This report on my professional life development exhibits how my personal career development raises since beginning of my MBA. I have given my key career objective as Leadership which I have enhanced through my study period and still developing it effectively. This is explained through my last nine months SWOT analysis and how the study group and the cohort of diversified students aided me in the development of the career objective. I have considered the effective way of leadership as the transformational method and shared my learning with the theory of Kouzes and Posner, 2003. Finally, I have summarized my action plan with the time limit on my professional development.
I based my career into financial services industry and my main area is sales and marketing in banking. Actually, I was been hired by an agent who works under contract for the bank, which means I am not in the roles of the bank and I was paid based on number of accounts I sold on monthly basis. My simple and sheer aim was to get a job without considering whatsoever it is, irrespective of industry or employer or the role. This is to show my level of thoughts which I possessed when I entered the job market as a fresher. My fortunate is this opportunity however was into banking industry, compulsorily interaction with professionals and most favorable part is about the sales department. I am an introvert personality as per the results from Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This attitude was reasonably high before seven years which also made many to comment on me as shy personality.
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Exploring myself in the recent past, I potentially identified a significant milestone, Leadership as one of my career objectives. The importance of this would have not been realized if I would have not joined an MBA. In fact, through my profession I understood that Leadership is one of the key driving tools in business, but, the practicality was not understandable until I may reach a senior level position in the organization; which would have taken at least another five years of my career life.
As the part of our learning we were asked to analyze our own SWOT from the beginning; which acted as an eye-opener for my professional growth. When I linked to my goal, it enabled me to take advantage of my skills, talents and abilities to think of my career strategically to next level. I have given SWOT on career perspective as the authors suggest SWOT analysis has suffered from familiarity breeding contempt and that the technique is normally used very badly and to little effect. Drawing an experience of marketing planning process management in a variety of companies to propose a five point approach to make SWOT analysis work effectively(Piercy,Giles, 1989).
Personal strengths form natural part of me and my professional characteristics as I witnessed and spoke about them to my colleagues gave me an extended support in this analysis. The skills such as working in team effectively, understanding the issues by brain storming, accepting each group member ideas and probing it irrespective of the potentiality made me to think laterally. Each member's participation and addressing them is an important skill for a leader to consistently develop his team; this capability increased as it strongly bounded the members' understanding levels between each other. Certainly, learning from MBA is unique with the unlimited international exposure, which I am earning through diversified students from different cultures and countries. This prepares me with articulated thoughts and readiness from globalized perspective. I also understood my own undiscovered potentials from other cohort members, sometimes valuable feedbacks on my negative traits made me to identify and detach from them.
One of my main weaknesses was identified is the lack of communication skills which turned as a surprise for me. When I was in my country, in our profession we must be communicating through English and I was good in that, but when I came to United Kingdom I understood the way the language is used in practice was totally different from the way I practiced. The main component of listening was very challenging for me during the lectures on the initial weeks. But again in the group work, I used to enhance my communication skills using the opportunity to interact with the native speakers. Also, the academic system varied entirely from my way of writing exams to writing course works. But, I understood the benefits it gave me to think laterally and relate the same with the practical situations on my professional thinking. Definitely, on the other hand it was challenging me as there was a huge gap of my studies between my under graduation and my MBA; it took some time to change my view to the situation of where am in. Time management and organizing skills were identified as the worst enemies which were holding me back strongly. My group in this instance helped me through identifying and providing some effective measures to eradicate them; these actually kick started by the workshops we had during our Leadership classes. Still I am developing my time management skills to move forward effectively in my life as a whole.
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Opportunities are enormous in the means of working in a group, learning from the sheer academic experts of the program, understanding how people plan their daily life, understanding the modernization through information technology, infrastructure. Coming to the group it is a wide opportunity to know about different cultures according to geographical diversification. For example, in my group it was really a challenge to cope with everyone personally and professionally particularly with the lesser academic skills I possessed; among members trying to influence their decisions. In fact, without recognizing I learnt from the challenges it raised and discovered new set of skills and values in me.
This area was quite crucial for me as I faced massive drawbacks from the environment of expensive living costs, and academic strains. As MBA is an intensive covering maximum possible module within the thirteen months, the first week of classes and the first set term was really a threat for me and managing conflicts between team members is of course. It operated like a strong wind in no time, which I took as a challenge to move further and to keep on fine tuning the areas of improvement.
Having analyzed my personal SWOT, as I discussed earlier about my career objective, the transformational leadership will be enhanced strongly with these learning. It can help me to understand myself and support the future decisions I make.
Leadership is the ability to motivate, influence and enable the co - employees to contribute towards the effectiveness of the whole institution where they belong to. I believe Leadership as a set of qualities that create others to follow, it is a social influence. It deals effectively with the management of change, getting things done with ease.
The concept of transformational leadership originated mainly in me from the practice of study group during my MBA. The environment was always filled with the emergent of business figures on a daily basis, where the identity and understandings of the reasons how my super bosses strategically think was relatively tiny. For example, in my last assignment with ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, I must report on my teams' closed sales figures on every three hours. So, I had only time to motivate my team of ten business partners to enhance their sales figures which is why I understood why Leadership is important in carrying people along with my objectives. It will highlight the areas I may not have considered before and may help me to realize different perspectives in each area. It gives me a foundation from where I can move forward with my goal to support my career change and to take action. I think I can perform though various ways such as reviewing my strengths and ensure these are reflected on your CV. I can consider ways to address any weaknesses which I want to overcome or develop required skills and capabilities. I can review my opportunities as these can be used to my professional climbing advantages. Also consider how my threats could be minimized or eliminated through my thoughtful activities.
According to the theory of Kouzes and Posner, 2003, the transformational leader had these five behaviours in common. They are modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart.
MODELING THE WAY
Leaders establish principles concerning the way people (constituents, colleagues and customers alike) should be treated and the way goals should be pursued. They create standards of excellence and then set an example for others to follow. Because the prospect of complex change can overwhelm people and stifle action, they set interim goals so that people can achieve small wins as they work towards larger objectives. They unravel bureaucracy when it impedes action; they put up signposts when people are unsure of where to go or how to get there; and they create opportunities for victory. (Kouzes andPosner, 2003). As discussed above by the author, through the practice in my study group, I found that the the most important quality that people look for and admire in a leader is the personal credibility. It is the foundation of all Leadership skills. This happens first by finding our unique voices and clarifying our values and beliefs. Leaders align their personal actions with their values and their voice. It is the consistency of deeds what comes out, the ownership which I contributed towards our assignments in group makes a huge difference.
INSPIRING A SHARED VISION
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Leaders passionately believe that they can make a difference. They envision the future, creating an ideal and unique image of what the organization can become. Through their magnetism and quiet persuasion, leaders enlist others in their dreams. They breathe life into their visions and get people to see exciting possibilities for the future. (Kouzes andPosner, 2003). I strongly agree this statement from the author as the leaders passionately believe I can make a difference. I have a desire to make something happen, to change the way things are and to create something that never existed before. They can see the picture and the path. But I also understood by just having the dream is not enough, I must be able to engage my team in my vision. In order to do that they have to know what motivates their constituents.
CHALLENGING THE PROCESS
Leaders search for opportunities to change the status quo. They look for innovative ways to improve the organization. In doing so, they experiment and take risks. And because leaders know that risk taking involves mistakes and failures, they accept the inevitable disappointments as learning opportunities. (Kouzes andPosner, 2003). I learnt to keep on exploring and challenging a process that is how one can find the essence of an issue efficiently and create a winning strategy standing out of the rest. If the process is accurate, people will get more confidence in what they do and this is also one of the ways they identify the potential in their leader.
ENABLING OTHERS TO ACT
Leaders foster collaboration and build spirited teams. They actively involve others. Leaders understand that mutual respect is what sustains extraordinary efforts; they strive to create an atmosphere of trust and human dignity. They strengthen others, making each person feel capable and powerful. (Kouzes andPosner, 2003). None can perform a given team task alone even as a leader. Collaboration is the master skill that enables teams, partnerships, and alliances to function effectively by promoting collaborative goals. For this to take place in a team, I need to work on how I can promote trust in the team. To start of with, I need to be contributing consistently through all the opportunities available, by empathic and listening actively to the views of fellow members in the team throughout the meeting. I found that I must promote a sense of mutual reliance that we as a team are all in together. As a leader, I should create climates where people are involved and feel important. It is the process of turning constituents into as a leader. Leaders grow their own succession planning at its finest. I learnt the firm ability to make their own decisions, work in an environment that builds their ability to perform a task and promotes self-confidence.
ENCOURAGING THE HEART
Accomplishing extraordinary things in organizations is hard work. To keep hope and determination alive, leaders recognize contributions that individuals make. In every winning team, the members need to share in the rewards of their efforts, so leaders celebrate accomplishments. They make people feel like heroes. (Kouzes andPosner, 2003). As rightly said here by the authors, I always felt that people expect and it is my basic responsibility to acknowledge the team, making people feel as winners in the team environment. But, it must be done in the context of high expectations and clear standards. This is the way a leader can expect the best out of people and create self-fulfilling prophecies about how ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. I must pay attention, offer encouragement, appreciating personally, maintaining the positive outlook, focus and stimulating the energy levels. Celebrations must be based on the celebrations on the accomplishment of key values and milestones, so, I can sustain focus.
The skills which I identified to develop during the mere future and also as permanent activity are to empower the knowledge as MBA made me to benefit out of extensive reading, networking with people is best way to grow professionally, understanding the business from each perspective of my profession, taking risks in professional life would teach me the changes in external environment, understanding my true worth which is most important to position myself in the job market, it is also important to learn how to get the credit what I am worth in work environment, appreciation must be either ways, the most important thing in me is to be an 'entrepreneur', which is the way to really challenge and meet the true challenges I can see while playing creating my own resources and managing them efficiently within the business context.
Goals are necessary for all productive and progressive activities. However, there are two types of goals, which I must adhere to move ahead in life. The two types of career goals are long term and short term career goals. To reach them I must have an increase in responsibilities generally means that job profile and position increasing in the company. Finance plays a very important in the personal as well as the professional life of a person. In many cases having a secure financial future is the only reason that people take up a job. Though working only for the money is not productive, one cannot ignore the importance of money in our day to day life as well.
Without any doubt, the top most long term goal in my profession is to achieve the highest position in a multinational bank down the line in another ten years, so as to complete full circle of my professional life.
Few years ago, in India the suggested age of retirement was about sixty five, however, with the ever increasing technologies and other progress, man can achieve in ten years that he took twenty years to achieve earlier. Concluding my professional life I love to retire at the age of fifty. Keeping this in mind, I can work towards achieving my ambitions in a quicker timeframe and retire early as one of the most successful professional.
- Kouzes, J. M. and Posner, B. Z.(2003)Leadership practices inventory [LPI].2nd edn. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.
- Piercy, N. and Giles, W. (1989) 'Making SWOT analysis work',Marketing Intelligence & Planning,7 (5-6), pp. 5-7.
- Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Moorman, R. H. and Fetter, R. (1990) 'Transformational leader behaviors and their effects on followers' trust in leader, satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behaviors',Leadership Quarterly,1 (2), pp. 107-142.
- Yukl, G. A. and Yukl, G.(2002)Leadership in organizations.5th edn. New Jersy: Prentice Hall.
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