In deciding to study at the University of South Wales, I had to make consultancy with some friends who had studied here in the past on the modus operandi of the academic / social lifestyle at he university as well as cost of living in Therefore where my campus was to be located. This was in agreement with Joseph and Joseph (1998) who cited some attributes in choice of student’s selection of tertiary institution as significant person who had attended the institution, location as well as college efforts to communicate with the student.
Over the past few months, with help from tutors as well as utilization of opportunities that exist in my environment, I have been able to develop myself in various aspects of my life including developing presentation and communication skills, team building skills, conflict resolution ND conflict management as well as learning from the perception of others about me. In doing this, have discovered new skills and learned to optimize old skills. Have also been able to meet my health targets and explore my social circle as well as enlarge my network.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
This essay aims to identifier what I have learned since the beginning of the Masters programmer, the learning process, how it has affected me, what tasks employed to develop as well as how my development is helping in the process of having an excellent future managerial career. The Learning Process The first class I attended in the developing the professional module (DTV) created platform which explored what is expected in being masterly. During this class, learned about the need to employ team work, communication and interactivity in the management of a group.
I learned the importance of this when the team whom I was grouped with failed to interact as a team during our learning task during the tutorial games thereby failing in the activity. Future reference to my entry journal which was advised by the module tutor was useful to me in helping me reflect on the failed past tasks as well as having a well thought out strategy towards future group tasks. See appendix 1 for journal. A new skill I have found o be particularly useful to me is mind mapping.
Polite (2003) described mind maps as a way of incorporating many of the brain’s learning skills and principles. This tool was used by me in group tasks and I learned that the more contribution every member of a group or team gives to draw a mind map, the more ideas the group developed. This found would be particularly useful in my future managerial career and also in the group tasks which we eventually undertook. See Appendix 10 for exemplar on mind-mapping. Have also learned about the different learning style models and which of these styles is best suited to my earning process.
This was done by utilizing established personality assessment tools including the Chilliest and Chapman VS. learning style self-assessment questionnaire, Honey and Muffed learning style questionnaire as well as the Kola learning model. I found the Kola’s learning style to be fascinating because of its distinctive phases in the learning process; abstruse conceptualization, reflective observation, effective experimentation and concrete experience (Kola, 1984).
The Honey and Muffed (2006) on the other hand categorized learning styles into reflectors, revolutionary, theorists and pragmatists which was evergreen to Chilliest and Chessman’s view which identified learning styles as kinesthesia, visual and auditory. I took the Honey and Muffed learning style questionnaire without honestly thinking through my answers before ticking or crossing out the box. This later realized, affected my identification of the wrong learning style and also affected my choice in the use of learning experiences to utilize in group tasks.
I however did the learning style questionnaire again and I found myself to be a personality with moderate preference for being an activist, reflector and pragmatist but a low preference for being a theorist. See appendix 10 for Honey and Muffed questionnaire. Through the Vase’s learning style self-assessment, I identified my learning personality as being kinesthesia; this means I learn better through two sub- channels which are touch and movement. I believe my knowledge of the learning styles has helped me in identifying the best learning choice to utilize when assigned tasks or working in a team.
The McGill website (2014) cited Hartmann (1995) example of how each learning style could affect each category. The concrete experience was suggested to do more field work, observations r videos; the reflective observer was suggested to use logs and journals, the abstract conceptualized work better with analogies and papers while the active experimenter whom identified myself as would work better with simulations or case studies. Prior to beginning my Masters’ degree, I was not aware that different learning styles had been literally identified even though I understood that people learned better in different ways.
I believe knowledge of these learning cycles and patterns has helped in identifying the best learning experience for me and I also believe knowledge of this will be a useful tool in my arsenal development while the undertaking the rest of the course and perhaps in my future career. This is in agreement to Alveolus and Ackerman (2001 ) who identified that knowledge of the learning cycle would bring a more exhaustive understanding which will enable an individual to be more observant and thus more knowledgeable about a topic. Learned during the course of my classes the importance of critical reflection in my personal development.
An instance I could cite was when the scores for my first module’s assessment were received; I had scored 67% and was upset for not edging into a 70%. I however noted the tutor’s comment and made a habit of finishing my other assessments before deadlines so as to get further guidance from the education drop-in centers for reviews before final submission. Further emphasizing on the importance of critical reflection was an analysis by Coffined et al (2004) which suggests that pausing to identify changes, how they occurred and recognizing if these changes were negative or positive would improve the development process.
Working with a group On arrival at the University of South Wales, I volunteered at the International Students Immigration Office as I believed this would help me in expanding my outwork of learning about different cultures and also help understand the work environment in the United Kingdom. The staff at the international office had been very helpful in giving tips to help in my professional development and was always willing to assist whenever issues I could not deal with arose.
Activities I have been involved in while working at the international and immigration office includes student support, trip booking for international students, visa issues consultation for non-E students as well as event coordination. I worked more as a support officer with this organization and experienced no difficulty in working thin this group. I however came to a different situation in working with a team on the Developing the Professional (DTV) module activity as I was saddled with the responsibility of team leadership.
I would like to reiterate that during the DTV module we had learned about effective communication, working as a team and conflict management. Found that these learning experiences would come in handy as the experience I had with my DTV activity team was much more different from that of the immigration and international office because had not dealt with conflict management before at a managerial position. Being a team deader in the perception of most of my team members meant I had to perform most of the tasks within the group.
I later learned that management was not about being the lone ranger in all activities and began allocating duties to team members. This however did not go down well with some of the group members as I had prior to allocating duty to other team members been doing most of the group activities on my own. Some group members never turned up for meetings while some group members didn’t reply my e-mails on duty allocations and this resulted in lots of conflicts. These conflicts were resolved by calling meetings; even though the first wrong actions we as a team took involved not speaking to some members of the group for a while.
This is in agreement with Chider (2005, p. 73) who suggests that conflicts are best solved by communication instead of a disconnect happening within teams. The group activity eventually came to an end with everyone happy with the outcome and all conflicts being resolved. See Appendix 4 for letter of appreciation for group task undertaken. Learned from this experience that people management involved effective communication and leadership was more of working as a team and not a lone anger and I hope to utilize this experience in further improving on my teamwork weaknesses.
The team progress did follow an approach which included team formation, storming of ideas, morning as well as performance of tasks; this was not followed intentionally. Later learned that the progress of the team followed an academic approach called the Dustman’s four stage approach which involved forming, storming, morning and performing thus reducing the complexity as well as dynamism involved in working with a group (Lee-Kelley et al 2004). With knowledge of this, I believe that in my future career, I hopefully would make unconscious efforts to follow the Dustman’s four stage approach in undertaking projects or tasks.
Another important aspect I learned while working with a group was in identifying the team role I played and the importance of the knowledge of team roles in a project. On self-analysis with the Beeline model, I identified myself in the action oriented roles which consists of the implementers and shapers. Implementers according to Beeline (2013) are practical in nature and also have a workable strategy which enables them carry out tasks as efficiently as possible while shapers are instrumental to suggestions and proffering solutions o problems encountered.
See Appendix 2 for identification of team role played during group activity. Fisher et al (2000) stated the importance of Bellini’s team role as one which helps in selecting and developing high-performing teams, raising self-awareness, increasing personal effectiveness, helping in talent identification for a project and much more. Pritchard and Stanton (1999, p. 663) also identified the importance of Beeline team roles in training despite its lack of empirical validation.
I have also learned by hands-on experience the importance of identification of the Beeline Team roles and hope to continually utilize this knowledge in future group projects or team building events in my future career. Communication Skills Harrier et al (2004) identified the fluid transmission of information between members of a group as needful in the working of the team. While working in a team during the group task for the Developing the Professional module, as a group leader I made sure not to impose my views or ideas on the group during the meetings.
This according to Emmett and Gorse (2006) hampers the dynamics or functioning of a group. I also however learned the need to be straightforward in addressing some issues as well as being diplomatic in addressing other sues in order to avoid conflict. For instance when we as a team were to submit a group report, we were instructed have just one copy submitted into a folder; I later found out that four submissions into four separate folders had been made regarding that assignment by another group member after clearly communication through email to all group members that I was the only one to submit the report.
My first reaction was to be demeaning and rude to the individual who created the error. I however calmed down and thought through the best way to handle the situation; I considered language barrier as one of the robbers that could have prompted the individual to make such an error. I eventually sent emails detailing what had happened to the tutors involved and the issue was solved. I also learned about meetings and the way to manage meetings. Although most of the meetings usually held during the group task were informal, I learned the importance of record keeping to meetings.
This was quite useful in helping refer to key issues needed to write post-reports; I believe in my future career, I would incorporate keeping notes during meetings into the managerial activity to help in referencing discussions or important decisions dad. Another developed communication skill which I had to improve upon was learning to listen more; from the classes and group activity, I learned that no one was an island in knowledge and knowledge was a two-way thing fostered by effective communication between two different entities or group of people. According to Reeves (2013, p. 47) communication involves listening, speaking, understanding the message to communicate either formally or informally while keeping a balance of giving and receiving information from both information sources. Have learned to utilize a number of communication methods including optimization of social media in planning meeting times, sending reminders and much more. See Appendix 5 evidencing the creation of a Faceable page for the DTV Group project team to which I belonged named Smart Fusion. I was also involved in a group task which focused on designing a poster (see appendix 6) and how to effectively communicate messages within a poster.
I also learned the best way to communicate a message within a formal letter (see appendix 7). While undertaking this task I noted the wrong ways to design a poster and not attract any attention and the best way to design a poster without giving already impatient passers-by headaches before reading. Knowledge of this was useful during a fund raising activity with my DTV group; we learned the best way to set up our stand to attract passers-by, speak clearly on themes when passing across information.
I believe this is a skill will keep working on as still believe other facets of communication that I should have as a manager such as presentation skills have not been fine-tuned to the best it could be. Another growth area which I recognized over the past few months is in time management. Slaves and Dotterels (2007) described time management as a set of rules which are lawful to individuals in coping with demands of different tasks. Identified the need to prioritize tasks into crucial areas, and make plans in accordance with my priorities.
This has not just been helpful in meeting assessment targets but also in the external environment. While conducting the group task, my team utilized the Gannet’s chart to help with planning and managing our time. Gerald and Lecher (2012, p. 583) described the Gaunt chart as a graphical representation which defines, quantifies and manages interfaces in terms of time and order. I however noted that we did not follow the Gaunt chart as a result of change in raptors for project and feasibility of the project task. Forever believe time management helped in success of the group event despite the poor use of the Gaunt chart (See Appendix 4 for appreciation letter for task performed). I have however learned the need for utilization of the Gaunt chart and how helpful it would be in undergoing future projects during the course of my career. See appendix 3 for Gaunt chart. Managing conflicts Beeline (2012) recognizes that conflicts are a norm and should be expected to arise in team activities. In furtherance, the need to understand the team roles n helping to cope with and if possible avoid conflict is highly recommended.
Recourse (2009, p. 40) in his analysis on reconciliation further indicated that resolving a conflict does not necessarily present the emergence of a new conflict in the future. This suggests that conflict management skills would come in handy and as such I learned the need to develop this skill especially during my group tasks. During the team activity, there was breakdown in communication between me and my team members as a result of rising emotions. I however learned that not speaking to some members of my team because of my anger as the worst possible way to handle the situation.
Coleman et al (2008, p. 120) identified that fair treatment which evoke a sense of anger usually is the beginning of conflict within teams. Hung (2009, p. 338) however identified team learning orientation as a reason for conflict within groups; team learning orientation referring to everyone having a say when it came to ideas and not just letting a single individual in the group taking decision on behalf of the group. This suggests that task conflict and relationship conflict will be weaker under conditions of improved team learning orientation.
To resolve conflicts within my team however, meetings were called and the discussions concerning the issues identified were raised. Some team members however still do not remain forgiving for my behavior during the initial process of the conflict but the team did recognize the need to move on and succeed in the group task. I have however learned that the worst way to solve a conflict is avoid communication and in my future career, I hope to use this experience in solving whatever conflicts arise in my future career by dealing with conflicts immediately they arise.
Perception of others Dabbler et al (2012, p. 8) suggests that an individual’s perception of a feedback determines if the feedback would be used by such persons for his or her growth professionally; when an individual considers a perception or inaccurate, the individual will ignore the feedback. In order to find out my level of development and perception of some of my colleagues about me, I had to send out an e-mail to get an UN-biased view to know how much I have changed from the beginning of the course till date. See appendix for details.
One of the feedbacks which was from one of my tutors suggested that I had developed in my leadership abilities ND she noticed that I was concerned about the feelings of others; another feedback from a colleague suggests that have clearly improved in confidence level as well as becoming more social. I hope to improve on these noted positive impressions and further develop the positive perceptions. Conclusion Developing myself as an individual, I have learned from different theoretical as well as hands-on experiences.
I have succeeded in tasks, failed in tasks, thought about decisions I could have made to have a more positive OUtpUt to the tasks failed in as well as looked at better ways I could have gone about the tasks I succeeded in. I have sought people’s opinion on their perception of the way I go about my activities, learned from their perceptions things I never knew about myself (see appendix 8) and I hope to work on the negatives of these perceptions. The journey so far from where I was to where I presently am, even before deciding to study for a master’s degree has been a quite tough one.
It has also been an enjoyable one, learning new skills which ranged from better communication skills to presentation skills as well as mock meetings to understand the concept of formal and informal communication within meetings. Eve become more confident in voicing my opinion regarding issues, I have also become more aware about different cultures as a result of studying in a multicultural society. The learning experience both within the academic and non- academic environment has helped in developing me to a better character to effectively manage situations and organizations eventually.