Professional development plan

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Define Leadership

Leadership refers to the ability of providing guidance and mentorship to a group of individuals, who are part of an organization with a collective agenda. A good leader should be able to formulate a clear strategy based on a shared vision. However, the first step towards ensuring a good leadership strategy is to have a clear idea about one’s own personal goals. A person can provide leadership, only if the one has identified one’s own strengths and weaknesses. If the person remains unaware of the potential pitfall in the road to providing leadership, the outcome will not be desirable. In order to win the trust of followers, it is necessary to lead by example. Sticking to a tight schedule and completing tasks within deadline are key requirements for being an able leader. Another crucial dimension of leadership is to have the ability to communicate very clearly. A transformational leader can bring about change only if the one can establish a powerful bonding with the followers.

Personal Developmental Needs

The personal developmental plan consists of the strengths and weaknesses in my leadership qualities. As a person, I am very inquisitive and always eager to learn new things. This gives me an edge over other managers, since I am willing to pick up new skills in order to keep pace with a dynamically evolving world. The strength is particularly helpful in nurturing a culture of innovation within the organization. The members of the organization, where I work will get all the support from my side for experimenting with new ideas as long as they remain within the bounds of the organizational needs.

There are two aspects in my personality that need attention. The first relates to poor communication skills. Even though I have an inclination for innovation, it is clear that I cannot help my subordinates and peers unless I can understand their viewpoint. This shows that even my effective listening skills need to be sharpened further. In order to be perceived as a sensitive person, I have to listen to the problems that others are facing. The second flaw in my personality is that I can become overstressed while speaking publicly. When there is a lot of work load, I tend to impose stringent deadlines on myself in an unrealistic manner. While being ambitious is good, putting excessive pressure on oneself sends a negative image to those reporting to me. As a good leader, I should be able to handle stress with finesse so that my public speaking does not get hampered.

Strategies

A manager is expected to take on board the diverse viewpoints that can keep an organization afloat. The two weaknesses related to poor business communication skills and inability to handle pressure smoothly have to be mitigated using a personal routine, where I can closely monitor my own activities, emotional outbursts and reactions. I also need to record the observations of my peers, colleagues and subordinates to keep track of the impression I am making on others. It has been observed that only a few questions will suffice about the way a leader is being perceived within the organization. A sustained observation will require the consent of all the stakeholders associated with my work. Their feedback will have to be integrated with my own personal observations. I need to follow a SMART strategy in order to eliminate the drawbacks in my leadership abilities. All the managers need to develop ways of quantifying their strategic objectives and goals. For a personal development plan, I have to set specific time frames and use existing metrics for the improvement of my personal abilities in the two areas of weakness. I should keep track of the changes brought about through the hard work as well, since it is very useful to take encouragement from the gains made. Without a positive disposition towards the personal development plan, it is easy to lose the motivation to continue along the path of self-improvement (Schwarzer 92). I have to incorporate these plans into the regular interactions and activities that I undertake as a manager and leader.

The alternative strategy involves reading up about different ways following which top managers of the world handle pressure during the act of speaking publicly. The modern day manager must be equipped with the ability to develop a smooth connection with the public. This is because the international business climate is extremely volatile and one cannot expect to remain complacent at any stage. It is necessary to develop a mental model of the person that one wants to become in the future.

Evaluation of Strategies

Business communication skills are important to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. For this reason, the aforementioned strategies will help in evaluating my ability to handle complex situations more effectively. By monitoring my activities regularly, I can generate a better understating of the correlation between various external factors my response to the situation. In retrospect, it can be concluded that the two flaws in my managerial abilities are strongly related. This is because; I cannot properly communicate my own views and understand those of others, so I find it difficult to keep commitments without taking too much pressure. I can see that the problem that I am confronted with currently has its roots in my school days, where I used to panic just before any activity that involved public speaking. It is evident that time management is of essence in order to manage other resources and activities in an efficient manner.

The personal self-reflection is a complex process, as it requires a conscious admission of one’s drawbacks. It has been noted that we often falter in this regard, as this step requires one to be absolutely honest. However, humbleness is one of the hallmarks of a truly inspirational leader. It has been observed that a great way of testing personal development is to take feedback from one’s professional sphere (Mroczek and Todd 471). A systematic observation over an extended period of time is likely to provide enough data in order to create a model plan of action (Moon 161). The impact of various external factors on individual behavior can be understood more thoroughly through such a feedback mechanism (Kolb 21). Another way of looking at this approach is that the efforts put into improving workplace relationships will itself send a positive message about me, as others will feel that I am serious about developing my leadership skills. A leader also needs to manage the resources in the most efficient manner, and only by improving my communication skills, I can fully understand the core competencies of my team members.

The second strategy involves following the footsteps of the best thinkers in the world of management. Their examples show different ways through which a person can improve the quality of business following critical self-assessment. The vast experience that such leaders have amassed over the years can help me develop my own communication skills (Reynolds 3). More crucially, reading about various challenges that these top leaders have faced may help generating ideas about dealing with the ones that I face.

Implementation

The two strategies must be executed by a two-step process that includes the identification of right goals and various ways of measuring the level of success achieved. The contextual factors include my gender, class position as well as the relative position within the organizational hierarchy. The observation on personal development will be made over a period of next six months. Two ways of recording activities will be used, namely, a recorder, in which I will speak out my mind after my daily work is complete, and secondly, by maintaining a diary for jotting down important observations. Variations in mood, feelings and my personal analysis will be recorded. These details will be reviewed at the end of the month to observe any particular pattern. For instance, it may so happen that I become angrier, whenever a colleague or peer makes a negative remark about me. It is to be remembered that without criticism, it is not possible to grow as an individual. My instant reaction needs to be recorded as part of my self-assessment program.

The second part of the first strategy is carrying out surveys at intervals of two months. In other words, a total of three surveys over six months will be carried out among my colleagues and other people associated with my work. These details will be matched with my own perception, as this can reveal a certain degree of communication gap. To put it differently, it may mean that I have a false sense of pride about my own abilities, which have been blinding me to the possibility that my communication skills are weak. I should also note the frequency of meetings and the number of times I am able to find a common ground that will be acceptable to one and all. This information will reveal my capability as a mediator, who can find harmony despite the existence of diverse viewpoints. Organizational unity can be a reality, only if the manager is able to bring out the best in everyone in the team through sound communication skills.

Evaluation of Potential Outcomes

The most likely outcome of the plan of action is that my overall business communication capabilities will improve significantly. As a result, I should be able to motivate the team members in any contextual setting more frequently. At the end of the personal development program, I will be in a position to know the things that can trigger negative reactions in me. As I will become more self-conscious after six-month exercise, I should know how to control my emotions better. The survey conducted on my colleagues and other individuals related to my work will throw light on how my actions and reactions are being perceived by others. Based on these findings, I will take corrective measures so that I can become a more acceptable person. After every course correction, I would review the progress I have made thus far.

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  1. Kolb, David A. Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT Press, 2014.
  2. Moon, Jennifer A. Reflection in learning and professional development: Theory and practice. Routledge, 2013.
  3. Mroczek, Daniel K., and Todd D. Little, eds. Handbook of personality development. Psychology Press, 2014.
  4. Reynolds, Michael. Organizing reflection. Routledge, 2017.
  5. Schwarzer, Ralf, ed. Self-efficacy: Thought control of action. Taylor & Francis, 2014.
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