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Self-handicapping Behavior with Decker and Mitchell’s Theory

Disclaimer: This work has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional academic writers. You can view samples of our professional work here.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UK Essays.

Published: Wed, 13 Sep 2017

Introduction

As a part of initial few assignments, I took the series of self- handicapping survey suggested and designed by Prof. Phillip Decker and Prof. Jordan Mitchell to determine the self-handicapping behavior during general work situation, people management, and leadership role, and identified the traits and knowledge that I need to acquire, learn and practice to be a good team member and leader. But after reading through specific chapters based on identifying self-handicapping situation and behaviors relating to key managerial and leadership role such as accountability, tunnel vision, engagement, analysis and decision making; I have identified many more areas in my professional and personal life which I was practicing and was holding myself back, making excuses and creating obstacles for myself, about which I wasn’t aware of. Some causes for handicapping are similar to the earlier findings of self assessment exercise like poor listening habit and low self esteem, and some of them I wasn’t aware of.

I consider this as an opportunity or blessing in disguise, being an international student and moreover for a person planning a career shift, assessing my strengths and weakness, determining the behavioral aspects and personal approach techniques that handicap my progress honestly, at this point of time is very pivotal. Today as well, I find myself looking for excuses to this mentioned shift when I don’t understand anything or I am unable to achieve the desired results and moreover create hurdles for myself which really affects my learning process adversely. So, during the course of this report I will be discussing my experiences and behaviors that I now recognize as self-handicapping my professional development and learning path with respect to most relevant and related key managerial areas; accountability, tunnel vision, engagement, analysis and decision making; devising a firm action plan to slowly and gradually incorporate a small, positive and permanent behavioral change in professional and personal lifestyle.

Reading through the four book chapters, I took the brief self-assessment survey in the self-handicapping book by Dr. Phillip Decker and Dr. Jordan Mitchell to identify key management and leadership areas out of the four that I really need to focus on to bring around positive change in personal and professional approach following the recommendations and baby steps mentioned in the book.

My Score

Accountability

11

Tunnel Vision

15

Engagement

8

Analysis and Decision Making

7

  • Accountability

At the start of the career, I was more focused on taking care of my responsibility and wasn’t concerns about the accountability part or maybe at that time I didn’t know the difference between being responsible and accountable in the true sense. It took me some time to learn the meaning of accountability through a fair share of good and bad experiences and bit of mentoring, now I understand that personal accountability is about understanding and accepting the task, taking actions to achieve agreed-upon results, answering and taking ownership of the results obtained, regardless of the outcome.

In the book “The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual And Organizational Accountability” authors Roger Connors and Tom Smith defined personal accountability as, “making a personal choice to rise above one’s circumstances and demonstrate the ownership necessary for achieving desired results; to see it, own it, solve it and do it.” Based on the what they have mentioned and experienced, I infer that accountability is something you choose to demonstrate, it is not something that is consigned to you.

Going through the chapter and relating to my professional experiences and management roles, I realized that I have been self-handicapping myself by not prioritize tasks based on the importance, avoiding accountability and in confronting peers, boss and customers at times, and most importantly due to lack of self esteem not taking difficult tasks and assignments which really dented my career progression and learning curve. In a group task or in a leadership role, I observe that at times I procrastinate and put stress on myself, teammates and subordinate. Also lacking to define the roles and task boundaries which tend to overlap and create confusions; moreover most of the times I find myself doing most of the correction works for my subordinates rather than managing resources which in the end, puts more pressure on me playing as the person who is responsible and accountable. The key skills that I need to work on in order to progress would be to reduce and eliminate the fear of accountability; plan, learn and improve self-efficacy.

Personal Accountability Self-Handicap

What is the Situation

Triggers

Impact on Others

What to Do

Specific Behavioral Plan of Action

Timeline

Assessment

Lack of what/how question asking

I avoid asking my senior/ boss regarding work related issues and try to find solutions by myself.

Avoidance and Fear

Due to lack of knowledge and self confidence, I procrastinate and put stress on my teammates. Also I try to find the answers to what I don’t know myself or consult a peer and the resultant of the approach sometime works in the favor of the team and at times effects the task timelines.

(Improve Self confidence, look, listen and learn new knowledge and skill sets)

Start believing in my abilities by shifting locus of control internally, to enhance knowledge base and become more approachable.

1. Be assertive, come out of my comfort zone, reach out to people for knowledge and advice.

2. Take a honest self assessment of specifics management traits to identify the management traits where am I lacking, verify and validate the findings through third parties consultations such family, friends, peers and trustworthy seniors.

3. Find mentors and learn from their experience and knowledge.

4. Engage myself in constructive and supportive managerial/ leadership activities to increase self efficacy.

5. Take steps to create positive environment to promote free flowing ideas and exchange knowledge on management related subject matter.

6. Break-down the difficult tasks into smaller meaning parts, and as I gain confidence in achieving those goals and increase self-efficacy, aim at mastery completing complex, challenging and autonomous jobs.

Mar-2017

Feb-Mar 2017

Feb- Apr 2017

Mar- 2017

Mar-2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Analysis my progress with respect to this particular dimension by noting how many times I went up to my boss for a question/ suggestion/ idea and the severity of impact of that on the task or project. Compare the findings with past results.

Do a 360-degree feedback to verify and validate the applied behavioral changes. Take advice, rectify the approach if necessary and reassess.

Personal Accountability Self-Handicap

What is the Situation

Triggers

Impact on Others

What to Do

Specific Behavioral Plan of Action

Timeline

Assessment

Rather just hide or do my old job

Due to lack of knowledge on work related subject matter and conservative nature, I often don’t participate voluntary or optional work related assignment for professional growth, like seminar & training and during a business presentation or conference, I usually sit at the corner or at the end to avoid interaction and answering to a question.

Expedient avoidance

Due to my conservative nature, I have become really restrictive, I hesitate to share ideas or constructive dialogues with the team and likewise. At times feel left out in a group meeting.

(Improve self- efficacy and facenew challenges)

Improve the public image and socialize, so that they recognize me and my ideas. Create a positive image for me amongst the people around to remember.

1. Practice empathy towards work, people, environment and most importantly towards self.

2. Set small meaningful personal and professional daily targets for me like reading an article or writing a blog about things that interest me and professional related.

3. Present paper at a conference or work related seminar to boost the confidence for public speaking. Thoroughly practice and prepare for the subject matter.

4. Be visible on social media, and connect to profession related group and people, to share thoughts and idea about a subject matter and recent development to mark my presence in the professional circle.

5. Seek mentorship, to verify and validate my ideas before presenting.

Mar-2017

Feb-May 2017

Feb- Apr 2017

ongoing

Mar-Apr-2017

Take feedback from external sources and compare the findings with initial documents to identify the area that I have improved on and what needs further rectification.

Observe and note small behavioral changes made that have made been made and evaluate whether they have become a habit or not and permanent part of the routine. Set new goals or re-devise the implementation part to improve on them.

Poor presentation of self and speech in presentation, social media

Avoidance and Fear

Holding Other Accountable Self-Handicap

What is the Situation

Triggers

Impact on Others

What to Do

Specific Behavioral Plan of Action

Timeline

Assessment

Not holding peers accountable

There have been many instances in my managerial career that at the time of job performance evaluation, my subordinates often respond to accountability questions by ‘they weren’t aware of the criteria’, even though I had mentioned to them in the initial project stage.

Self Deception

Such situation put too much pressure on myself on behalf of the team to get the things done, and at times finds myself getting things done for my subordinates and peers just to meet the project timeline.

Deliberate Action

Design proactive approach on task accountability for the subordinates and peers. Discuss and communicate with them before finalizing, and document them.

1. Hold a daily morning meeting with the team to review performance and discuss what needs to be done and how, so that peers can suggest better advice to complete specific tasks, prioritize and assign workload with realistic timelines and set accountability goals. Include buffer in the schedule to accommodate unexpected events.

2. Make daily meeting note or place a white board for everybody to see, on which task timeline with an accountable person is mentioned, and is updated every morning after the meeting.

3. Publicly acknowledge peer and subordinate performance.

4. Set daily personal task and note them down based on the priorities.

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

A good indicator of this change would be to evaluate peers and subordinates the task related approach and behavioral change in the daily morning. If I consider the things not improving, have a private talk with the person and try to understand his perspective.

Instead of yearly performance review, have a monthly or quarterly review, to assess the performance, and correct them if required.

Key behaviors and Baby steps: (derived from Self-Handicapping Leadership- the nine behaviors holding back employees, managers and companies and how to overcome them, by Phillip Decker and Jordan Mitchell)

Most of the behavioral changes are focused on improving self-efficacy and regaining confidence to complete difficult tasks and face new challenges.

  • Arrive at the next meeting/ class before time and prepare for it respectively. I heard an interesting technique for time management from a third person that ‘Reaching a meeting 5 mins early is being on time and reaching on time means you’re late.’, I will try to implement this philosophy.
  • Be humble and honest in accepting my shortcomings. Enhance my understanding for the respective, seek assistance and push myself in questioning and analyzing regarding the unknown.
  • Start writing a daily diary to self-analysis, ‘what I have achieved and lost during the day, and mark positive events and their outcomes.’
  • Try to incorporate small positive behavioral change around my daily routine, like reading, writing and meditating.

Resultant of these activities would be:

  • I would feel confident when I walk into a meeting or class.
  • The desire to learn and improve would push and drive me to accept my shortcomings and reach out people to overcome them.
  • I would be better able to identify positive and negative behavior, devise a personal action plan for them.
  • Incorporating small behavioral change around daily routine would soon become a habit and will have a positive impact.
  • Tunnel Vision:

Reading through the chapter and relating it to my previous professional and limited managerial experience, I consider tunnel vision as one key self-handicapping factor that executives and professional face as a hurdle in the growth and more importantly remain unaware about this shortcoming. We always ask our self why aren’t we getting a promotion and the other person is, even though I have more knowledge and experience, now I understand that the reason for it is tunnel vision. The top management looks at the person from various dimensions but the most critical and important one is they see whether the person takes into account the bigger picture and absolute goals when approaching smaller tasks, their understanding of what is happening beyond the boundaries of our particular job, department or organization. We need to avoid blindness in relation to information, internal and external environment, and understand the fine line between company vision and tunnel vision.

During the process of identifying behavior and self-analyzing my work philosophy with the newly acquired knowledge and understanding of tunnel vision, honestly found out that I focus on what’s in my inbox and isolate in my workplaces, working in my particular department, head down, and focusing on the specific job. I have little to no awareness of what may be going on outside of my little sphere. Often, restricting myself to useful information from the colleagues which could assist me in decision making. Reviewing and revisiting my 7-year career in textiles, I can well identify the decisions and approaches where I exercised tunnel vision. Switching jobs for small benefits and not taking into account the learning path early on in my career; which dented my resume and progress. Later on, in the managerial role due to my introvert nature, the team often got pressurize to meet the result and had to go though unnecessary efforts to meet the timeline.

Digging into reasons, taking the self-assessment and analysis test, talking to friends, family and close acquaintances relating the findings to my previous limited professional experience; I found out the lack of self-confidence and self-efficacy in my abilities as one of the prime reason of self-handicapping and exercising tunnel vision. Due to the mentioned I never reached out to people and connected to them, exercised poor listening and writing skills which added to the misery and always procrastinated to make things even difficult for myself and people around me. During the action plan and baby steps, I would be primarily focused on improving my listening, writing and networking skills to open myself up to new idea and experiences which would help in the longer run. Implementing a behavioral change around my routine schedule, so that they slowly and latterly become permanent and a positive change.

Tunnel Vision Self-Handicap

What is the Situation

Triggers

Impact on Others

What to Do

Specific Behavioral Plan of Action

Timeline

Assessment

Deal with procrastination

I consider myself as not a good writer, and always try to avoid or take too much time doing it. I try to mask my shortcomings and indulge myself other non-related activities like social media to avoid the task at hand.

Apprehension

In a group project setting, due to my habits and I tend to put too much pressure on myself by procrastinating things, which is later transferred to other team members, resulted is there is a hassle to meet the project timeline and often we have compromise on the results.

Face it

I need to focus on building my self-confidence and writing abilities. I have to face my fear and take baby steps to convert my weakness into strength. Timely manage my work to effectively and efficiently get the required results.

1. Get out of my comfort zone and embrace myself for change.

2. Self assess and take professional help to identify areas where I need to improve, learn new skills and new perspectives.

3. Write a daily personal and professional to do list, in the order to priorities.

4. Identify and park/ block unproductive activities during work hours like face- book and whatsapp.

5. Find a method of meditation and exercise daily for 10-15 mins to self reflect on the changes happening, analysis them and gain positives out of them.

6. Set small meaningful personal and professional daily targets for myself to write a blog or personal article about things that interest me. Take feedback from close friends and family, also professional acquaintances like ex- boss about respective piece of writing, listen to the criticism positively and implement the changes gradually.

Feb-2017

Feb-Mar 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Take 360-degree feedback to check the progress and rectify the shortcomings.

Self-evaluates the consistency in the mentioned behavioral change. Honestly, answer the important question “Have they became a habit and are they having a positive impact?”, if required make necessary changes.

Tunnel Vision Self-Handicap

What is the Situation

Triggers

Impact on Others

What to Do

Specific Behavioral Plan of Action

Timeline

Assessment

Ignoring people after get your way

At times, I find myself so much into things that I blind side myself by not hearing to what others have to say or suggest and what is happening around me.

Self Deception

Due to my introvert nature, I restrict myself to new ideas from my peers and subordinate, create a perception about them without knowing their story and thoughts; which really effects my ability to approach them during an assignment and after also. Resultant of this affects group cohesion and ability to achieve better and positive team efforts.

Look and Listen

One of the reasons that I self-analyzed during the initial assignments that I am not a good listener and have low self-esteem which greatly impacts my people interaction. So my prime objective would be to improve my verbal and non-verbal communication techniques to gain self-confidence.

1. Practice being patience during a conversation and discussion.

2. Divert my full focus and attention to the speaker and to what they are saying. Avoid distraction from the surrounding.

3. Clear my mind, try to visualize what the speaker is referring to and not jump to conclusions.

4. Respect the person speaking and their ideas. Contain the urge to ask unnecessary questions and learn the art of supportive questioning through taking support from mentors and reading articles based on it. Monitor my self-talk.

5. Learn to use and interpret non-verbal communication through reading and observing the people and surrounding.

6. Every day, greet people around me with a simple smile or ‘hello’; and if the conversation follows, go with the flow. Have an open and casual discussion with team members.

7. Join team members during lunch and tea time and have a casual non-work related conversation in order to understand the person and likewise.

Feb-2017

Feb-Mar 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb-Apr 2017

Feb- Mar 2017

Take different listening psychometric tests , and get it evaluated through third party to compare the finding with self analysis.

Take 360-degree feedback to check the progress and rectify the shortcomings.

Self-evaluates the consistency in the mentioned behavioral change. Honestly, answer the important question “Have they became a habit and are they having a positive impact?”, if required make necessary changes.

Key behaviors and Baby steps:    

The baby steps are particularly focused on reducing the personal isolation, socializing and exposing me to new information, opportunities and challenges.

  • Set up Google Alerts account and set a preference to the areas that I need to improve and profession related update, this will bring information to me. Take out 10-15 mins daily to go through the information.
  • Seek advice and network with people not having same preference or profession, and share ideas and discuss on general issues this will give me more perspectives and new angles to approach an issue.
  • Develop a regular questioning habit and a focus on finding the right questions to explore.
  • Develop a habit to reassess my strength and weakness by taking into account external factors, if required take help from family, friends and close acquaintance.

Resultant of these activities would be:

  • Reading through profession related topic would really enhance my knowledge and by commenting on them on social media like Twitter and LinkedIn would improve the thinking process and articulating skills.
  • Seeking advice and networking with non-profession related people will help me bring in information and ideas that will reinvigorate what I do and how I do it, providing me new interesting perspectives and ideas that will improve my general management and leadership skills.
  • During the professional career shift, continuously reassessing my strength and weakness in connection to what is happening in the outside world would help me in providing a clarity that what I need to fight career tunnel and realign my action plan accordingly to focus my efforts towards better personal development.

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