PERSONAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND TEAM WORK ANALYSIS

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Effective organizational performance is an aspect that every organization would like to achieve but how those organizations can generate a high performance. Teamwork must be one of the answers. This assignment provides some information and points out that why team work is important more than group work, and also demonstrates the way which team members interact in order to make their work process flow smoothly. Being a good team member, skills requirement is considered because personal skills can be useful in terms of develop a team's performance. Due to this consideration, this is my good chance to improve my skills by identifying some skills which need to be improved. Creating the personal development plan and doing a skills audit are tools which can help me to achieve my goal. As I am currently in the last term before doing my dissertation of the MBA course this assignment will show what I have developed so far and show how much I achieve my goals. This assignment is divided into three tasks as follows:

1. Describe the different between team and group and Identify and critically reflect on the relationship between the objectives of significant operational task and my individual role and objectives. Moreover, this task will demonstrate and evaluate how I interacted with my colleagues and show my opinion in what I would do if I look back on the significant task and why I would do that.

2. This part shows how I have developed my skills over the course through my personal portfolio

3. This part shows the reflection on the process of my skills development

1 . Working with a number of colleagues on a given project or significant operational task

1.1 The differences between team and group

The word group and team usually are used interchangeably, but there are actually a number of differences between a team and a group depends on which part you have considered. Longman dictionary defined both words base on the word meaning : "group defined as several people or things that are all together in the same place" and "team defined as a group of people who have been chosen to work together to do a particular job". Besides you can consider a difference between group and team by focusing on a relationship among members in group or team. Usually, members in a team are close to each other and their individual tasks are related to one another. Significantly, team donates more than one individual involve in goal-oriented joint action while group refer to informal clustering of more than one individual (Wilson A. 1998) and it goes beyond individual accomplishments. (Ruth & Herman G.1940). In a group, members they are grouped together for administrative purpose only, some members might not know each other before but working as a team, they work together because they got a team goal which is best accomplished with manual support and the relationship across individuals is obvious. (RDI handbook, 2009) The important factor which differentiates team from group is the interdependent among the team member in performing the team task (Saiyadain M.S, 2003) The team members are diverse in terms of various perspectives, personalities, status and role.

1.2 Significant operational task

During my previous job, I was working in the hospitality sector, (In the small size hotel sector), as a general assistant in a hotel's restaurant. On my operational task within the hotel's restaurant, all staff were gathered to do our own individual task. As the explanation about team and group above, I think working with my colleagues on the significant operational task is close to a team concept. According to the team concept, goal-oriented joint action is a key point which indicates that we were working as team because we had a goal which we wanted to achieve by working together because our individual tasks are linked. Significantly, my team goal was to make sure that we satisfy customer needs and expectations with a high quality of service. In my team, there were thirteen staff who had a responsibility concern to a whole process of service delivery (e.g manager, kitchen staff, waiting staff,) As I mention above, having the same goal is the key which pulling all team members together because all tasks in the whole work process are linked. In order to achieve the goal, we needed to go towards the same direction because teamwork is a joint action of a group member and each team members have to contribute their skills and opinion toward the team goal. Therefore, our team member, firstly, had to be aware and clear about the goals and understand individual roles and tasks. My main role was dealing with customers and make sure that they got the best service and other team members also got their particular task but every tasks were linked to one another. Working as team, leadership skills is very important. Leadership can be defined as the process of influencing and persuade others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it.(Gary Yukl, 2006) In the team we needed someone who can motivate and lead team members in to the right direction without any fear of any problems. Besides, working as team, we had to interact among members all the time to make our process flow smoothly in the right direction.

1.3 Interaction among team members

Significantly, Interacting among team members is the key aspect which can affect to a whole performance because it helps the team to achieve the goal effectively. According to Longman dictionary, Interaction is defined as a kind of action which two or more objects can affect to each other. The contribution from members such as exchanging opinion, idea or knowledge can help the team perform more effective. (Beyerlein M. et al,. 2000) Generally, every team member develop the ways of interacting among members over the time, especially interpersonal communication among members because the effectiveness of a whole performance always depends on how well team members interact to one another. Often, autonomous teams are presented the best practice for increased performance (Hellenthal A. and Molleman E. 2008) because working as team, there exists no single in order to bring the best solution. The interaction such as how a team makes decisions, assigns work, and holds members accountable determines team success, these are very important to consider in any team work. According to my work experience, all of the team members had to clear in mind and understand the team's goal, otherwise we might have been gone in a different direction. In our day-to-day job, we were assigned a task by a team leader. Basically, team leader was not the same member all the time, it depends on the situation. And in any decision making, there was always interaction among team members because in any decision-making everyone had to hold the responsibility for the decision which was finally made because we were working as team. All team members reserved a right to agree or disagree and showed our opinion directly towards our leader. Moreover, because of our tasks were linked and would have been effected to one another, therefore staff meeting which was hold every two week in order to give a chance for staff to apprise our performances and tried to find a solution for any particular problems.

1.4 Significant operational task and the real situation in my work place

According to the theory of communication, (RDI hand book, 2009) effective communication within any organization is an aspect that organizations have to concern. Bad communication will inevitably lead to loss of income or worse. Basically, there are three basic types of communications; two-way communication is the one which is highly effective because both sender and receiver can give their feedback directly. Compare with my work experience, my team goal was meeting the customer expectation by delivering a good service. In day-to-day task, good communication skills would be very useful for working as team because in the whole process of working, we had to communicate with the team members all the time to make sure that we reached all customers' expectation in terms of service quality. Generally, team members were assigned a task and address a daily goal by a leader every morning and the leader also allowed us to present our idea which might be useful for the team if there was a special event such as private party. During any day working, the most difficult situation was, when there was a special order and waiting staff had to transfer that order to a chef. We had to make sure that we meet the customer's expectation. Apart from the day-to-day task, every two weeks, there was a meeting which made for all team members to discuss a whole performance in the past two weeks. Every team member would have got all information which was useful for improving the team performance such as feedbacks from customers which were collected directly from customers. We also got a chance to present our point of view and share our ideas and find the areas of agreement as the basis for collaboration. Personally, I think the way that the operational task was managed was reasonable and efficient, because good communication among team member was very important for working as a team. If I could manage this task, I would still maintain this good point about two-way communication but I would think more about staff commitment issue because all staff members were a part of the success and we should return some benefits back to staff for their hard work by appealing to them in terms of reward package such as salary, bonus, status and recognition. If we could win the staff commitment, staff would be happy to work towards the operational task and we would get the best performance from them.

2. Personal Portfolio

Personal Development Plan is a tool which contains actions or aspirations oriented towards any of the following aims and it should be seen as a constant process involving enhancement and development of abilities, skills and knowledge (RDI handbook, 2009). Apparently, skills audit is important for everyone who would like to set up PDP. Skills audit is a tool which is designed to help you to identify your strengths, weaknesses and areas for development within various skills areas. (RDI handbook, 2009)

Before I set up my PDP, I did a skills audit and four of important skills were chosen to be improved as the table below.

Skills Audit

Knowledge and skills which I consider to be important for future job

Ability Rating

(1-5)

1.Leadership skills

2

2. Prioritizing skill

4

3.Communication skills

3

4. Planning skill

3

5. IT skills

2

Note : see appendices for the original skills audit

According to the skills audit above, I identified my skills which needed to be improved and chose some activities to support me to improve my skills. There are four skills which I think they will be useful for my future career. Those skills are :

1. Leadership skill

From my skills audit above I gave myself in a low rating and I thought I needed to improve this skill because this skill is very important skill for a manager. In the workplace manager should have an ability to motivate a team member to work toward a common goal and get the job done in order to make the over performance more effective and successful. For improving this skill, I set some activities such as participating in any group task (classroom) , reading a book "Leadership skills for managers" . During six months for improving leadership skill, I have been gaining a lot of knowledge and I got many chance to practice this skill. Significantly, I have leant how to persuade group members to agree with my idea and also learn how to be good leader in the group when we were assign the group task such as team's discussions and presentations during class assignments. I also learn from reading books which contain leadership articles. These books helped me to understand the differences between manager and leader; how the leader is so important to very work project and it also teaches me how to be a good leader.

2. Prioritizing skill

Prioritizing skills is important for manager because good manager is a person who manages to plan the schedule and divide time equally between tasks can be an asset for the organization. This skill basically was the skill which I gave myself a highest rating among all skills. In the past six months, I improve this skill a lot especially during the MBA course. Generally, there were many assignments which had to be submitted on time, therefore, this skill is very useful for me because I could prioritize all my works and working on the most important at each moment and could submit all my assignment on time.

3. Communication skills

Communication skills are very important for working as a team. Working as a team, Bad communication will inevitably lead to loss of income or worse. My communication skills at the beginning of the course were not good enough. Language was my barrier because English is not my first language. Therefore, participating in any group task (classroom) was the activity which useful for improving these skills. During my course, I got many chance to improve my communication skills such as discussion class, work as a group and communicate to other group members. Furthermore, I have learnt a lot form the books about communication. In order to become a more effective communicator, I have learnt many different communication's channels such as memos - emails - meetings - teleconferencing - instant messaging

4. Planning skill

Planning skill is one of those skills which allows a manager to anticipate such issues and be prepared should they arise. My action plan for improving this skill were reading and researching articles or books which are related to an assignment. Over the past six months, I read a lot of books which were useful to my assignment such as the book about Human Resource Management, Managing Change, Marketing, Finance and operational management. Apart from reading, I did practice some exercises before the 24 hours assessment in Finance management.

5. Information technology (IT) Skills

Not surprisingly, IT skills are very important in most parts of every workplace because IT skills are still in demand and IT may be the most important factor for long-term career success. From my skill audit above, I gave myself low rating because I got only basic ability about IT. Therefore, I planned to improve these skills by doing a lot of practicing in some computer applications which I already got the basic knowledge about such as Microsoft Excel, internet application. Furthermore, I have leant more about some computer applications which I had never used before such as Autofill with Formulae and functions.

From the activities above which were use to help myself to improve my skills in many areas. After my plan reached the target date which was on April 2010, I will review the skills which were developed over the period of time by this following table :

This table below shows how I have developed my skills so far during my course period.

20th October 2009 -20th January 2010

Skills

1

2

3

4

5

Leadership skills

*

Prioritizing skills

*

Communication skills

*

Planning skills

*

IT Skills

*

21th January 2010 - 21 April 2010

Skills

1

2

3

4

5

Leadership skills

*

Prioritizing skills

*

Communication skills

*

Planning skills

*

IT Skills

*

Note: 1 = need to be improved with a lot of effort

2 = can be reasonable but still need improvement

3 = need more practicing and need more time to gain some experiences

4 = reasonably confident but need more practicing

5 = achieve the goal

From the table above which it shows how much my skills have developed over six months. Basically, I divided my self- assessment into two periods (three months in each period). According to the first period of my self-assessment, I realized that all of those skills were developed gradually. It was because I had to adjust myself into new environment such as educational system and language which different from my country.

1. Leadership skills- in the first period, I rated myself only 3 because I think I need more practicing and need more time to gain some experiences and after six months was over I rated myself 4 which is reasonably confident but need more practicing. Frankly, I think to be a good leader with a lot of confident, I need to keep practicing and leaning from mistakes in the past.

2. Prioritizing skills- Before I started to improve this skill, I rated myself quite high (4) but after the first period was over, I still thought that my prioritizing skill did not improve much because I had to adjust myself to the new educational system. When the self-assessment was over, I think this skill was developed successfully.

3. Communication Skills- These skills was difficult to be improved for me regarding to a language barrier. For the first period, therefore, I needed to practice very hard in both English skills and communication skills because both are linked. After the whole period was over, I think my communication skills were developed reasonably and I would like to practice and learn more to pull these skills to be my strength.

4. Planning skills - Although, this skill is quite simple and easy to succeed but being in MBA cause, planning skills was turned to be a bit difficult for me. Nevertheless, keeping myself on track and always focusing on the goal of my study, these made me improved this skill quickly. Therefore, I think this skill was developed successfully.

5. IT skills - Frankly speaking, I think these skills are the most difficult to be improve because there are many computer applications which take time to be understood. For the first period, I did not improve much on these skills because it was difficult to learn how to use some computer application by myself but within the second period, I got a chance to practice this skill more often with my classmate due to the financial management module. After six months were over, I think that even though I have improved this skill but I need more practicing and need more time to gain some experiences.

According to my self- assessment for all of the skills above, I think I have developed those skills reasonably and successfully and those need to be practiced continuously in order to make them to be my strength and be useful for my future career

3. Reflection on the process of skills development

According to the personal development plan, I chose five skills which I need to develop over my course.

Firstly, leadership skills are the main skills which I need to develop. Leadership is defined as the process of influencing and persuade others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it.(Gary Yukl, 2006) and it is about persuading people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen (Kuozen J. et al., 2007). Leadership skills are very important for any teamwork because reaching a team goal needs someone who can lead and persuade team members through the right way whether it is difficult or not. As far as I am aware, my leadership skills have been improving because these skills need time to practice. Apparently, group work in the class helps me a lot by building my confidence and I am also learning form the many books about leadership such as "Leadership skills for managers" which help me to understand more about why leadership skills are important for manager job and how I can become a good leader.

Secondly, Prioritizing skill, personally I thought this skill was very easy to be developed but in fact being in MBA course made me realized that there were many obstacles which prevented myself to achieve my goal such as being in a different educational system and language barriers. These obstacles made some of my work delayed but unfortunately, I am still on the track and be able to improve this skill successfully.

Thirdly, Communication skills, well communicate among team members is a part of generating an effective team performance. As I have learnt so far during my class period, two-way communication is apparently more effective in practice because discussion in a classroom needs everyone in the class to be participated by sharing our ideas and I definitely got a chance to share my opinion and learn how to be a good listener at the same time. And I always use some techniques form the book, "Stepladders to success for the professional" which help me to perform in my class more efficiently because difference of ideas or opinion might lead us to group's conflict and it happened to me many times but these experiences help me to learn how to handle the problem.

Fourthly , planning skills, according to the fact that I have to submit all of my assignments on time, therefore, planning such as what I had to do, which book I had to read etc…these help me to submit all of my assignments on time and I got a reasonable marks for all of them. This skill can apply to any activities which need to be done in a certain time.

Lastly, IT skills which are important for a manager job in terms of using it to generate organizational reports. As far as I am concern, the spreadsheet (Excel software) is very important computer application which simulates a paper, accounting worksheet. According to the complication of the program, it has been taking me long time to learn and understand how it works, but practicing can help me to use this program more effective in the future.

Conclusion

In any areas of any business, person who has a potential skill is always required. Therefore, skills development is very important for any person who would like to get a good job. Generally, not only for a job seeker but it is for someone who needs to improve his/her skills in order to perform his/her task more effective. Personally, this personal skills development helps me to identify my ability and skills which I need to improve and motivate myself to achieve my goal by setting an action plan. Although, I have not achieved all my plans at this moment but I believe that if I keep follow my action plan, I will definitely reach my goal in the future.

Appendices

Personal Development Plan

My Goal

Which skills I need to improve?

Actions Required

Who or What Can Help Me?

Target Date for Action

To gain diversified business knowledge and expertise in order to be a potential manager in the future by

Improving

Some skills which are related to my goal

1. Leadership skills

- Participating in any group task (classroom)

- Reading a book "Leadership skills for managers"

Classmates and a tutor

By April 2010

2. Prioritizing skills

- Prioritize all my works, working on the most important at each moment.

By April 2010

3.Communication

skills

Participating in any group task (classroom)

Classmates and a tutor

By April 2010

4.Planing skills

Reading and researching article or book which are related to an assignment

Tutor

Submit Date

5. IT Skills

Learning

Some computer

Applications which are related

i.e. spreadsheet

By April 2010

Skills Audit

Knowledge and skills which I consider to be important for future job

Ability Rating

(1-5)

Typical Description

Tutor's Comments

1.Leadership skills

2

Manager should have an

ability to motivate a team member

to work toward a common goal.

Suthira has lead her team's discussions and presentations during class assignments and proved to be good team leader.

2. prioritizing skills

4

Good manager is a person who manages to plan the schedule and divide time equally between tasks can be an asset for the organization.

During the course, Suthira has appreciated the importance of prioritizing in the achievement of assignments and tasks.

3.Communication skills

3

Working as a team, Bad communication will inevitably lead to loss of income or worse.

Suthira's commands of spoken and written English have improved since starting the program.

4.Planning skill

3

Planning allows a manager to anticipate such issues and be prepared should they arise.

Suthira has developed good planning skills. That appeared clearly during her preparations before classes commenced.

5. IT skills

2

IT skills are still in demand and IT may be the most important factor for long-term career success.

TitleThe Interaction Between Task and TeamAuthorsAlex Hellenthal, Eric MollemanPublisherVDM Verlag, 2008

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