I am currently working as a manager at Wilkinsons Hardware Store Ltd. I have been in the position of a manager for 6 years now. Managing an organisation requires a big degree of confidence, skills, knowledge and a vast know-how of dealing with the business and people at the same time, and with the day to day changing environment, I have to keep pace with the new technology to be able to manage my business. Considering the level of effort needed to run a business, my objective is to transfer my enthusiasm, creativity and experience into a position where I continue to grow personally as well as contribute to the growth of the organization. To do so, I need to identify unique ways which will help me to carry out new learning and research activities to develop my needs as a manager. At all levels of the organisation, I need to make sure I understand the level of professionalism such as communication, leadership skills and time management required. The approach I will use to deal with people and the business will reflect my personality at the same time, therefore, my own personal development will play a great role as well. Thus, focussing on my own self will be as much important as increasing the effectiveness of the business. As a manager, I must be able to build awareness of who I am, my personality, interests and motivations to be able to progress further.
To help ensure success of my business, I, as a manager need to have a broad range of skills relating to management, leadership and interpersonal. My objective as a manager is to produce an overall branch consistency through quality staff training and the achievement of all customer service, systems, productivity and personnel targets. And to be successful, I must be able to master my skills and get a balance on the processes which I follow to get my job done.
The management skills pyramid is the approach which I use to review and assess my own performance current management skills.
Management Skills Pyramid
Motivation Training Involvement
Get it done
Plan Organise Direct Control
Personal Learning Plan - Self Appraisal Form
The management skill pyramid Â© 2009 F. John Reh
These four levels of management skills built on each other is a perfect tool to continually monitor my progress as a manager.
Level 1 (Plan, organise, direct and control) shows the basic skills which I use just to get the job done.
Level 2 (motivation, training and coaching, involvement) is where I use my skills, after mastering my basic skills, to develop and train my staff to meet the requirements of their job role through the achievement of company targets for assessment and competence and the implementation of the training and development strategy.
Level 3 (time management, self management) is to improve myself after becoming skilled in developing my staff by ensuring that standards are maintained throughout the day by directing and coordinating all key personnel.
Level 4 (leadership) is the peak of the management skill pyramid. It is the single skill that helps me the most in developing success in my management career. As I make the transition from manager to leader, I realise the success I truly want as a manager.
By following these 4 steps, I know I am fulfilling all my responsibilities as a manager and at the same time I can review and assess my own management skills by contributing to the achievement of branch targets through an accurate schedule analysis. And also, by projecting a professional image and attitude as laid down by company policy and agreed standards at all times.
At the same time, I have conducted a detailed self assessment inventory to review my performance and determine any areas which I need to consider as a manager.
Personal Learning Plan - Self Appraisal Form
Name : Ketki Pooja Goburdhun Date : 21 September 2009
What aspects of your current role do you find most enjoyable / satisfying?
Managing people and looking for opportunities to promote my business
Are there areas of your job that you find difficulty with?
Are there any areas that you dislike?
Dealing with customer complaints
What would you say are your personal strengths?
I am able to build good rapport with my staff
I can understand my natural tendencies and make them work in my favour
What have been your most important achievements in the last year?
Increased level of productivity which increased the profit by 19%
Staff training and development
Do you have any particular career ambitions?
To progress in the retail industry and become a regional manager from a branch manager
What would help you achieve these ambitions?
Through research and new technologies by adhering to all personnel policies and procedures and projecting a professional image and attitude laid down by the company policy and standards at all times
What in the last 12 months has made you change the way you practise?
Good staff relationship and morale
New technologies and competition within the retail sector
What areas have you improved in the last 12 months?
Customer service - there are less customer complaints
Sickness and absence targets have been achieved through the implementation of company sickness policy
What learning / training needs have become apparent to you in the last 12 months?
Information Technology and First Aid training to be able to deal with any emergency in the store
What areas do you intend to address in the next 12 months?
Communication - to be able to listen and talk more effectively to team members and give them the chance to have their say in the better performance of the business
What educational efforts will you use to address this?
Follow a course in communication and human resources
Try to use the correct words and phrases while talking to people
How will you evaluate this?
By observing and analysing the response of the other party
How will your learning benefit the practice?
It will help in building a better rapport between team members
A better communication channel to key people and staff will be actioned to enable them to contribute to branch performance
Based on my current role and situation, I have devised a personal development plan (PDP) and a skill audit to prioritise the most important areas that I need to concentrate for further improvement and training and the actions which I need to take for better results.
A PDP is a process that will enhance and support my experience as a manager. By engaging in PDP I will be reviewing, building and reflecting on my personal and managerial development. This process will encourage me to take a step back and reflect on what I have achieved so far in a structured way. It will also clearly involve identifying my goals and planning the steps I need to take to accomplish them. (appendix1) and the skill audit will provide a better way of gathering information about my capabilities to perform specified tasks.
At the same time, I have devised a curriculum vitae (CV) for my career aims and needs (appendix 2). The CV is a written description of my work experience, educational background, and skills. It will highlight my academic and professional history.
2.2 TASK 2
The PDP and action plans I have devised have to be continually reviewed and monitored to assess the success of my project and to know whether the project is really operating, and if it is operating according to its plan and description. So far, I have been able to gather information and findings that came to light during data collection that were never anticipated when my plans were first designed. Through effective communication, I was able to give people support and advice when they needed it especially during periods of setback and change. And encourage them to take a lead in their own areas of expertise and show willingness to follow this lead.
There was as well a slight increase in company's sales. Staff are giving a better performance through motivation and rewards and they are more keen in adapting to new technological change.
Yet, there is still some areas which I need to focus for example which leadership style (directing, coaching, supporting, and delegating) I should use in which situation. Although the temptation may be to manage each individual the same, the first step to becoming a successful leader is to recognise the degree of involvement the follower has in the business. Also, there are some other elements of effective leadership which I need to follow for example when delivering a reprimand where I have to be more specific, immediate, and share my feelings to re-affirm support so the other party feels sufficiently motivated to show the level of performance that they know they are capable of. Therefore, I feel the need to set another objective for my self and professional development to be able to deliver an effective reprimand as never to lose sight of the fact that the purpose of reprimand is to improve the performance of the individual. I give myself another 3 months time to be a better leader where I can decide which leadership style is appropriate to which situation where my behaviour will make the follower gain experience and confidence.
A critical component of clarifying goals and objectives is the identification of the evaluation focus.
Before the outcomes of a project are evaluated it is useful to know whether the project is really operating, and if it is operating according to its plan or description, therefore to get a feedback on my progress and to be able to regularly review and monitor it, I have devised another set of steps to follow to make sure my objectives are met accordingly as the goal is being actioned. Thus, I need to at all time make sure that
â€¢ the appropriate trained and skilled staff are involved on the planned activities and
working in accordance with the proposed plan
â€¢ the activities and strategies match those described in the plan, if not, are changes
activities justified and described
â€¢ tasks are performed according to proposed timeline
â€¢ appropriate health and safety measures are in place
Feedback on my performance can also be obtained from different levels of the organisations through team briefs, meetings, surveys and questionnaires. The more response I get from team members on my performance, the more I get to know where I am heading towards, whether it is the right direction or I need to reconsider the steps and procedures I should follow.
2.3 TASK 3
Working in today's busy and competitive business environment is a challenge in itself. New technological advances are quickly and highly integrating in businesses and team members find it difficult to adapt to quick changes and are often lagged behind. They feel demotivated when they realise other members of the organisation who are more resistant to change are giving a better performance. They become less productive and fail to meet the timeline.
As a manager, it is important for me, to individually manage, plan, monitor and assess each team member's performance and give them the right direction as my performance is partly measured on the results my team achieves. At this stage, I need to give my people support and advice and to react to the changing technological circumstances, I should search out new ideas or techniques which I can apply to such a situation and take the first opportunity to experiment it with applications for example I should send few of the team members on a course or organise a workshop for them. As a result, I should expect improvements to happen in small rather than huge increments. I should encourage and welcome changes with positive feedback and avoid criticism for falling short.
The way I communicate and deliver my message to team members plays the most important part of how they will react. I need to be very careful in my approach and use language and words which are very fairly interpreted so that team members do not end up feeling resentful. I should be clear in my conversation, consistent and logical, relevant and discreet and I make sure I always ask for feedback after any conversation. Mostly, I should be a good listener to be able to listen to team members' problems and therefore decide on what approach to use as we all have different personality traits and we have preference of how we behave in a situation. I need to identify how people look at me, this may be different in different situations but once I have some accurate feedback I can start to modify my behaviour in key situations. I should be patient and try to work at it.
At the same time, I have devised some tools which ultimately make me succeed in today's working world, they are:
â€¢ Smile. Maintain a positive, cheerful attitude about work and about life. Smile often. The positive energy you radiate will draw others to you.
â€¢ Be appreciative. Find one positive thing about everyone you work with and let them hear it. Be generous with praise and kind words of encouragement. If team members know they are appreciated, they will want to give their best.
â€¢ Pay attention to others. Observe what's going on in other team members' lives. Acknowledge their happy milestones, and express concern for difficult situations.
As well I need to develop my abilities to better organise and manage my personal and career development. I should be more practical in managing my time and business skills. Effective time management begins by being able to organise myself and my own time. Only when I achieve this consistently I can concern myself with organising others. I must first create and complete a time log of how I will spend my time. I need to have a work plan before hand and prioritise my daily and weekly tasks to achieve maximum performance. I must be able to identify and eliminate the most serious time bandits (the things that waste my time) like not to bring personal problems at work.
At the end of the day, I should go back to my work plan and check if I have been in line to what I planned to do and how much time I spent on which tasks. If possible prepare a time sheet for the next day and give more time to more designated areas of the business. Time costs money. Therefore, it is important to achieve the standards and targets that I have set for myself and the business on time.
2.4 TASK 4
To gain career and personal development, I need to identify suitable methods with I should undertake to make my experience and skills more effective. There are certain learning styles which individuals adopt to identify their own natural learning preference through which they can expand the way they learn and at the same time create an environment where other individuals can follow.
One of the most widely used models of learning styles is index of learning styles developed by Richard Felder and Linda Silverman in the late 1980s (appendix 3). According to this model, there are four dimensions of learning styles.
Once an individual knows where his preferences lie on each of these dimensions, he can begin to stretch beyond those preferences and develop a more balanced approach to learning. Not only he will improve his learning effectiveness, but as well he will open himself to many different ways of perceiving the world.
Judicious use of those learning styles gives a chance to use a variety of techniques so that each individual gets one or more which suits them best.
As a manager, following the right approach to learning and development has helped me to identify my ability to take in new information and make sense of it quickly, accurately, and effectively. I have developed a leadership style where I am able to resolve conflicts rationally and effectively and use the right approach for the right situation. I know my motivation to lead and I am perfectly able to coach team members to improve performance. I am capable of maximising productivity through improved focus, making the best use of resources and time.
I can better understand the different risks of different options, focussing effort which gives the greatest returns. Identify the cause of problems, widening the search for solutions and organise ideas into common themes. Develop self confidence by staying cool under pressure. Analyse pressures for and against change. Understand new ideas by brainstorming questions and choosing the right step by projecting possible outcomes. I have as well learnt to plan and schedule more complex projects by generating different perspectives and making better job analysis.
These developments can be maintained or rather made more effective not only for me as a manager but for any individual through continuous learning or lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is the voluntary and self- motivated pursuit of knowledge which enhances social inclusion, personal development, competitiveness and employability. It raises personal and professional awareness by encouraging people to involve themselves in new experiences and be open-minded.
Lifelong learning can be achieved by keeping on trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work. By observing other people, taking note of how they react to a specific situation, by being selective of what is more useful; be detached and analytical and comfortable with lateral thinking. Be more enthusiastic about anything new, act on the past, the present and consider the opinion of others. One should be continuously engaged in activities, capture the consequences of certain activities and take a step back to reflect on it. Learning is not confined to a school or place of work. Learning is a global aspect which every individual should make good use of.
3. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
By taking time to build a greater self awareness of who I am, my personality, interests, skills and motivations and to develop a personal profile, I have achieved a firm foundation for managing my own self and my career. Following the right steps and procedures has made me aware of my strength and weaknesses, where I need to build more awareness and understand the opportunities open to me.
I fully understand that I have to review my development over time by revisiting the goals I set for myself, with followed action plans and reflect on my progress at all levels. And through learning at every single step, I have gained a knowledge and an understanding of myself which has helped me to develop a better and more focussed position of where I best fit in.
Managing my personal and professional life depends on the balance of how I learn and progress alternatively. Learning is lifelong and therefore success is lifelong through the right approach.