Self-reflection on Evidence of the Development of My Understanding of Self via the Engagements with the Learning and Activities Covered in This Module

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This essay examines my self-reflection on evidence of the development of my understanding of self via the engagements with the learning and activities covered in this module. The reflection encompasses four core skills namely team working, receiving and giving feedback, assertiveness and time management. Through the course, I have learnt to apply various skills in achieving self-awareness and personal development. The four core skills covered in this essay are vital especially in work environments where I am required to demonstrate confidence in self,  be an independent thinker, be able to communicate effectively and sensitively and appreciate the diversity of the workplace by valuing other colleagues' views, opinions and feedback. Therefore, self-reflection of the core skills will provide not only timely feedback on the level of skill development but also provide an evidence-based foundation for coming up with a personal development plan. The personal reflection will involve the use of various self-assessment tools such as Johari window (SA), Appraisal data, Blake Moulton Managerial Grid (SA), past academic reports, Colleagues feedback, Belbin Team Roles (SA), Thomas-Kilmann Conflict (SA), and Mid-Module review process among other approaches[M1] .

Through the workplace, learning activities and everyday life, self-reflection on personal skills has helped me identify both strong and weak areas in my personal and interpersonal skills. For instance, I enjoy working with my colleagues on projects, but sometimes I find it hard when colleagues criticise my ideas and sometimes sideline them. I am more conscious of time, and therefore I have embraced good time planning practices even though I do not stick to the plan all the time. Being assertive in communication gives me a sense of self-confidence but also promotes being misunderstood as insensitive by colleagues. I have had struggles in giving feedback, and therefore it is an area of growth and development.  Generally, positive feedback gives me a sense of accomplishment but receiving negative feedback has not been easy, and in many instances I misunderstood negative feedback to mean I am good enough, and nothing can be done about it. Through the course, I have learnt the value of feedback, both positive and negative. This self-reflection report is therefore important to my personal development in personal and interpersonal skills and most importantly because of the retrospective and prospective value it provides in understanding myself and others.

Skill1: Team working

What is the core skill?

Team working entails the ability to work with colleagues and other people towards achieving a common goal. The skill encompasses cooperative aspects such as sharing of responsibilities and duties, participating actively in team activities, sharing rewards and taking collective responsibility for failures, and ability to make a general contribution that promotes the team capability. According to Scarnati (2001, p. 5), teamwork entails a cooperative process that enables a team to achieve extraordinary results. The most important aspect of the team working, therefore, focuses on common goals[M2] .

Why is this core skill important? Why did I select this skill to reflect on?

In my current work environment, working effectively with others is very crucial. I have discovered, through learning and working activities, that working with others produce superior, more efficient and effective results compared to individual work. Therefore, the realisation that achieving organisational/group goals depend on how well the team members cooperate and focus as a team, propels me to reflect on this skill both at a personal and interpersonal level.

Reflect on your current competent regarding this skill. How did you assess your competence?

I prefer working in a team or a group both at the workplace and in school compared to working alone. I make active contributions to discussions and brainstorming. I applied for the Belbin Team Roles and Johari’s window to assess my team working skills and cross-referenced with colleagues feedback on the skill. From the Belbin's role types, I would describe myself as a team worker who is diplomatic, cooperative, and friendly and calms the situation in high tension environments. Therefore, I assess myself as a competent team member. The results of the Belbin’s toolkit and Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid show that I possess team leader set of skills. This is in line with my perception of self as a positive person in my relationships with customers, colleagues and peers. The results of the Johari’s window toolkit show that my colleagues perceive me as helpful, respectful, sociable, happy and calm[M3] .

Can you identify any contradictions from your analysis above?

Yes. I Identified various contradictions from the results of the assessment of team working skills exercise. For instance,  I perceive myself as persuasive, but my colleagues view me as authoritative which corresponds to the powerful trait colleagues do not know about. The contradiction is whether I am persuasive or I exert my authority and force the team members to comply. Another contradiction is in my colleagues view me as calm and yet I consider myself sensitive and scared of failing. In Belbin’s team role assessment, I assessed myself as mild and diplomatic, but colleagues perceive me as authoritative[M4] .

How will this skill help me in the future?

Team working is a necessary skill for me to thrives in the workplace. Team working promotes more efficiency and effectiveness, innovative and successful outcomes and open communication. Good teamwork working also promotes high spirits and motivation within a team, a greater sense of belongingness and identity and also deepens positive relationships among colleagues (Daniel et al., 2017). Through teamwork, I will be able to enjoy better working relationships and achieve superior results.

Skill2: Giving and Receiving Feedback

What is the core skill?

Feedback entails information about merits and areas of development about self and others (Stone & Heen, 2014). Feedback is two-way, and therefore one can give or receive feedback. Sources of feedback include colleagues and peers at the workplace and school. Feedback helps one to evaluate their skills and pursue personal development in weak areas. Feedback is usually communicated through avenues such as a performance evaluation, thank you comments, complaints, continuous engagement for certain services etc. (Evekink, 2016)[M5]

Why is this core skill important? Why did I select this skill to reflect on?

The recent realisation of the importance of giving and receiving feedback has propelled me to select and reflect on the skill. Feedback is important to both self and work teams. Firstly, feedback improves morale when positive outcomes are appreciated, and negative attributes are highlighted. Feedback from external stakeholders aligns an individual's and team's focus with the stakeholders' expectations while internal feedback aligns an employee's goals and focus on organisational goals and expectations. Feedback also helps in problem and conflict resolution. At the organisational level, feedback improves the bottom line and boosts the corporate image (Stone & Heen, 2014).

A recent encounter with feedback literature increased my interest in the dynamics of feedback. Pontefract (2015) highlights the results of a study conducted to assess employees views on performance feedback. An overwhelming 55% of the respondents termed the feedback as either incorrect or unfair. Moreover, four out of five employees perceived performance review as an issue to be dreaded (Pontefract, 2015). [M6]

Reflect on your current competent regarding this skill. How did you assess your competence?

The self-reflection and assessment on giving and receiving feedback are based on the Johari's window, Mid-Module review process and feedback received from colleagues in school and workplace. The Johari’s window analysis (  2.0) my colleagues and peers perceive me as authoritative, something I was not aware of. During the half-year performance review at the workplace, my line manager noted that I need to improve on communication with other colleagues since I am authoritative most of the times. My colleague had given feedback that my communication sounds more like an order instead of peer to peer communication. During the mid-module review, my performance was above average, and my assessor noted that I need to be attentive to details to improve. He also noted that I was doing a good job in leading my academic group. I also reviewed the customers' feedback on my service to them, and it was 100% positive[M7] .

Can you identify any contradictions from your analysis above?

There are few contradictions in the assessment above. My line manager's feedback highlighted I need improvement in communication skills with team members whereas my tutor endorsed my leadership skills. Also, customers’ feedback was 100% positive which differs with line manager’s and mid-module reviewer’s feedback in certain aspects. My colleagues and peers feedback on Johari’s’ window differs in that some gave feedback that I am calm, respectful and mature but some perceived me as authoritative 

How will this skill help me in the future?

Giving and receiving feedback is an important component of communication. Receiving feedback objectively will help me build on peer and customer relationships and identify areas I need to improve on. Giving feedback will help my peers and colleagues improve on their weak areas and hence build a more open and stronger team.

Skill 3: Assertiveness

What is the core skill?

Assertiveness is defined as a skill through which an individual expresses their need to be treated with respect and expression of their right to thoughts, ideas, feelings and preferences without denying other people's rights to act in their interests and self-expression. Assertiveness is different from aggressive behaviour, which attempts to deny other people's interests and opinions for personal elevation (Murphy, 2011). [M8]

Why is this core skill important? Why did I select this skill to reflect on?

Assertiveness is an important skill and especially in conflict resolution and communication. To be an effective team worker, I need to be assertive in the communication of my values, preferences and opinions and work ethic. It is important to feel understood and heard and to know that my opinion counts in the big picture. I selected the skill since working together with groups of individuals at school and workplace depends on fruitful interactions based on mutual understanding. I perceive assertiveness as an important component that enhances my self-esteem and helps me gain respect among peers in college and workplace.

Reflect on your current competent regarding this skill. How did you assess your competence?

The self-reflection and assessment on assertiveness are based on the Thoms Kilmann questionnaire (TKq), Johari’s window, feedback received from peers.   3.0 shows the results of my self-assessment of Thoms Kilmann conflict (SA). To my surprise, I discovered that my style of conflict resolution is avoidance. The results show a score of 11 on avoidance and six on withdrawal. Feedback from peers in school and Self-assessment through Johari's window shows that I am powerful (unknown to others) and respectable (Known to others). Feedback from my colleagues shows that I am authoritative[M9] .

Can you identify any contradictions from your analysis above?

There are contradictions in the analysis above. Thoms Kilmann questionnaire shows that I handle conflicts by withdrawing while feedback from my colleagues and line manager shows that I am authoritative (Suggesting that I handle conflicts through competing/forcing).

How will this skill help me in the future?

Assertiveness will help in future to maintain a healthy self-image built on being heard, respected and engaged. The skill will improve my self-confidence and self-respect in enabling me to be comfortable when communicating with others knowing that my opinion, as well as others' opinions, count and,  will be respected. The skill will also help me work on competing and aggressive tendencies towards peers and colleagues.

Skill 4: Time management

What is the core skill?

 

Time management refers to how I plan, organise activities and control the time spent on each activity or task whether at school, at my workplace or in my personal life.  The skill encompasses not only assigning time to various tasks but also assessing which task best suits a particular time of the day, ensuring that the transitions from one activity to another are smooth with minimal time wastage (Robbins, 2016). [M10]

Why is this core skill important? Why did I select this skill to reflect on?

Effective time management determines how well I achieve my goals and objectives at school, workplace and in personal life. A lot of time can be wasted during the day if time is not well managed. Time management helps me to be more effective, efficient and productive. Given my busy schedule, I realise without proper time management I risk missing classes and important academic deadlines, work deadlines and personal time for rest and recreation. Also, there is a risk of overlapping activities if not properly scheduled.  Moreover, time is an important aspect of goal setting since smart goals must have the aspect of timelines.

Reflect on your current competent regarding this skill. How did you assess your competence?

The self-reflection and assessment on time management are based on an evaluation of Blake Moulton Managerial Grid, approach and consistency in meeting deadlines in school and workplace, feedback from colleagues and peers and Johari's window analysis.  Reviewing my academic and workplace deadlines, I rate myself as a good timekeeper. I submit my papers and attend to my professional deliverables on time almost always. My peers and colleagues perceive me as a good timekeeper since I am always punctual for meetings and engagements and as a result, they perceive me as a calm and composed person.  Based on Blake Moulton Managerial Grid, I would rate myself as a task and a team manager. There are instances where I am concerned about people and the task, but there are other times I focus more on the task more than the team members[M11] .

Can you identify any contradictions from your analysis above?

The Johari’s window analysis shows my colleagues and peers perceive me as a calm person mainly because I keep time and rarely get entangled in the last minute rush. On the other hand, I get nervous and get offended when others do not keep time. 

How will this skill help me in the future?

Proper time management will enable to consistently work on all priority areas in my career, school work and personal life. Being on top of my to-do list will help me stay calm, think clearly and hence achieve better results. Time management is also an important part of management and decision making, and hence through effective time management, I will be a better manager.

Summary[M12] :

Based on the assessment of the four sets of skills in the self-reflection journal, the following are my strengths and weaknesses

Strengths and Weaknesses

Team Working

He self-reflection shows that I am a team worker. I am diplomatic, cooperative, calm, peacemaker and perceptive. These skills have helped me in building a cohesive study group in school. As noted by my tutor, I have been doing a great job leading the group in carrying out curriculum activities and tasks.  Working alone is usually not attractive whenever I am working on a project or studying. However, the analysis also identified certain weaknesses related to the team working skill. According to Belbin's role types, I a prone to indecisiveness especially in crunch situations where I have to make a quick decision alone.  Also, being diplomatic makes me vulnerable to be easily influenced by the majority opinions even when such opinions differ with my values. Also, feedback from my colleagues in the workplace shows I am authoritative, and this is an area that requires improvement.

Time Management

Time management is a strength for me based on the analysis. I manage my tasks well and meet all the deadlines both in school and at work.  The feedback from my colleagues and peers proves that I am never late for meetings and other engagements. However, Moulton Managerial Grid analysis shows I switch between team management and task management. Task management undermines team working. 

Assertiveness

The results of self-reflection on assertiveness shows that I need to improve drastically in conflict management approach. The results of Thoms Kilmann questionnaire reveals that I deal with conflicts through avoidance. This may brood misunderstanding and creep in of unresolved issues between my colleagues/peers and me, undermining teamwork and relationships. I need to pursue personal development in this area.

Giving and Receiving Feedback

The reflection on this skill shows that I have done well in giving feedback and receiving positive feedback. The customers’ feedback on exemplary service and the tutor’s feedback on my team management skills were welcome and well received. However, I realised I am not enthusiastic about negative feedback. The tutor’s feedback on my lack of attention to details in the curriculum and colleagues feedback branding me as authoritative was met with self-justification rather than acceptance.  I look forward to developing in receiving negative feedback.

Development Area

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Relevant

Timely

Team Working

Eliminate authoritative tendencies in communication with colleagues

Seek continuous feedback on team members’ views before reaching final decisions

I lead a group of five peers in school and work with 15 colleagues in my department. Getting feedback is possible

Create a more friendly and collaborative team environment

Achieve positive feedback during the end of year review on the aspect.

Time Management

Adopt team management approach in managing tasks.

Improved team morale and esteem in projects with tight deadlines

Balancing between concerns for people and completing a task within tight deadlines may be difficult but attainable

Higher team morale and improved results. People work better when shown care and concern.

To implement starting from the next team project both at school and at the workplace.

Giving and receiving feedback

Develop a positive attitude towards negative feedback

Assess my attitude towards colleagues and customers complaints and negative feedback.

Ask colleagues, peers and my tutor to criticise my work, decisions and attitudes

Reduce chances of conflicts and misunderstanding when defending myself. Create an avenue for growth.

Embrace the practice on a day-to-day basis

  [M13]

References

Belbin, M. (1981). Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail”. Belbin Associates.

Daniel, G., Boyatzis, R., Druskat, V., Davidson, R. J., Kohlrieser, G., McKee, A., . . . Fernández-Aráoz, C. (2017). Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence: 12 Leadership Competency Primers.

Retrieved June 26, 2018, from https://www.keystepmedia.com/shop/12-leadership-competency-primers/#.WzN9uPlua70

Evekink, H. J. (2016). Feedback First: Boosting Organisational Performance through CLEAR+CALM Communication.

Murphy, J. (2011). Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others.

Pontefract, D. (2015, March 31). Only 55 Percent Of Employees Feel As Though Performance Management Appraisals Are Effective. Retrieved June 28, 2018, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/danpontefract/2015/03/31/only-55-percent-of-employees-feel-as-though-performance-management-appraisals-are-effective/#54352f113ac7

Robbins, T. (2016). Time Management: Master Time Management and Boost Your Success: Time Management, Productivity and Success (Time Management, Manage Time, Productivity, Success, Business).

Scarnati, J. T. (2001). On becoming a team player. Team Performance Management: An International

            Journal, 7(1/2), 5-10.

Stone, D., & Heen, S. (2014). Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well.

Appendices

  1.0

  2.0

  3.0

  4.0

  5.0

[M1]In this section, I highlighted the self-assessment toolkits that I used to assess my core skills.

[M2]I read on teamwork literature and took notes of the definition included in this section

[M3]I used Johari’s window, Belbin Team Roles and feedback from peers and colleagues to assess team working skill.

[M4]The contradictions discussed under this core skill and other core skills relates to the results of the self-assessment using the identified toolkits.

[M5]Pontefract (2015) provided the best definition of the skill.

[M6]In this section, I read widely on the skill and included the relevant literature on giving and receiving feedback (Stone & Heen, 2014; Pontefract, 2015).

[M7]I used relevant toolkits such as Johari’s window, Mid-Module review process, and feedback from peers and colleagues to assess my skill in this area.

[M8]In this area, I reviewed the study by Murphy (2011) and used the definition provided in his work.

[M9]I mainly used Thomas Kilmann’s questionnaire, Johari’s window and feedback from peers to assess my skill.

[M10]In the literature review, Robbins (2016) provided the best definition of time management and hence I included it in the definition section

[M11]I used Blake Moulton Managerial Grid, personal reflection on meeting deadlines in school and workplace as well as Johari’s window. The results of the assessments are discussed in this section.

[M12]This section was revised to capture the strengths and weaknesses identified in the assessment relating to the four core skills assessed. The weak areas provide a basis for development of a personal development plan.

[M13]The personal development plan is based on the summary provided above of the weaknesses and strengths identified in the assessment. The personal development plan seeks to address the weaknesses.

October 24, 2023
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