Personal development planning is the process of creating a plan of action that is solely based on knowledge, evidences, thinking and setting targets for development of personality of one's self for betterment, or advancement in career. Personality development portfolio is the process of evaluating the performance and learning ability by measuring their learning and accomplishments. It helps an individual to devise a plan of action that will facilitate the individual in achieving their preset goals. These goals can be related to their career, education or personal needs. The difference between a portfolio and a plan is subtle yet important. The particular path that needs to be followed in order to attain the goals id delineated by a plan whereas portfolio contains the actual traits of the personality of an individual. Portfolio contains necessary information like achievements and it also helps them evaluate their development. It can be considered as the initial process of personal development planning.
A personality of an individual is a collection of their knowledge, motivating factors, capacity and ability. It is also expressed in the way they communicate with other individuals and the way they interact with external environment. The personality of an individual is a decisive factor in setting the goals, and working towards achievement of those goals. Hence it is necessary to evaluate and consider all the attributes of the personality of an individual while developing a portfolio. (Nettle, 2007)
Honey and Mumford put forward a model that defines four learning styles. According to the model activist, reflector, theorist and pragmatist are the four different learning styles. An activist person is dynamic and enthusiastic to involve themselves in relatively new areas to get familiar and expand their horizons. An activist is not afraid of accepting challenges or working in new and unfamiliar situations. A reflector is a person who observes his surrounding environment and learns from them. His decision making is based on a lot of critical thinking and analysis. A pragmatic person needs to verify the success by implementation before adopting a new learning practice. A theorist adopts a linear or step by step approach to problem solving. (Lockitt, 1997; Price, 2004)
Considering the Honey and Mumford model of learning and applying it to me, it occurred to me that I am both an activist and a pragmatist and at the same time. I have acumen to learn and assimilate new things and gain experience from them which is the attitude of an activist. But accepting the new learning is based on the output of the practical implementation of these learning's which the attitude of a pragmatist is. I do not fear accepting challenges and try not to miss new learning opportunities. Another model for learning is VARK proposed by Fleming and Mills. The term VARK denotes different dimensions of learning i.e. V= visual, A= aural, R=reading (and writing) and K= kinaesthetic. Visual learning is done through using visual sources like charts, graphs, symbols etc. Aural learning is carried out through active listening this includes tutorials, lectures, group discussions etc. Reading books, newspapers and journals also stimulates learning. Kinaesthetic learning is learning using simulations or reality to gain experience. I think that my learning is stimulated through all four of styles of learning. Visuals help me in learning new things through graphic images, active listening to others and participation in group discussions, this facilitates learning by getting a knowledge of different perspectives of different people and by broadening my horizons and increased thinking.. Reading from different sources and writing them down helps me memorize them well. Kinesthetic helps in learning by practical implementation that quenches the thirst of the pragmatist in me. (Lockitt, 1997; Price, 2004)
Effectiveness at Work (In A Group)
It is easy to work individually but it is hard to work with in a team. It is hard to work as 'we' rather than 'I'. A team is a blend of different type of people. They can be authoritarians or submissive, enthusiastic or dull, proactive or passive. According to the Belbin's theory of team role contribution classify various type of people in a team (Aritzeta, Swailes & Senior, 2007; Prichard, J. S. & Stanton, N. A., 1999). The theory states that there is a monitor in a team who considers all options before passing a judgment, A plant is a person who is the creativity hub of the team. Resource investigator is excited and passionate about his work. An implementer is the team member who practically implements what has been originally planned. A completer is meticulous and perfectionist. He never misses small details. A Coordinator facilitates coordination among all team members and acts as a solicitor. After a careful examination of this theory and analysis of myself, I came to conclusion that I am a team worker and a completer. Being a team worker is my cherished role. I always work in a team as a team and do not highlight my individual self. I listen to others, take directions well and help other team members when needed. On the other hand I am very meticulous about my work; I want to finish the job that has been assigned to me and never leave it incomplete. These two qualities make me a strange blend. I am very approachable but at the same time very fussy about the quality of the work which makes me equally rigid. But still I think that I am an asset to my team and I work hard for achieving the goals of the team. (Aritzeta, Senior & Swailes, 2005; Fisher, S. G., Hunter & Macrosson, 2002; Manning, Parker & Pogson, 2006)
Strengths and Weaknesses
Analysis of strengths and weaknesses is very important for evaluating oneself. This analysis needs to be realistic and honest as it helps in the future. It also facilitates performance appraisals and identifies needs for improvement. The analysis of strengths and weaknesses of oneself serves to make a better person by working on eliminating the weaknesses and doubling the strengths.
Performance can only be measured by taking due cognizance of one's weaknesses and strengths. This helps in focusing on minimizing the harm done by the weaknesses and concentrating on the strengths. Taking weaknesses into account is more important than thinking about strengths in my opinion. I will talk about my weaknesses first. My top most weakness is I have an authoritarian and rigid attitude and it is hard for me to work under someone. I keep on giving directions to others and refuse to work with or under people who do not follow work ethics. Also, the excitement of completing some task swells my head which sometimes gives a snobbish impression of me on others. The activist in me is not afraid to accept a challenge which in some cases is strength and in some cases is a weakness.
My strengths are that I have very strong oral and written communication skills. I never have any problem in making other people understand my point view or in communicating my ideas. I am good a team player. I can work towards achieving the goals in a team environment. I can manage during high pressure and stress situations. I am competitive by nature and strive in a competitive environment. I think myself to be good leader and manager but my minimal experience is a big disadvantage.
I need to work on improving my strengths to attain my present goals. For this purpose I need to work on improving my management and public dealing skills. Effective listening needs to be developed to minimize my authoritarian attitude.
Leadership is the most significant characteristic of an individual's personality. There are different styles of leadership depending on the personality of the individual. Authoritarian leaders direct their employees towards task that needs to be done and do not believe in employee empowerment. The typical attributes of this style are termed as dictatorial, controlling and bossy. Participative leaders believe in contribution of employees during making the decisions. They give guidance rather than dictations on how to do a task. Delegative (Laissez-Faire) style of leadership gives complete empowerment to the employees (Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt & van Engen, 2003). Employees are free to make their own decisions. Productivity level for this style, in my opinion, must be lesser than any other style of leadership.
Participative or democratic style of leadership suits my nature and abilities best. I believe in involvement of every single team member in the process of decision making. In teams everyone works for the team rather than him or herself. Feedback of the rest of the team is very important to work towards achieving the goals. This style of leadership builds an environment that is based on mutual trust and confidence. But sometimes to improve the productivity, circumstances require the leader to be authoritarian. To improve the output and the quality of the work and maintain a healthy work environment I think that I need to find some balance between authoritarian and democratic style of leadership. This will facilitate me in being a better leader and attaining my goals. (Harari, 2002; Schein, 2004)
Motivation factors are very important for an individual. These factors inspire individuals to work towards achievement of their goals with dedication and honesty. These factors are the major reason behind an individual's decision to work towards attainment of goals. Several theories have been put forward in this context. Maslow's theory states that the first motivational factor for humans is their physiological needs, and then comes the turn of their safety, social, self-esteem and self-actualization. If one need is accomplished, the next one becomes the motivational factor. If I think about myself, my physiological, security and social needs are already accomplished. I am on the fourth level of the hierarchy and working towards reaching the fifth level. Maintaining and retaining my self-esteem is very important for me at this stage. This can be done through following the right path to achieve the goals I have set for myself.
Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator:
Myers Briggs theory is based on the observation, sensitivity and interaction of an individual with the environment. According to the theory sixteen different types of personality exist. When I analysed myself I came to the conclusion that I am extrovert, feeling and perceiving at the same time. The activist in me makes me an extrovert. I am a good communicator; I never hesitate to express my feelings in front of others. I not only listen to other people but also express my views. I am a very helpful person; I feel the responsibility of helping others in the time of trouble. I can never turn a deaf ear to some ones plea for help. I am adventurous and active, hence a perceiver. The pragmatist in me makes me a perceiver. (Quenk, 2000)
Action Plan and Development Needs
My action plan will include the important areas of my personality that need to be improved. It is an important part of my plan for growth and development. My action plan will precise, quantifiable, achievable and realistic. My plan of action will address issues like improving performance, areas that need to be improved and the skills that I need to acquire for better growth opportunities in future. I have a natural ability of management but i need to polish myself by gaining more experience and knowledge of management techniques.
This exercise has helped me a lot in understanding myself. It has helped me in evaluating the areas of my personality that need to be improved. This has helped to formulate a well-structured plan after the self-analysis. Through this exercise I have been able to judge my abilities and put me on the right track towards achievement of my goals. I now understand myself and my capabilities better. I have realized that which characteristics of mine will help me in future and which will have a negative impact on my future. The theories discuss have a strong relation with my personality and gave a better insight into who I am. These theories are not only an important contribution to literature but also to the practical life.