Reflective Journal - Managerial Roles

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Unit 3 – Assignment #2

Reflective Journal

Unit1

The Managerial Roles Gap Analysis survey proved to be very insightful for measuring my current managerial style, skillset and role profile. In my current role as Finance Manager, my core competencies are more informational and interpersonal and less decisional in nature.

The role of the “Decisional Manager” (Minztberg, 1973) in my opinion is the most important role for managing in a complex, changing workplace environment. These business environments that are ever changing are best suited for managers that are accepting of change and innovation. Entrepreneurial managers, as described by Yukl (1973) are better suited for “initiating” and “planning” change so it is structured rather than disruptive. In fast paced changing environments, there are also many unforeseen events which involve constant re-allocation of resources and negotiations involving quick but rational calculated decision making.

My current managerial duties are more administrative support based and less operational. Nonetheless, upon self-reflection, it is evident that my role provides both financial and operational support through disseminating information and being a liaison between operations and finance. Before moving to my finance role, I was a retail operations manager so I should seek to leverage my knowledge more in this area to provide more value added support. Furthermore, the core competencies of my role in the form of budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting can strongly influence decision making at all levels. In order to progress and become a more competent manager, I could use more of these decisional skillsets to initiate change, provide innovation and entrepreneurship by improving financial efficiencies.

Unit 2

Being an effective manager and leader requires having good communication skills. Feedback is an important tool that should be used to improve efficiency, development and collaboration in the workplace. There are many benefits to giving positive feedback rather than just an evaluation. Feedback in the workplace is the process of evaluating and discussing employee/manager performance as described by Harms & Roebuck, (2010: 413). Evaluations normally include an element of critique and instinctively this causes people to become defensive. The benefit to me of giving strength based positive feedback is that it removes this innate defensive threat and enables both parties to achieve their goals in the interaction. Gallagher (2007) described one strength based model named the CANDID approach that removes the emotion from the interaction of difficult conversations and allows for collaboration rather than confrontation.

To become a more effective leader, I need to work on my listening skills in particular when I ask questions. There are times that I will ask leading questions, in somewhat interrogation style to get to the answers that I feel are correct. The better approach would be to ask questions, listen, understand and then ask further relevant questions for more clarification.

There is no one size fits all approach to effective leadership especially in today’s ever changing international marketplace. In order to work more effectively in multi-cultural environments, I need to work on understanding different cultural traits and adjusting my leadership style appropriately. With the onset of today’s “global village” as described by Jogulu (2010: 706), leadership styles are becoming more and more culturally linked. Nonetheless, in a country like Canada where it is very multicultural, one can argue that leadership styles must be somewhat universal and not biased towards any particular culture.

In my life and along my career journey, I have experienced events that have transformed me as a manager and as a leader. My transformational story illustrated some of these key life events and how I have learned through self-narrating the story of my life in a way that makes sense to me. At first I was hesitant about writing and sharing some of my personal life events but ironically, as I started to write the script through deep reflection I discovered more about my true self than I knew before. Writing my story was emotional but in a way I also found it to also be therapeutic. Through reflection I began to understand more about how my resilience and ability to adapt to my environment has enabled me to be a stronger leader especially in times of crisis. The “everyman theory” of leadership described by Charan (2008) explains this notion that anyone can become a leader by escaping the handicaps of their personal history and the constraints of their environment”.

Unit3

This notion that authentic leader’s stories involved “overcoming difficult experiences and using these events to give meaning to their lives” George, Sims, McLean & Mayer (2007, 130) exemplifies my transformational story. Writing my transformational story helped me authenticate where I came from, who I am today and where on my journey I am going. The definition of an authentic leader as described by Avolio, Luthans, and Walumbwa (2004: 4) are “leaders who are deeply aware of how they think and behave and are perceived by others as being aware of their own and others values/moral perspectives, knowledge, and strengths; aware of the context in which they operate; and who are confident, hopeful, optimistic, resilient, and of high moral character”. Although writing and sharing my transformational story was emotional, it was the sheer emotion that helped me to reflect and find connections between my life events and my “self-narratives” as described by Shamir & Eliam (2005: 405).

Throughout my life journey, I learned some critical skills from my transformational experiences. The most important skills I learned was adaptability, resilience, control and the power of positive thinking. Through positive thinking I was able to learn from negative events and to use these learnings to overcome adversity. I have learned that by using positive thinking, it helps to overcome fear and anxiety which diminish creative and innovation. Through my transformational experiences, I have also learned that I am in control. Control as described by Margolis & Stoltz (2010: 90) is how we react to stressful situations based on the degree of control we believe we have over the situation. I have learned through my experiences that I am in control of my destiny and that my environment does not control me. Nonetheless, the most important skills I have learned is to be able to adapt and be resilient in stressful situations. I learned this in my early years through growing up in a neighborhood of violence and crime and not succumbing to becoming another so called statistic. This skill of “adaptive capacity” described by Bennis & Thomas, (2002: 45) is critical as it bestows “the ability to transcend adversity, with all its attendant stresses, and to emerge stronger than before”. Through overcoming difficult situations in my life and upon reflection of these events, I now feel that I am stronger than ever before to tackle and lead through future difficult situations should they arise.

References

Avolio, B. J., Luthans, F., & Walumba, F. O. (2004). Authentic leadership: Theory building for veritable sustained

performance. Working paper: Gallup Leadership Institute, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Bennis, W. & R. Thomas, (2002) 'Crucibles of Leadership', Harvard Business Review, 80 (9) pp.39-45.

Charam, R., (2008). ‘Leaders at All Levels’, Jossey-Bass

Gallagher, R., (2007) ‘How to Give Strength-Based Feedback’

Harms, P. & D. Roebuck, (2010) 'Teaching the art and Craft of Giving and Receiving Feedback', Business Communication Quarterly, 73 (4) pp.413-431.

Jogulu, U., (2010) 'Culturally-Linked Leadership Styles', Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 31 (8) pp.705-719.

Lunenburg, F., (2011) ‘Leadership versus Management: A Key Distinction-At Least in Theory’, International Journal of Management, Business and Administration, volume 14, number 1, 2011

Margolis, J. D. & P. G. Stoltz, (2010) 'How to Bounce Back from Adversity', Harvard Business Review 88 (1-2) pp.86-92.

Mintzberg, (1973) ‘The Nature of Managerial Work’. New York: Harper & Row

Shamir, B. & G. Eilam, (2005) 'What's Your Story? A Life-Stories Approach to Authentic Leadership Development', The Leadership Quarterly, 16 (3) pp.395-417.

Yukl, G., (2001) 'The Nature of Managerial Work', in Leadership in Organizations, 5th ed., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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