Introduction to Professional Development for Strategic Managers
According to Johnston-Parsons (2000), professional and personal development are two various aspects which play a vital role in the life of an individual. Personal development includes all those activities that can enhance the potential and identity of a person. On the other hand Davies (2005) cited that professional development is advancement of certain skills which facilitates an individual to perform a job with full enthusiasm and zeal.
In this report, we have discussed the professional and development of a Asda employee, designated at the post of a strategic manager. In this report, we have assessed the skills that are required for achieving the strategic goals. Further, it also includes the skills audit to identify the learning styles. Moreover, a plan for personal development and is also constructed and methods for assessing the plan are also studied here.
1.1 Appropriate methods for evaluating personal skills that are required for achieving strategic goals
Every person possess the ability of doing something all that need to be some by us is to analyse what we have and how we can use it in positive manner. Following are some of the common personal skills that are required for achieving strategic goals:
Time management: Blackmore (2010) inferred that it is essential to have time management skills in professional and personal life for improving the productivity. I have various skills through which I can prioritise my work and personal tasks as well. Being a strategic manager, I have to handle various tasks in a specified time period. It also helps me to achieve time based targets which further results in the achievement of the long-term organizational goals. It also assists in maintaining a balance between my professional and personal life.
Stress management: It helps me in resolving conflicts so that it doesn't create a negative impact on me. It assists me in managing work, supervising others and in organising the work as well. As I am the strategic manager, I need to be efficient in working and efficiency can gained if stress is managed properly (Gumus and et.al., 2009). It also helps in motivating the subordinates through reducing their stress. As a result, they work with more efficiency and does not create many conflicts.
Decision-making: These skills shows a person's ability to take quick decisions in a particular situation. Thus, the manager should be efficient in decision-making to ensure that the work is not delayed. It also helps in achieving the organisational goals on proper time.
Effective communication skills: It includes problem solving, questioning and active listening. These skills are important for me to make sure that a plan is communicated to the subordinated in understandable manner. It helps in avoiding the issues related to the misunderstanding and confusion (Lopper, 2007). Self-evaluation helps in analysing the importance of an effective communication in carrying out the activities of Asda in appropriate manner.
Problem solving: Being the strategic manager of Asda, I have to resolve several problems that occur frequently in the organisation. I have adequate knowledge of various techniques like PESTLE analysis, brainstorming and SWOT analysis which are important in solving the problems. These skills help in solving the personal problems as well.
1.2 Application of techniques to assess the professional skills that are required to support the strategic direction of Asda
Various techniques that can be used for assessing the professional skills which I require for supporting the strategic direction of Asda are as follows:
Leadership skills: The ability of influencing the behaviour of the subordinates provides the strategic manager a direction for achieving the organisational goals (Cooke, 2012). Managers should have these skills for motivating the personnel to work with enthusiasm and zeal. It also helps in determining the extent to which the manager can provide proper guidance to the workers.
Presentation skills: These skills are required to ensure that the subordinates understands the strategies and plans. It is important to present the plans to the employees in clear and inspiring way as they are the ones who will carry the task. This will help them to carry out their job in effective manner and to achieve the set organisational goals as well.
Human and social skills: In order to get the things done through and with others, a manager should have effective interpersonal skills. He should also be capable of making an optimum utilisation of the human resources. It includes effective leadership and team-work skills that can help in establishing coordination among the staff (Alsop, 2013).
Conceptual skills: These skills are required to analyse the complexities in the operations of Asda and includes decision-making skills. The manager need to formulate such strategic plans that helps the organisation in carrying out the operations more smoothly. These skills help the managers in proving direction to the employees regarding the ways in which organisational goals can be ascertained. He should have adequate knowledge of the different concepts of his profession.
Multi-tasking: The strategic manager should be capable of performing multiple-tasks at a time with full efficiency. He should prioritise the tasks according to their importance to maintain the efficiency in all the tasks.
Technical competence: it includes applying techniques and knowledge. It helps in providing a strategic direction to employees regarding the ways in which they can implement different techniques in their job (Eisele and et.al., 2013). It also helps him in providing appropriate guidance and training to the subordinates and establishes an environment of continuous learning in the firm.
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2.1 Skills audit to evaluate the strategic skills needed to meet current and future leadership requirements
The skills audit is conducted through SWOT analysis. It will help me to identify my future and current leadership requirement.
It can be analysed that I have very good motivational skills as being a strategic manager, it is important for me to stimulate and inspire the subordinates to make them work in effective manner. Besides this, I have good problem solving skills that assist me in completing the tasks in proper time. I can also influence the subordinates easily, i.e., I can easily direct their behaviour towards the organisation.
I lack effective communication skills which are very important for strategic manager. I fail to communicate in an understandable and appropriate manner at times. This creates confusion in work and affects the efficiency of work. I can not establish good coordination among the team member besides this, I sometimes lack logical decision-making and due to this reason I have to face problems while dealing with the complex situations in the business.
Training sessions organised by the company helps me in developing my communication as well as planning skills. Continuous interaction with the subordinates and peers and sharing ideas and information that will enhance my leadership skills and personality. Gaining experience by working in this field for long time, I can enhance my analytical and critical skills.
As I do not have sound communication skills, I am unable to communicate the exact information to the subordinates. This results in misinterpretation of the information and confusion among the workers. I also lack effective presentation skills and this hampers my progress as well.
NOS (National Occupational Standards) states the performance standards that should be achieved by the employees (Teare and et.al., 2011.). As a strategic manager, I need to have adequate skills regarding problem solving, presentation, decision-making, communication, etc. Feedback is also very important to carry out the skills audit.
2.2 Appropriate techniques for identifying preferred leadership styles
Different techniques that can be used for identifying the preferred leadership styles are as follows:
This process defines the learning processes which are based on four stages of the learning cycle, viz.,
Diverging: The people of this category learns by observation and prefer watching things rather than finding solution to a problem by collecting information. They are referred as 'diverging' because they are capable of performing brainstorming whenever there is a need of idea generation.
Assimilating: These people acquire knowledge from concepts and ideas. They prefer learning through lectures, analytical models and readings. These people are usually less focused.
Converging: Such people learn from experimentation. They practically implement the new ideas and gain knowledge from its outcomes (Johns, 2012). In this, people consider the technical tasks as the most essential aspect and give less importance to the interpersonal factors.
Accommodating: In this, people acquire knowledge from analysing other people and from their own experiences as well. These people depend upon the information collected by the top management for conducting their analysis and they prefer technical tasks. Also, they do not show any interest in the interpersonal and social issues.
Honey and Mumford learning style:
The four learning styles under this technique are as follows:
- Gains experience by doing the task.
- Participate in practical activities.
- Active participation in those games which require involvement and energy.
- Do not like to listen other's opinions
- Learns from trial and error method
- People review their experiences
- Takes decision after thinking and observing on a particular aspect
- Do not prefer to disclose the information
- They brief the situation in detail before starting any work (Inouye, 2007).
- People learn from concepts and theories
- Analyse things logically
- Require structure and time-table to conclude the gained experience.
- People learn from practical problems
- Implements learning on practical situations
- People prefer to be acknowledged from professionals before starting a task.
I prefer Kolb's learning style because I prefer learning through observing the things. It provides me great knowledge. Being the strategic manager of Asda, I have to deal with numerous people, so, observation is better for me to learn the things.
3.1 Methods to access the outcomes of the personal development plan against personal work objectives
For accessing the outcomes of the personal development plan against personal work objectives, the following methods or techniques can be implemented:
Monitoring and reviewing technique: After developing the plan, it is important to control and monitor it. Reviewing the plan is important to determine the areas of improvement. I can monitor the plan through feedback. Feedback from top level is important to know if the plan has improved my team-work, communication and presentation skills or not. Revision of the plan is done if the company do not get desired outcomes from the plan.
Self-review: It is important to monitor the plan and in analysing the extent to which the underdeveloped skills of a person gets enhanced. Review of the plan also helps in identifying the obstacles in the development of the skills (Nicholls, 2014). It also provides aid to the manger to improvise his underdeveloped skills.
Reflective record of the experience of management: This record helps in gaining the knowledge related to the experience faced during the development of the required skills. It states whether the experience is negative or positive. It also helps the managers in analysing the underdeveloped skills. The plan can be revised later for enhancing the abilities in appropriate manner.
3.2 Impact of own learning against the achievement of strategic goals
Communication skills: The strategic goal of Asda is increasing the profitability and sales of the business. For achieving this goal, being a strategic manager, I should possess proper communication skills so that any plan and information can be communicated with the subordinates and the top level in understandable and coordinated way. The different activities stated above have helped me in enhancing my communication skills to a great extent. It helps in increasing the productivity of the employees and in reducing conflicts among them.
Skills of logical decision-making: By enhancing the skills of logical decision-making, I have gained the ability of making appropriate and quick decisions. Besides this, I have developed analytical skills in me as well (Rhoton and Shane, 2001). The ability of quick decision-making helps in saving time and in directing the activities towards the said firm.
Presentation skills: enhancing the communication skills has helped me in developing my presentation skills. It has helped me in conveying the message in appropriate manner and it has also affected the performance of the employees. These skills has helped me in communicating the expected work of employees, plans and objectives of the firm to the employees as well as the top level. As a result, confusion regarding work among the employees has decreased and the work gets accomplished at proper time without any delays.
Team-work skills: Enhancing these skills has helped me in creating a coordination in the team and in reducing conflicts among the team members (Blackmore 2010). It has resulted in increasing the productivity of the team members as well as the organisation and in achievement of the set objectives.
Form this report, it can be concluded that the personal and professional skills play in vital role in an organisation. So, it is essential for me to possess these skills. This report also provides a development plan that can be implemented for enhancing various skills of a person. Further, different leadership styles have also been discussed using appropriate models. The review and monitoring of the plan should be done for keeping it effective and efficient.
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