Every professional needs to be aware of the employability skills and the aspects associated with it. In this Employability skill professional development assignment report we will go through various entities involved in this topic. We will first design a professional plan including responsibilities, performance skills and responsibilities for a professional. We would design this keeping in view the profile of an IT manager. We would also deduce the effectiveness of the same and make the recommendations. In the next section, we would describe various communication style and time management skills. This would be followed by understanding the team dynamics and roles of individuals in teams. Lastly, we would exemplify one real time case in devising strategies to overcome the times of crisis in professional environment.
TASK 1: Be able to determine own responsibilities and performance
a) Responsibilities and Performance objectives
There are certain responsibilities pertaining to a certain job role. Choosing a career as an IT manager also has a lot of responsibilities involved with it. In this section we would discuss about the responsibilities, skills and competencies for an able IT manager.
- IT manager is responsible for the output by the team at all times.
- It is the responsibility of an IT manager to keep everybody occupied and happy in the team, and should help in relaxing the environment of the team.
- The needs of the team members are taken care by the IT manager.
- IT manager takes care of the conventions and the methods used in work and keeps track of any bad practice happening in the team.
- Good knowledge in handling technology based applications which are either machine specific or web-based.
- An experience of at least 6 to 8 years in the field of information technology.
- Leadership skills should be very good, the individual should have crisp and impactful communication skills along with decent interpersonal skills.
There are several categories of competencies for an IT manager.
Technical Competencies: IT manager should have a good knowledge of technicalities related to the task which he assigns to his subordinates. A good knowledge on the technical aspects helps the manager to lead by example at crunch times and it helps in keeping morale of the team very high.
Behavioural Competencies: Communication skills need to be perfect in order to convey the thought in an effective manner. Apart from that, convincing power and morale boosting communication are also essential, so that it helps the team in a positive way.
b) Effectiveness against defined objectives
There are various development needs of an IT manager. One key area is building successful relations with not only the team-mates, but also the senior level position holders. The utility of the individual must be recognized well and the visibility factor needs to be good for an IT manager to flourish in the organization. One more thing that comes with an IT manager is the ability to take initiatives. An IT manager needs to be very much confident in recognizing the capabilities of its team members. Thus, taking proper initiatives is also very important to increase the visibility. Along with this, the capability to influence the team members, boosting them up morally helps in converting the vision into reality. Any initiative is impressive when it converts to practicality, and that can only be done by effectively managing the team. Information technology is a field where there are up gradations and enhancements every other day. In order to sustain in the work environment, every individual needs to be very pro-active is learning new technologies and adapting to various conditions and requirements. An IT manager not only needs to be active in updating his knowledge as per the changing technologies, but also, IT manager is responsible to keep the team updated about these developments and train them accordingly. At personal level, for an IT manager, the accolades and appreciations from the client matter the most. At the time of performance evaluation, the appraisals received from the client side have maximum weights. Thus, during the face-off with the clients, an IT manager needs to be very sure of his communication abilities and should be very crisp in manipulating the clients and to keep them satisfied. These are the key development needs of an IT manager (Cheng, 2005).
c) Recommendations for improvement in professional development
In this section we would devise a professional development plan for an IT manager based on various parameters.
The current performance is very essential in judging the future aspects and longevity of an IT manager. The feedback of a manager from the team-members is also very crucial. Apart from that, it needs to be analysed whether the manager and team has been equipped with latest technological warfare and how good their response is towards the changing technologies. The overall output from the team and the contribution towards the organization is also essential.
In the world of Information Technology, there is a change every day and the individuals involved in it need to be equipped with proper technologies. The IT manager needs to develop the personal skills and the skills of the team related to the upcoming technologies. It is very important for any organization to anticipate the upcoming technologies and their impacts on software market. Thus, the individual need to get trained in those technologies to sustain in the environment (Guskey, 2003).
There may be various aspects for an IT manager to look at. We would study that with the help of SWOT analysis.
- Good Technical skills that help the developing manager to lead by example.
- Good communication skills and interpersonal skills
- Lack of personal development due to over involvement in team process
- Claims of taking side by unhappy subordinates at the crisis situations.
- Getting chances to get equipped with latest technologies first up before anybody else.
- Fair amount of opportunities to take good initiative which could help in improving the visibility to the top leadership.
- Competitive environment always pushes the IT manager to be alert.
- Less cooperation from the team-members could lead to adverse results.
d) Motivational Techniques to improve quality of performance
In this section we would describe two motivational theories that can prove to be handy in management in organizations.
- Herzberg’s theory: This theory gives importance to motivation of employees and also the hygiene factor. Motivation can be achieved by various appraisal strategies or picking the employees based on their performances and giving them perks based on that.
- Maslow’s Theory: Maslow’s theory comprises of five pillars out of which the most import is self-actualization. Then comes esteem and social role of the organization. Safety is also an important parameter of Maslow’s theory. In the end Maslow’s theory also presses upon psychological factors involved in motivating the employees.
TASK 2: Be able to develop interpersonal and transferable skills
a) Importance of interpersonal skills and feedback in TESCO
There is a lot of variety in the feedback styles in the Information technology industry. These could be verbal or non-verbal, formal or informal, openness and responsiveness. Verbal communication are very effective at certain times. At the time of motivating the team, it is quite a useful way of communication. Also, when a team-member repeatedly breaks the rules or does not follow the guidelines, verbal communication is a good way of confronting him or making him realize his mistakes. Non-verbal communications, specially mails, letters and reminders are a handy tool for an IT manager at all times. For informing about the work, demonstrating the tasks or sending reminders for meetings can be done through these non-verbal communicational techniques. Non-verbal communications can also be used by the IT manager to motivate or praise a team-member keeping the whole team in the communication to recognize good work. In the professional life, at all times the IT manager should adhere to the formal mode of communication. This helps the IT manager to be clear about conveying the information to the sub-ordinates. Informal way of communication can sometimes be used at exceptional situations, such as keeping a stressed team member calm or making the environment lighter at the times of crisis. Openness is one more aspect of effective communication. However, an IT manager should not share any confidential information with the team members who are not authorized to know it. Responsiveness include better management of team through listening to their problems and responding in an effective manner.
b) Various styles of Communication in TESCO
A developing manager needs to be equipped with all the aspects of an impact communication and inter-personal skills within the team such as personal effectiveness, negotiating skills, initiating ideas, team-work and social skills. Personal effectiveness means the IT manager has to lead by example. If there is a lack of knowledge or intent in the manager itself, then it would be very tough to motivate the team members. The manager needs to have negotiation skills as he should eye on getting maximum output from the team members without disturbing their comfort levels. Taking initiatives is also very important for an IT manager, which helps in talent management of the team and helps the team to take bold steps which ultimately help the organization if the initiatives work as per the plan. An IT manager needs to make sure that all the subordinates are working as a team and complimenting each other. The social skills can add on to it as, all the team members should feel comfortable to express their problems or feelings to the manager regarding their work (Johnson, 1994).
c) Effective time-management strategies for TESCO
In TESCO, it is very important for an IT manager to make sure the time management is proper not only in personal point of view, but also from the team point of view. Below are a few ways or strategies by which an IT manager can facilitate better time management (Dess, 1995).
Setting Work Objectives
The tasks which are assigned to a particular team member needs to be pre-analysed for various things. The estimated time and effort can be anticipated before assigning the task to an individual. For that task, there should be a particular deadline, before which the individual needs to submit the completed work.
Prioritization of Workloads
An IT manager can face minimization in the effective output coming from a team at the times of crisis. There could be too much workload on certain individuals due to which they would not be able to deliver the work effectively. At this time, a high level prioritization needs to be set, based on the urgency of a particular task. The individuals need to know the priority order of the tasks assigned to them and they should go ahead according to the priority.
Effective Use of Time
An IT manager should make sure the time wastage for the team members should be nullified. Time could be wasted by an individual either due to lack of work ethics or due to lack of skills. Both these aspects need to be observed and the individual need to be cared accordingly. Apart from that time wasted in the activities of software installations, delays due to less responses from other parties could also be the contributors to the time waste.
Keeping appointments and proper time-table
Planning the work structure is a crucial part in management in Information Technology. Proper appointments should be there for certain works and the invites about the meeting or appointments should be well managed by the manager. Long term planning and keeping a proper time-table would also help the manager and the team members in saving the time in an effective manner.
TASK 3: Understand the dynamics of working with others
a) Roles of team-members in a team in achieving goals
There are numerous theories in place to describe the role of team members in a team to perform well. One prime theory is Belbin’s theory. According to Belbin, a team member needs to have nine qualities as described below:
- Plant: Member should be creative and imaginative.
- Resource Investigator: Good skills of inter-networking between various team-members.
- Chairman: Should be able to take crucial decisions.
- Shaper: Team member who works well even under pressure.
- Monitor/Evaluator: The one who judges the team members and helps them to improve.
- Team-Worker: Person with exceptional inter-personal skills
- Implementer: A practical thinker
- Finisher: A cool header team member which completes a job with perfection
- Specialist: The team member with sound knowledge often termed as subject matter expert, on whom the team can depend in situations of crisis.
Team members play a crucial role in achieving the bigger goals for an organization. Every entity in every module or department play significant role in the functioning of the organization. All the departments HRD, the information technology, Sales department, Store Management need to work as a team to help the organization to achieve goals. Now, each and every team comprises of certain members. Each member of every team needs to contribute well by performing the assigned task. Thus, every team member has an important role to play for the better result of team.
b) Analysis on team dynamics
We have a definite hierarchy in a team associated with software development in Information Technology. There are various levels in which the team work go about their tasks. We have software engineers who actually develop the code structures which ultimately are used as the core part of the software. Apart from that, we have analysts to help the developers along with other technical experts, who design the overall structure of the software and decide on how it should look and how it would the client requirements. For such a variety of professionals working together, a good team environment is a must. This is the sole responsibility of an IT manager. There are various aspects involved with the team dynamics. Certain developers could feel comfortable working under certain analysts. The nature of individuals have a huge impact on the team dynamics. There could be lot of problems if the leaders are too much dominating and the subordinates don’t feel comfortable working under them. Contrary to this, an easy-going leader could also not be able to motivate the subordinates properly and this could have a negative impact on the overall performance of the team. The IT manager needs to take care of every aspect related to the relation between the team members. Also, at certain times, we have a few individuals who are inspired from their leaders, thus they are able to perform exceptionally well under that leader. In such cases, the IT manager can make sure that those individuals should be aligned under those leaders, so that maximum output can be maintained for the team (Maznevski, 2000).
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c) Effective and alternative ways to complete tasks
For an IT manager, it is very crucial to have the work completed within the promised timelines. In addition to that, the work should have minimum defects and should be done with perfection. For this, the manager need to lay proper guidelines for the approach of work to be done. Setting conventions and standards is very important before the start of the work. In the industry of Information Technology, the software are continuously modified according to the needs of clients. Thus, it is very important for one to have the codes structures very readable and re-usable. This helps in facilitating proper re-works based on the requirement and improves the efficiency. Thus for achieving that, The IT manager should enforce upon the team members to follow certain guidelines and standards on their projects. Apart from that, proper motivation should be given to the team members in several ways. One way of motivating is to organize team outing and team lunches, which distresses the team members. It also helps in creating a friendly environment inside the team. Apart from the salary hikes should be based on performance of the individuals, so that everyone should strive hard to perform more. There should be proper recognition of talent and hard-work through distribution of certificates and awards. This restores the confidence of the individuals. Also, for those who could not get the awards for a certain cycle of time, they can be motivated to work harder to grab the goodies. Proper innovative and interesting ideas to achieve tasks is a good way of easing the work environment. The manager need to be very responsive to the problems of the individuals working in the team (Skehan, 1996).
TASK 4: Be able to develop strategies for problem solving
a) Tools and methods for developing solutions
There are various available tools and methodologies for TESCO to utilize. These tools and techniques should help the organization in problem solving. TESCO is already using high performance data management systems to ensure that the accounts should be maintained properly in a single system. We have a lot of tools for Enterprise Resource Planning available with us in the market which one can utilize to keep the track of things in an organization. ERP products of SAP and Oracle are very common for a lot of organisations in Europe. These systems not only help in consolidating the accounts and monetary transactions, but also they help in keeping the tracks of inventory and order management. Thus this is one of the latest methodology which needs to be regularly updated as per the new developments in the market.
Another tool can be Human resource management tools which could help the organization to take care of all the complexities involved from on-boarding the employees to giving them salary. New software told are available in market which can be useful for the organization which take care of all the aspects right from hiring an employee till the phase the employee retires. Thus both financially and in terms of Human Resource management these two strategies of using technology to boost the system inside an organisation can be very helpful for TESCO (Weick, 1988).
b) Development of strategies for resolving particular problems
In recent times the TESCO PLC has lost its market share from 30 percent to 29.2 percent, which is an area of huge concern for the company. Rivals like Asda and Sainsbury seem to be steady in terms of market share. Form the analysis it is very clear that for smaller companies which used had negligible share of the market are improving. For example, Aldi has increased its market share from 3.2 to 4.1 percent, which is really commendable. In this section, we would plan a strategy for TESCO so that they can improve on this part. The analysis reports that the upper middle class market share for TESCO is having a huge dip due to the smaller supermarkets selling certain goods at very modest rates. SO, the foremost strategy for TESCO should be to bring the rates down. Now the tricky thing is that, TESCO cannot stretch the vendors to sell the raw materials in cheaper rates. SO, in addition to minimizing the rates TESCO can decrease the packaged quantities a bit, in order to balance everything. For example, package of a certain good for 200 grams costs 50 cents, which seems to be higher for some customers. In this case TESCO could start packaging the good into 175 gram packages and minimize the cost accordingly, so that it doesn’t affect the customer pocket. Minimizing the content to smaller units always helps and it encourages the customers to buy a good, at least for trial. If the product is really has utility to the customer, he will start buying the product regularly. That is why one more area is keeping the quality of good to best possible. These are a few series of operations that could applied by TESCO PLC to get the market share back (Jacobson, 1968).Comparative market share of supermarkets
c) Potential Impact of implementing a strategy on business
The business strategy mentioned in the above section can have several impacts on TESCO PLC. Below are the three key impacts due to the changed strategy that we could easily anticipate:
- Decreasing the packaging quantity would certainly require an additional planning effort, so a lot of adjustments need to be made in the process of manufacturing and processing a product.
- Secondly, if TESCO decides to lower the price of a certain product, then vendors of the raw materials should also need to be communicated about it. Efforts are required to convince the suppliers to minimize the rates of raw materials in order to streamline the process, which will be a tough job for the management.
- Thirdly, the biggest problem is to retain the 29.2 market share. The extra efforts should not go overboard and the quality of the products should be as premium as it used to be, so that the existing customer does not have any difficulty to buy the products.
With so much advancements in technologies in the IT sector, the role of an IT manager has become very crucial. We have analysed how precise the skills of an IT manager needs to be. The tricky fact about the profile of an IT manager is that, the individual not only needs to be good at leadership and management skills, but also one needs to be up to date with the latest technologies. This would help the manager to guide the team through at the times of crisis. Multiple roles of planner, motivator, and technological expert have to be played by the IT manager at different points of time during the course of project development. We can take a lesson out of the report that, an IT manager needs to be very dynamic and adaptive to be successful in the field of Information Technology.