Delivery in day(s): 5
Assignment on Personal and Professional Development
Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Personal and Professional Development
This Assignment on Personal and Professional Development is aiming to identify and critically evaluate the need of skills which are required with promotion from a junior manager to a senior manager in a UK based organization. This assignment will reflect on the skills and competencies required for a senior manager to do justice with the added responsibilities. Self managed learning would be an important part of this skill development and competency improvement activity. The organization and behaviour which is selected for this assignment is British Petroleum which is a global energy and petroleum giant with operations in more than 5 continents in the world. I am a Romanian national and my mother tongue is also Romanian which requires me to work hard as my working environment would have a different language than my mother tongue.
1.1 Evaluate the various approaches to self-managed learning. [P1.1]
First approach to self managed learning is indulging in a self reflective process to identify the strengths, weakness and gaps existing in current role and future role in company. Self-Reflection can be divided into three groups:-
- Critical self-Reflection
Reflection-on-action: Many times it happens when you analyze your experience after things happen in order to understand and learn from them. Several questions arise in mind for example
- What happened?
- How could I improve Next time?
- How can I take experience from this?
Reflection –In-Action: when u realizes your mistake and tries to learn from it. It can help you change your style to better suit a situations. Several questions arise in mind for example:-
- How can I improve?
- What do I notice?
Critical Self-Reflection- Most Powerful is Critical Self-Reflection. In this understanding yourself, deepen your knowledge, clarify yourself how you want to live (Hamby, 2007). As a manager I should be going through the process of self reflection, identify my strengths, weaknesses and areas of improvement which needs to be worked on through self learning and continuous development. Second approach to self managed learning is Kolb’s model of learning. As per Kolb, every experience or situation leaves a person with learning that occurs by acquiring abstract concepts and these concepts can further be applied in various situations (Steven, 2008). The four staged learning model is as follows:
As per my understanding i would be favouring self reflective learning approach more to meet my requirements.
1.2 Propose the ways in which lifelong learning in personal and professional contexts could be encouraged within your chosen organisation. [P1.2]
Going by the empirical term, Performance Improvement is a phenomenon of measurement of the current output of an existing process, assessing the process, modifying the same and coming up with solutions which eventually increase the output level as well as the efficiency of the ongoing process (Goelman, 2008). This improvement in performance can be implemented in individual level, like the improvement of individual employees in an organization, or can be implemented in organizational level, like the holistic improvement of the entire organization. It is a fact that the market is rapidly changing and is very competitive, and thus, it is very much required to stay updated and keep on developing skills. Lifelong learning may be encouraged in following ways:
In my opinion the best and most sustainable way to encourage lifelong learning in personal and professional contexts would be to align the self managed learning with the career growth and promotion. If a person understands that the better he engages himself in self learning and lifelong learning higher would be the career growth, promotions, rewards and awards, he would be highly motivated and encouraged. Thus, the organisation would be benefitted as the employees or staff who stay motivated to learn and develop their current skills and have personal and professional goals to achieve, they would definitely give better performance, would be productive, skilful and efficient. Leadership quality also improves performance of the staff. So, BP should also use theories of motivation and leadership quality to increase output of the company (Avolio, et al. 2003).
Theories on Employees have various legal elements of psychological and societal needs, which when identified and fulfilled by the organization employees feel that he is a part of the organization and work towards organizational goal. Organizational behavior also discusses factors like job satisfaction and dissatisfaction components (Katz, 2007). The Human resource management and leaders should concentrate on job satisfaction factors and remove job dissatisfaction factors as much as possible so the employees feel they are involved in the organization. Achieving employee’s satisfaction helps in motivating them towards accomplishing organizational goal.
1.3 Evaluate the benefits of self-managed learning to you and your chosen organisation. [P1.3, M1]
To our organisation BP, adopting self managed learning can prove extremely beneficial. It is a very cost effective way of having a self motivated team of employees. Moreover, this is a continuous life long process that gives long term results. BP would have the employees with good communication skills, teamwork spirit and self start quality and thus, would provide a competitive advantage to the Company over others (Hamby, 2007). It would also help in keeping employees vigilant against any lapse of security and probable cause of industrial accidents which has been a great area of concern for BP in past.
On an individual level also self managed learning help an employee to understand the importance of pre planning and develop an attitude to stay encouraged, motivated and moving on a path of continuous development. Similar skills can be transferred to the employees where they will be expected to plan their activities ensure that resources consumed are optimal and there is no way their activities or projects would get stuck because of lack of planning. Theories like Maslow’s theory of hierarchy and Mcgregor’s theory of X and Y forms the theoretical base of personal development and growth. I believe that when basic need gets fulfilled, an employee will move on to the next level of self development, that is self actualization and self esteem. Thus this theoretical approach also indicates that growth and learning is a continuous process for a human being.
Development opportunities like training programs are offered by BP for its employees regularly. They are a very unique opportunity because they exactly meets the industry requirements of BP and they would help employee grow personally as well as professionally. These development opportunities are more formal in nature (Sawyer 2004). As per my judgement training and development opportunities would be the best way for me to tackle my weakness and meet personal development objectives. At the same time it would also help in development of my professional career and also align organizational objectives with personal objectives.
3.1 Discuss the processes and activities required to implement the development plan. [P3.1, M2]
First step of the development plan is to conduct a self analysis like SWOT and then identify priority area which is needed as a junior manager to work as a senior manager in same organization. Once that part is done then according to the areas of improvement appropriate development strategies can be identified and planned. While planning it is important that their feasibility, availability of resources and time required implementing them is also to be considered. Once the planning, assessment and identification of the development activities is done then the next part would be their implementation on a day to day basis. Since it is not practically possible to provide any proof of undertaking a gradual self development activity but I can document the entire process.
- My first activity was a 15 days online English training and development course which is free of charge. This course was organized by www.alison.com and here is the link for the course which i undertook https://alison.com/subjects/11/English-Language-Skills. In this course i was required to work for at least one hour a day.
- Second step was to be a part of a group discussion and a support group for next 2 months. In this group all members were managers and they were all interested in developing their leadership skills.
- Third activity which I was involved which lasted for more than 3 months is the interaction with my peer group and taking their feedback. This process also involves a formal training of Time management which was organized by BP only (Le Cornu, 2009).
As per the learning styles suggested by Honey and Mumford, I can say that I am more of a reflector type of learner. I believe in observing, reviewing and then reflecting that is l learn through experiences. I need to see other people doing a new thing, analyze it properly then only I can repeat. I am not a spontaneous performer and needs proper time to prepare. Likewise, through this module, I observed my colleagues and group members communicate and give presentations and learnt the importance of self confidence and making eye contact with the public. I understood the fact that for having the impact of your presentation on listeners or to make a positive impression upon them, eye contact is very essential and therefore, I will work upon this in future. I need to keep my confidence level high to be able to make good presentations (Myers, 2012). This whole academic module revolved around the importance and significance of a change management in organization. Main emphasis was on to understand the importance of bringing regular changes in an organization and effectively managing it so as to successfully survive in current dynamic market scenario.
3.2 Undertake and document development activities as planned. [P3.2]
The activities which are planned are documented and presented below in a tabular form which will provide a bird’s eye view of the ways which will be followed. The personal development plan is detailed below in a tabular format:
Name & Student No.
What do I want to achieve specifically?
How will I know when I have achieved what I want?
What do I need to do to achieve my objective?
How will I apply what I have learned?
By When & Who
Date and responsibility for action (who does what):
“Assigning right person to right task” needs improvement
When I have a feeling that correct resources are assigned to right task and people assigned to task feel that they are correctly assigned, they are satisfied and happy with the task
I need to:
I will start understanding people better and their skills, characteristics better. I will start understanding the nature of work better and start assigning right people to the right task
This weakness needs to be improved fully by myself in next 2-3 months.
Keeping people highly motivated needs improvement
Many research studies has proved that people who feel highly motivated to work, are putting their best performance and feel satisfied with the work.
Leadership role and development is not a later stage of personal career growth and it should be integrated with the career path and this I would observe in my career path.
I need to:
I will find new innovative and unique ways to keep people motivated. Some of the time tested methods are rewards, social recognition, and financial benefits and fast career growth.
This weakness needs to be improved fully by myself through self education and improvisation. It will take 3 months approximately.
3.3 Reflect critically on your own learning against original aims and objectives set in the development plan. [P3.3, D2]
My own learning against original aims and objectives was that they should not be over enthusiastic and they should be more realistic and achievable in nature. When they are not achieved then it leads towards frustration and depression in a person. Thus I changed my aims and objectives and made them more realistic in nature. Secondly I have also learned that formal training and development has its strong benefits like they have clear benchmarks and evaluation mechanism while informal training and education is a continuous process with no real way of identifying when it is concluded (Forsyth & Connelly, 2010).
Initially the aims and objectives were made over enthusiastically but later they were modified using SMART approach because periodic review revealed that it would be difficult to measure the achievement or attainment of subjective aims. I realized may shortcomings in my research skills and actually learned the correct skills to find appropriate information. We can really get a lot of information on a topic but it is more important to differentiate appropriate and useful information from non useful information. I also finally got to understand the basic difference between primary and secondary research and also learnt to find exact information in libraries with the help of keywords. Before this experience, I was quite confident about my research skills and had an impression that I am way above others in this field. But this session helped me realize my shortcomings and helped me in knowing my actual level and position. I got to know that there are many people and colleagues who have better skills and capabilities and that over confidence is an extremely negative thing that can really hamper one’s growth.
The Gibb’s Reflective Cycle: In order to do this self reflection, I have also utilized the very well known and useful model given by Gibb. I realized that most of the times my direction of thinking is right but due to low confidence and a feeling of hesitation, I stop myself from speaking and thus, it leaves me with a feeling of repent. However, after the completion of session, I feel little confident and can even say that if I continuously work upon my limitations, I can successfully overcome them. I just need to work upon my fears and get rid of them.
3.4 Update the development plan based on feedback and evaluation (the feedback and evaluation can be from tutors, mentors and line managers) [P3.4]
A few changes in the time period of the plan and the pace with which it is growing were made. These changes would help in meeting the aims and objectives in a much better manner. Development plan was also corrected after going through the feedback. For example I changed my time period of first development activity i.e. time and leadership development from 2 months to 15 days for online course and then next 45 days for communication with the peers and taking their feedback. I realized that in this development formal courses would not be as helpful as the non formal because it would improve my pronunciation, my communication and my body language which needs improvement. Second change which i made in my development plan was incorporation of modern IT and IT related services to smoothen the process. I started using smart phone mobile application for my development process and also identified how I can communicate with my peers using audio chats and also take feedback from online pronunciation tutors etc (Forsyth & Connelly, 2010). There are various models and theories which can be used to assess the feedback and provide meaningful insights based on it. One such model is Brookfield’s four lenses
These lenses can be engaged by anyone who is teaching or practicing self reflection. These lenses provide difference viewpoints for the same development be it from the view point of own (the autobiographical), the view point of a colleague, from the view point of a student and form the theoretical view points. The goal of the critically reflective teacher, for Brookfield, is to garner an increased awareness of his or her teaching from as many different vantage points as possible. It is a widely used approach that is even used in schools in UK and it largely helps in improving knowledge and learning. This approach would largely help in improvising their qualities to work in cognitive processes like to organise, categorize, analyse and evaluate well. It would also lead to an increase in their thinking and decision making process so that they can be performing well.
Through reflection, an individual does a complete analysis of an experience and do self improvisation. It is an active process and a very beneficial one. As this process helps in understanding particular behaviour and reactions towards a situation, it helps in enhancing knowledge of a person and gives him chances to improvise.
4.1 Identify two work-based problems in your chosen organisation and select solutions to these problems. [P4.1]
Bp is facing a very tough time currently due to the rising industrial accident rates in stores that is not only exerting negative impact over their brand name but it is also affecting the overall business of the company. The business and brand image is negatively impacted and the expenditures of regularly hiring and training the employees are rising. Thus, it is the need of the hour to address the problem, for which following measures may be adopted:
- Training sessions need to be improved and must also introduce the recruited employees with company’s work culture so as to assist them in adapting it comfortably.
- Employees’ social, emotional as well as economical needs should be considered and addressed (Moore and Parker, 2012).
Second problem which is identified is high turnover rate of employees in Oil fields and production plants. Most primary step is to identify the reason behind high employee turnover rate. Therefore, it is essential to take exit interviews of employability skills of employees do employee surveys which would assist in knowing the reason and addressing the problem precisely. Employee motivation tactics need to be adopted like rewards, awards, recognition and bonuses (Niles & Harris-Bowlsbey, 2002).
4.2 Explain how these solutions will be communicated appropriately to various levels within your chosen organisation using a variety of communication styles and manner. [P4.2]
It is also required to establish a more efficient and open communication system between the senior management authorities, middle management and junior employees that can give an opportunity to junior employees to have discussions and get solutions to their problems. Even the employees would stay motivated through an open communication system. At BP, communication takes place in three directions downwards, upwards and sideways and either in formal way or informal way.
- Formal communication: Formally the senior authorities communicate with the junior staff through official meetings, official letters, notices, newsletters, etc. and the seniors deliver formal instructions and information to the juniors through official e mails, minutes of meeting and even written orders through proper channel.
- Informal communication: Here top management convey the message to all levels in a subtle manner and also there is a informal grievance system where different channels are being used to collect information from employees and then they are addressed (Montana and Bruce, 2008).
4.3 Evaluate the effectiveness of different time management strategies used in your chosen organisation. [P4.4, D3]
There are various time management strategies which are identified in the organization like BP like providing time based targets for all the projects, developing a stringent time line with optimal utilization of time as a resource and lastly using IT and IT enabled services to all the extent possible to reduce the time consumption. Employees are given training in time management strategies and they are also asked to develop mile stones in each activity so that there is a strict control and monitoring over the time consumed with each activity. Also it has been a neglected concept in business organization thus companies like BP are very advanced and visionary that they are using time management approaches for all their employees and projects. One of the prime indicators of effective time management strategies in companies like BP is the fact that 90 percent of projects which are undertaken by BP are executed in the stipulated time period. Except a few incidences of industrial accidents in history of BP they are very well known for their professional approach and their project management techniques. Currently time management strategies which are used by BP are effective and efficient in nature and in future also it is expected that more advanced time management strategies would be used and implemented. It can also be included as a part of basic training and orientation program (Conger, 2004).
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