Personal Development Plan
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A personal development plan is a self-managed learning process owned by the individual which facilitates a strategic approach to learning and development goals. It offers people possibility to get benefit in receiving feedback while planning their careers and receiving support from their superiors for their personal and professional development. Personal development planning is a constant development process that empowers people to make the optimum utilization of their skills, helps to attain individual’s plans and strategic goals of the organization (Armstrong, 2006).
Importance of Personal Development Plan
I always wanted to be a successful businessman or manager in my life, but I have realized that I do not possess some vital skills, which are necessary for the successful businessman or manager. These are communication skills, negotiating skills, entrepreneur skills, problem-solving skills, managing and leading people for effective team-building. During my job in accounts department of Tesco, I learnt some skills for planning and managing the financial resources, but these were not sufficient for my future career. I understood subjecting myself to challenging environment where I can develop my skills and get practical and theoretical knowledge. For this purpose, I sought admission in LSBM for studying MBA as this institute is a perfect place for acquiring experience and degree. At the beginning of the course, I made audit of skills by analyzing my deficiencies for them. The skill audit showed a vital gap in the teamwork and team building, problem-solving and communication skills. I decided to subject myself for class representative, and the reason is that I realized this could be the best platform where I can improve my deficiency in oral and written communication skills. By this way, I can learn how to lead people in a teamwork and can also improve my problem-solving skills by listening and analyzing the situation (Bennis, 2007).
I started reading the journals, articles, magazines, quizzes, especially related to the global business development from financial times. These supported me in acquiring global business tactics and changes, and ultimately assisted me in acquitting with different methods of writing styles. I also started reading the autobiography of successful industrialists and talented leaders and tried to learn their leadership styles. I also listened to the interviews of successful team leaders, learnt how they manage and lead people in organization, and what factors contributed to their team building.
Review of Activities and Resources Used
I employed a wide range of activity and resources. The detailed review on activity and resources for development of the personality is the following:
Resources. I thoroughly studied different articles and books related to the teamwork based on motivation, leadership qualities, time management, communication and problem solving. Jack Welch’s leadership principle and the Mintzberg’s Management concerning life and achievement of the leaders assisted me in understanding different characteristic of leadership theories and styles. “One Minute Manager” by Spencer Johnson and Ken Blanchard helped me in showing another side of leader or manager. Further, The Belbin’s model on teamwork expanded the utility of the team building, roles and its importance (Fisher, 2001).
Maslow and Hertzberg theories on motivation improved my understanding of the human nature and factors motivating it. Moreover, these ideas were helpful in understanding different outcomes and its application in teamwork in a different situation (Armstrong, 2006).
For example, in Tesco, I noticed the effects of rewards, acknowledgement and bonus, and in college, I observed the power of the competitive environment, acknowledgement and appreciation.
The continuous reading of the articles, case studies and blogs on various situations of changing world economy, problems arising thereof helped me to learn problems enabling me to expand my ability in problem-solving skill. Besides, it was also helpful to me in learning different styles of written communication. The various methods of business development emails and learning different business terminologies significantly enhanced my communication skills (Buhler, 2009).
Activities. Active participation in group discussion and debates at college, participation in group presentation was the real time and place where I evaluated my skills and applied them in knowledge gained during my course.
All these activities were helpful to me in building confidence, personality development, motivating people in a team, power sharing, delegating responsibilities in a teamwork, resolving conflict and problems, improving communication skills, evaluating performance, and leading people. Besides, I also represented London Student Hub twice representing LSBM where I learned orator skills, acquired knowledge about UOW online library and then gave a lecture to my classmates on the benefits of the UOW online library.
Listening to Stanford, Oxford and Harvard University Channel advanced my aptitude in improving desired skills and gaining knowledge. My workplace proved a helpful source in improving my interpersonal skills being involved in public dealings. While working in a team, I acquired the knowledge of cooperation, sharing responsibility and motivation.
This was the real test bench where I could evaluate about what I have learnt during the course like communication, motivation, problem solving, team and group work, customer services, organizational culture, and managing people. Besides, I learned other associated activities such as revising and following my timetable, assistance in planning and time management.
Review of the Skills Developed
Problem-Solving Skills. While studying and working, I observed that every group at one time or another involves in the task of problem-solving (the imbalance between the current and a desired situation). Problem-solving is an ongoing process that has become an integral part of life and work. One of the prime reasons teamwork faces difficulty in problem-solving is that the team is unable to follow an organized procedure. For effective working in groups, there should be an agreement upon procedure for problem-solving. All problems do not possess equal intensity, and their relative significance should be kept in consideration (Thompson, 2002).
Common sense about priorities and practicality are the key components in maximizing people's energy, time and inclination level to problem-solving. There are various options of problem-solving models, but, in fact, all of them contain the key steps: define the problem, diagnose and determine the root causes, create alternative solutions, measure the alternatives, consent on best possible solution and, finally, evaluate and implement the solution.
Communication skills. Communication skills are extremely beneficial in shaping the career and hold a significant value for business students. Both oral and written communication skills are the keys to successful managers and leaders. During my academic career, I received an opportunity to improve my learning styles, written skills, and this, consequently, will assist me in conveying message in solving-problems. Thompson (2002) argues that written communication can be utilized as an instrument of intervention, a technique of solving problem. SWOT analysis is the finest example. Oral skills are equally indispensable as intelligent manager/businessmen should be an excellent orator. My college learning and job supported in developing my oral skills, and speeches and interviews on YouTube further assisted me to grasp non-verbal communication. Qualities such as smile, welcome, warm, listening and co-operating others are essential elements of a successful career. Buhler (2009) research shows that active listening enhances the communication process. Although I have upgraded my communication skills, I realize that for my future life, I should improve more, though the current knowledge of these skills is meeting my requirements.
Teamwork Essentials. Team-building skills are essential for the effectiveness of the manager. Even though I am not a part of leadership role, better knowledge of teamwork can inspire me to be a more productive employee and give a competitive advantage in an organization. Team building is successful when a team can fulfill much bigger task and work more efficiently than a group of individuals working independently. The two crucial elements play a key role in building a high performance team. The first element in team strength is the diversity of personalities and skills. Team members utilize their full strengths but, at the same time, also compensate for each other's weaknesses. The other key element contributing to teamwork success points out all the activities of the team target towards the same team goals. This heavily depends on effective communication among the team members and harmony in relationships (Hardingham, 1995).
In practical life, it is impossible to achieve success in teamwork without focusing team-building efforts and motivating activities. The unanticipated problems can arise at any junction thereby providing enough space for problems. For example, team members, instead of balancing and complementing each other, may land in conflicts. Ultimately, the success of team solely depends upon leadership skills of a team manager and how he can lead his team effectively.
The conclusion from the abstract provides me with a strong foundation on which I can plan changes. The activities in my learning provide me a podium to test the skills which I am willing to develop for future. My workplace where I interact with customers will further help me in developing my problem-solving, communication, and team-building skills and groom my personality. Presently, my skills are satisfactory, but, at the same time, I need further improvement in the next twelve months. There is no limit to learning and improving, and there is an abundance of skills hidden around us. I am sure that my dedication in learning will be a performance indicator of my personal development plan.