of the learner beyond mere listening and this is done through touching, experimenting, watching etc. This is why cognitive learning scores high in its effectiveness.

Sensory Learners : If you rely too much on sensing, you can tend to prefer what is familiar, and concentrate on facts you know instead of being innovative and adapting to new situations. Seek out opportunities to learn theoretical information and then bring in facts to support or negate these theories.

Intuitive Learners : If you rely too much on intuition you risk missing important details, which can lead to poor decision-making and problem solving. Force yourself to learn facts or memorize data that will help you defend or criticize a theory or procedure you are working with.

Visual Learners : If you concentrate more on pictorial or graphical information than on words, you put yourself at a distinct disadvantage because verbal and written information is still the main preferred choice for delivery of information. Practice your note taking and seek out opportunities to explain information to others using words.

Verbal Learners : When information is presented in diagrams, sketches, flow charts, and so on, it is designed to be understood quickly. If you can develop your skills in this area you can significantly reduce time spent learning and absorbing information. Look for opportunities to learn through audio-visual presentations (such as CD-ROM and Webcasts.) When making notes, group information according to concepts and then create visual links with arrows going to and from them. Take every opportunity you can to create charts and tables and diagrams.

Active Learners : If you act before you think you are apt to make hasty and potentially ill-informed judgments. You need to concentrate on summarizing situations, and taking time to sit by yourself to digest information you have been given.

Reflective Learners : If you think too much you risk doing nothing. ever. There comes a time when a decision has to be made or an action taken. Involve yourself in group decision-making whenever possible and try to apply the information you have in as practical a manner as possible.

Sequential Learners : When you break things down into small components you are often able to dive right into problem solving. This seems to be advantageous but can often be unproductive. Force yourself to slow down and understand why you are doing something and how it is connected to the overall purpose or objective. Ask yourself how your actions are going to help you in the long run. If you can't think of a practical application for what you are doing then stop and do some more "big picture" thinking.

Personal Skills Audit & Effective Management and Leadership

Personal skills audit is a great way to identify ones strengths and development needs. It is useful for people on the career track, ambitious managers and would-be entrepreneurs.

The personal skills that makes audit can vary depending on field or the environment of your business. For instance, a high level manager in a well-run company may need to display the following skills:

1. Functional/Technical Skills

2. General Business Skills

3. Management Skills

4. Leadership Skills

For instance, if you are a human resources manager, your functional skills would include HR specialist skills like staffing, training, compensation design, and ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) laws that cover retirement and health benefit plans.

Business leaders, in general, should also have business skills like understanding business models and strategies. Management skills include planning and forecasting, organizing, directing and controlling work.

Finally, leadership skills have to do with the ability to communicate effectively to groups, define a vision, inspire participation and lead accountability in the execution of strategies and processes.

Personal SKILLS AUDIT

Knowledge and skills which I consider to be important for my current voluntary activity

Ability Rating (1-5) or strong / weak / somewhere in between

• Planning

• Decision-making

• Valuing and

Supporting Others

• Problem Solving

• Consulting

• Setting Objectives

• Negotiating

2

1

2

2

1

1

2

Knowledge and skills which I consider to be important for my future career

Ability Rating (1-5) or strong / weak / somewhere in between

Information

Management

• Reviewing

• Motivating

• Prioritising

• Managing Conflict

• Stress Management

• Learning

• Risk Management

1

2

1

2

1

3

3

2

Effective Management and Leadership

It is a proven fact that if the management of a company is strong and effective, the productivity of employees naturally turns out to be the highest. Those working in the corporate sector should have an idea that there are different management styles. A management style is referred to as the pattern of management which the leadership adopts regarding treating employees, involving them in the decision making process, providing them with certain benefits, and similar other aspects. Every style has its own characteristics, strong points, shortcomings, and even ways of getting the work done. If the management of an organization adopts a management style which employees favor, the employee output tends to be acceptable.

Types of Management Styles in Business

There are four primary types of leadership styles, further classified as per specific methods of management. They are autocratic, democratic, participative, and laissez faire. Let us know about these management styles in business.

Democratic Management Style

In this business leadership style, the manager delegates power to his subordinates for carrying out the decision making process. One essential point here is that those who are being handed over the decision making process should be efficient to execute the task as expected by the management. This style is most effective in a situation where the manager wants to teach his workforce how decisions are made.

Autocratic Management Style

When it comes to the autocratic leadership style, the manager is completely responsible for making the decisions all by himself. Here, there is no participation of employees in the decision making process. The good side of this style is that it is suitable in situations where a prompt decision is to be taken and the delivery time is strict. However, this corporate leadership style can demotivate employees, hampering their productivity.

Participative Management Style

The participative leadership style is believed to be one of the best methods of providing motivation to employees to work harder. As the name clearly indicates, the manager allows his subordinates and staff to get involved in the decision making process. This in turn creates a feeling among the employees that their suggestions are being valued by the management, resulting in they showing real interest in work. Though there is a collective decision, the final decision rests on the manager himself.

Laissez-faire Management Style

This is somewhat similar to the democratic management style. In laissez faire management, the leader gets the tasks done completely by his staff, without involving much in the work. This act can be misunderstood to be a matter of irresponsibility. This is one of the best conflict management styles, as the leader would not want to seem to be partial on one particular side. The laissez-faire management style is one wherein there is very less communication between the management and the staff.

These are just the basic types of management styles used in today's corporate world. There are many others listed below:

Charismatic Management

Situational Management

Transformational Management

Bureaucratic Management

Task-oriented Management

Transactional Management

Relation-oriented Management

The best leadership style preferred by employees is 'situational management' wherein the leader changes roles, rules, and concepts of management depending on the situation to get the job done appropriately. The leader think ably needs to adopt a specific style depending upon the work to be done, and according to the skills and the mindset of the employees. If you are wondering about classroom management styles, participative and autocratic ones are more ideal as per different situations.

Task 3

Personal Development Plan with Action Plan for Implementation

In order to ensure success in my area of responsibility, I will need to have a broad range of skills relating to management and leadership. Based on my current role and situation, the most important areas that I need to concentrate on are discussed below.

Skills that need some development

Encourage innovation in my area

Develop working relationships with colleagues

Promote equality and diversity in my area

Provide learning opportunities for staff

Manage my professional development

Encourage innovation in my area

Excellent performance in this area results in being able to:

• motivate all the people working in my area to identify ideas for new products or

services

• establish a fair and open method for considering and selecting initial ideas for

further development

• discuss and identify which ideas can be practically implemented and provide

help in drawing up and submitting plans

• recruit and select creative people and encourage the creativity of other people in

my area

• encourage the originators of an idea to take acceptable risks in pursuing

innovation and to make and learn from mistakes

In order to improve in this area, I may want to get some advice on:

• The benefits of innovation to the business, customers and other stakeholders

• How to apply different methods for motivating people to generate and develop

Ideas

• How to establish fair and open methods for selecting ideas for further

development

• How to recognize and manage risk in innovation

• How to develop a business case and plans for the development of an idea and

how to support others in doing this

• The characteristics and competencies of creative people.

Develop working relationships with colleagues

Excellent performance in this area results in being able to:

• establish working relationships with all colleagues who are relevant to the work

being carried out

• recognize, agree and respect the roles and responsibilities of colleagues

• understand and take account of the priorities, expectations, and authority of

colleagues in decisions

• advise colleagues promptly of any difficulties or where it will be impossible to

fulfill agreements

• identify and sort out conflicts of interest and disagreements

• provide feedback to colleagues on their performance and seek feedback on my

own performance

In order to improve in this area I need to understand:

• The benefits of developing productive working relationships with colleagues

• Principles of effective communication and how to apply them

• How to identify disagreements and conflicts of interest with colleagues and the

Techniques for sorting them out

• How to take account of diversity issues when developing working relationships

with colleagues

• The importance of exchanging information and resources with colleagues

• How to provide feedback and make use of feedback on my performance from

Colleagues

Promote equality and diversity in my area

Excellent performance in this area results in being able to:

• Implement the business' written equality and diversity policy in my area

• Identify personal responsibilities and liabilities under equality legislation

• Ensure that working arrangements, resources and business processes respond

to different needs, abilities, values and ways of working

• Monitor, review and report to the relevant people on progress, identifying

Required actions and changes to practice

In order to improve in this area:

• The advantages of ensuring equality of opportunity and promoting diversity and

how to put it into practice

• The different forms which discrimination and harassment might take

• How and where to identify personal responsibilities and liabilities

• How to identify the diversity and needs of my area's current and potential

customers

• How to provide working arrangements, resources and business processes that

respond to different needs, abilities, values and ways of working

Provide learning opportunities for staff

Excellent performance in this area results in being able to:

• Work with colleagues to identify and priorities learning needs based on any gaps

between the requirements of their work-role and their current skills

• Help colleagues to identify the learning style that works best for them

• Discuss and agree a development plan that includes learning activities, learning

Objectives, required resources and timescales

• Discuss whether the learning activities achieved the desired outcomes

• Work with colleagues to update their development plan in the light of

performance, learning activities undertaken and any wider changes

• Encourage colleagues to take responsibility for their own learning, including

practicing and reflecting on what they have learned

In order to improve in this area, I may want to get some advice on:

• The range of different learning styles and how to support colleagues in identifying

The styles which work best for them

• Different types of learning activities, their advantages and disadvantages and the

required resources

• How to set learning objectives which are SMART (Specific, Measurable,

Achievable, Realistic and Time-Based)

• Sources of specialist expertise in relation to identifying and providing learning for

Colleagues

• How to evaluate whether a learning activity has achieved the desired learning

Objectives

Manage my professional development

Excellent performance in this area results in being able to:

• Evaluate the current and future requirements of my role as well as my

Personal and career goals

• Identify the learning styles that work best for me.

• Undertake the activities in my development plan and get regular feedback on

my performance

• Ensure that your performance consistently meets or goes beyond agreed

Requirements

In order to improve in this area, I may want to get some advice on:

• How to set objectives which are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable,

Realistic and Time-based)

• How to address any gaps between the requirements of my role and my

current knowledge and skills

• What an effective development plan should contain

• How to update work objectives in light of performance, feedback, and

development activities undertaken

• How to monitor the quality of my work and my progress against requirements

and plans.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths

Weakness

• Planning

• Decision-making

• Valuing and

Supporting Others

• Problem Solving

• Monitoring

• Consulting

• Setting Objectives

• Negotiating

• Prioritizing

• Managing Conflict

• Stress Management

• Risk Management

Opportunities

Threats

• Reviewing

• Motivating

• Learning

• Difficulty adapting change

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