Development is a lifelong process of nurturing, shaping and improving an individual’s skills, knowledge and interests to ensure my maximum effectiveness and adaptability, and to minimize the obsolescence of my skills and my chances of redundancy. (Accessmylibrary.com)
In today’s ever more competitive job markets it has become increasingly important to prepare and organize our learning and future plans in a clear and concise way. The following report looks at my personal development throughout my enrolment on the Practice Of management Skills module. It will show how the sessions have helped me analyze my own learning and also how it has been beneficial.
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The personal development analysis for me is a chance to know myself better, I can recognize what I want to achieve, and also identifying the skills I need to look at. In this report, I am going to focusing on what my strengths are and where my weaknesses are, and how the practice of the management skills module has helped my development.
“Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”
(C.S. Lewis, thinkexist.com)
Personally, I don’t think I’ve achieved or experienced much to which will really make me look back, and think “this was the moment where I changed in such and such away.” I think how I had to grow up; how I was brought up by a single mother really changed me as a person (in a good way) than if I had the guidance of a paternal figure, not saying having a father figure would have been a bad thing but I am who I am today because of the way I was brought up.
This has seen me grow up and take responsibility at a much earlier stage than many of my peers meaning that I matured extremely quickly, became very independent and also boosted my communication skills and confidence in a way that no other experience could. To this day I see this as a key part of my development.
On the educational side, I found my A levels extremely challenging, this is the point where you realize that you have to put effort in to get something back. My G.C.S.E’s seemed a walk in the park after my A levels, to this day they still remain to be the most difficult exams I’ve undertaken. The only thing difficult about university is settling into University life after coming from a 6th form, which was more like school than a college. In a sense it was good, coming from a high school with a low pass rate, it meant I was still being pushed to do my work.
Whereas at university you are responsible for everything, nobodies going to watch over you. It’s down to how much you want it, your own determination on how you want to play out your future. The balls are always in the students’ court, they can do whatever they want to with it. University prepares you for the rest of your life, builds your determination, personality and gives you the chance of working with people from so many cultures.
In my working life, I’m currently an archery instructor for kids. Not only are you there to teach them, but many of them will look up to you, rather than being just a teacher and it’s up to me to be a decent role model. Speaking in front of a group of people is just a practice of what I will have to endure in the future, not something I like to do but I guess I have no qualms over speaking to groups of people. Also worked in a very popular takeaway, which is in the heart of a nightspot.
Working there you had to be able to stand your ground when coming across difficult customers. Being a small business it was important to build a rapport with the customers. Communication is really important; the atmosphere can change in an instant. Being able to calm people down, having a chat making sure you are polite and helpful even when people are rude to you, is a skill on its own.
What have I learnt? Well…
Even though I’ve been known as the shy and quiet one in my family (I still am), I feel from my experiences I have really grown in self-confidence and maturity. I’ve been brought up to always be positive and having faith in myself. I owe that to my mother. With what I achieved at 6th form in terms of my grades, even though I felt I underachieved, I’m more confident going into exams and know I can do well. As of yet, University has not thrown anything at me that makes me feel unconvinced with my capabilities and I got through the first year fairly comfortably.
University has helped my confidence grow. I don’t mind speaking in public, which University and the archery instructor job has really brought along, maybe kids are easier to talk to, but we all have to start somewhere. I can also talk to people I’ve never met before comfortably due to the experiences I’ve had working in Oasis and University. I feel I have the confidence to lead a team without having any reservations and instill a sense of assurance in those who choose to follow. Self-confidence is a key part of decision-making, and I have full confidence in the decisions I make. “Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster.” (Elias Canetti, quotationsbook.com)
However, one thing I need to work on is time management. Time is one of the single most valuable possession I have. It’s been the same since my high school days and my lax attitude, often leaving things to the very end, will be the only thing that stops me from fulfilling whatever potential I have. I blame my A-level grade on the very late start to my revision schedule and suffered due to that. I have a tendency to procrastinate and get easily distracted, even as I do this assignment, I have a Firefox page open for Facebook and sky sports.
I only need a small reason to get off from doing my work. The Pareto principle states that 80% of your activities contribute to only 20% of your results. The remaining 20% of your activities contribute to 80% of the results (Davidson, 1999.) I always feel there’s time ‘later’ to do my work and instead generally engage in social activities with my friends. This often leaves me with an increased workload and stress when deadlines are imminent. A perfect example would be my current situation; I have 6 assignments/projects including this one, most of which need to be handed in on the first week of December and this is the only assignment I have started. Time management and discipline is clearly not a strength, and something that I really need to improve on, or I will really struggle through my course as well as later in life.
The practice of management and my development.
Like I said my work life has played a big part in my development but the practice of the management module has really opened my eyes in terms of my strengths and weaknesses, and what can help me improve and develop my skills. It had taught us about group working, time management, active listening etc. If I am honest the lessons have taught me what I need to do, to develop and improve myself, but as time management goes it seems I haven’t practiced much of what I’ve been taught, as of yet. However, in terms of how am working with people, I’ve never met or talked to it has really helped my confidence. The group presentations during the lessons really help as well in giving you practice and preparation for the main presentation.
I think it’s all down to my hands-on approach. Being an activist learner I do get very bored easily, and really do struggle to pay any kind of attention in many of my lectures. This is meant to be typical of an activist learner. “They find it hard to sit still and tend to get bored easily” (Adair, 1999.) I often feel something more proactive helps me work better, doing tasks in-group like the ‘house’ task, where we had to find out where people, along what cars they had etc, was more interesting and felt it was the first time I recognized the skills of members of my group. Even thinking about general theory has me yawning.
All in all, I didn’t really find the textbook that useful, however, certain parts did help like doing some of the surveys and being able to analyze what kind of skills I have, my strengths and weaknesses, although am not too sure how accurate it all is but it is a good basis and foundation of where you need to start. The time management survey was pretty useful, I scored very low on it, and it just proved my own judgement on my time management skills.
It also has a few tips on how I can improve which I can look into soon. I also used “the complete idiots’ guide to managing your time” which shows highly I hold my time management skills. It was less complex and much easier to follow and gave me a better idea of where I need to start.
I think the most useful resource I had was websites, and it was mindtools.com that I felt was very useful and can see myself using it in the future if need be. Not just for developing my skills but other subject’s as well and has been the most valuable resource I’ve taken away from this. It tended to have loads of information of a lot of skills under one roof, easy to understand and it’s a matter of applying it to myself. The section on time management is very thorough with step-by-step processes, in how I need to approach everything, identifying the problem and then what I need to do to overcome it.
One thing I did learn is that my problem-solving skills may not be as good as I thought. It may be down to my learning style, but according to mind tools, it take a very theoretical approach whilst being an activist my methods are still very hands-on and I prefer to take on activities rather than reflect. I think going to my friends at university (those who seem to manage their time well) may help me; they can maybe point out where I need to improve
From much of the stuff I learnt, it became apparent that many of the techniques like learning logs are difficult to maintain however it may become easier, and it should save me a lot of my time. In the same way setting tasks or during the day or even keeping a diary would save me time. I would generally prefer to just go out and doing the task, but the fact remains that a little compromise in the way I do things might actually be of benefit.
I think being an activist a practical situation would be best for me, in these situations I can put in to practice how I’m going to manage my time, using the help from people around me, whether at university work or home.
How I will improve
How good I want to be:
Time management or in my case poor time management has always been a stumbling block for me, in both at university and at work. As Marler (1998) commented ‘Time management is really not all that easy when it comes right down to it; in fact, it’s impossible! We cannot manage time; we can only manage ourselves.’ This helped me realize that time management is not easy and will take time for me to improve and will not happen over a week. I think making a target at this stage would be unrealistic, but I do want to be able to manage my university work so I don’t end up working last minute on it.
I think before I start the next semester would be my target, giving me a chance to work on it during the holidays and gives me plenty of time. However I know I can’t leave it too late, otherwise, the lack of time management may affect my work next semester.
How do I measure progress and define success:
The best way for measurement would be to ask people around me to see how I’m doing. The people I see most often if my family, manager and University friends. I’ll avoid asking friends due to their unreliability and general immaturity in giving a sensible answer. Asking my manager and family would be the best option, maybe making a questionnaire for them so they can give their feedback. I could also set myself goals and targets and looking at what targets I’ve met and what is still need to do. In terms of my success, it will be down to how far I meet my targets and what I personally think has helped. The literature may have different meanings of success, and I think being able to manage my work, is success in my eyes.
What actions will I take, when will I take them:
I think the most important aspect of this is to recognize where am going wrong and then slowly try to cut it out. Keeping time logs may help me with this, this will help me analyze my daily behaviour and can start straight away. This will only be the start, after which setting daily tasks for myself in what I need to do, and keeping a diary keeping track of everything, which can be slowly introduced into my routine. I don’t expect instant results and it would be foolish to do so.
Evaluation of Personal Development
The assignment has helped me spot weaknesses. This will be an advantage as it will hopefully help me develop them into strengths and possibly help me during my time at university as well as at work. I don’t expect much from time management anytime soon, but if I do what I have planned out and generally stop wasting my time I should be on my way.
I have really enjoyed this module it has offered me the opportunity to enhance my current skills at the same time learning new skills, helping me manage myself within my employment and university life. The module has helped me immensely in understanding the importance of small changes.
I believe I have learnt some very valuable lessons completing this module which will not only assist me within the last year of my degree but also in the future.
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1. Chartered Management Institute (2005), Personal development planning (Accessed: 8th Nov2008)
4. Davidson, J (1999.) The complete idiots guide to managing your time, 2nd Ed, Alpha books, NY
5. Adair, J (1999.) Time Management and Personal Development, 1st Ed, Thorogood, London
6. Marler,P (1998). Time Management Made Easy, VGM Career Horizons
Whetten, D (2004), Developing Management Skills, 6th Ed, Pearson
Practice of Management Skills Mohammed Imran Daji
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