I am a woman in the young adulthood stage of life according to Erikson (1968), as cited in the Managing Self Development (MSD) Text pg 250. Family has always played an integral role in my life, and being recently married; my priority towards my marital family is increasing. Both my parental and marital families have been supportive of my role as a student and professional member of society. In our society the role of the woman has evolved over the last two to three decades, with the professional woman now gaining recognition while still tending to her role as wife, mother and care giver to name a few.
I now find myself having to strike that balance between my professional and personal life. I am five feet tall (or I should say short), very petite, and I have always been a reserved, shy individual. These attributes has meant that I have to make the extra effort to prove my abilities, especially in the working environment. I have approximately nine years experience in the working environment four of which has been at a senior level. After completing the first level of ACCA on a full time basis, I decided it would be beneficial to my career in the long term if I were to continue my studies on a part time basis.
I was employed with a small construction organisation for approximately a year after which I joined the Southern Sales & Service Group as an accounts clerk. I was progressively promoted and I am currently the group accountant and the youngest manager within this organization. I report directly to the finance director and am responsible for the day to day operations of the accounting department, at our head office, and overall supervision of the accounting systems in the four other branches.
My aim is to be able to manage the operations of the entire organisation on a daily basis in an efficient and effective manner, as is currently being done by the finance director. I hope to become the first woman and non family member to hold a directorship title in this family owned organisation. Eventually, I hope to be able to use the skills acquired here in my own business. Evaluation of Interpersonal Behaviour MBTI(r) The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI(r)) is based Carl Gustav Jung’s theory of psychological type.
It was developed by a mother- daughter team “to help people identify individual strengths and unique gifts” quoted Myers (1993) as cited at http://www. nesdis. noaa. gov. This is one of the most widely used personality tests today, with the aim to broaden and expand our self perception and understanding of our behaviour. MBTI(r) assesses a person’s preferences on four scales/ levels: My BELBIN(r) preferred roles are plant, monitor evaluator and team worker, while my manageable roles are resource investigator, shaper, completer finisher, specialist and my least preferred roles are coordinator and implementer.
As indicated in the counseling report, included under Appendix 3 I am a strong thinking type, this matches with my MBTI(r) profile of INTP. Aggressive Behaviour In my self assessment, I believed that communication was my major area of concern at first, but after further consideration I realized that assertiveness is the bigger issue. Assertive behaviour according to Guirdham (1995, p. 220) (cited MSD text page 310) is, “behaviour based on valuing yourself enough to insist on getting what you want and need by using reasonable and fair means.
” In reviewing my behaviour, I have come to realize that instances where I considered my behaviour as assertive, was seen as aggressive by other individuals. In an incident earlier this year (see appendix 4, PDJ 1) I was annoyed since, I thought that a staff member was trying to ‘pull one over’ on me. I stood next to her with my hands on my hip, and staring coldly at her I expressed my disappointment in a sarcastic tone. She became defensive, and I reacted even more aggressively; expressing my opinion, how I felt and left without paying any attention to how she felt.
This implies aggressive behaviour, according to Back and Back (1999, p.3), as cited in the MSD textbook (2002, p. 310) “aggression implies: ignoring or dismissing the needs, wants, feelings or viewpoint of others. ” This behaviour can be linked to both my Belbin (plant) and MBTI(r) (Thinking) profiles. My strong thinking attributes and consequent logical analysis results in me not being in-tune with people’s feelings and thus not taking emotions of others into consideration. In feedback received from 10 members of staff, my effectiveness in registering emotional cues in attuning my message was rated my weakest area within communication (see Appendix 1 and 2).
Non- Assertive Behaviour I have a tendency when dealing with other managers and senior officials, to be a little ‘timid’, as identified by my boss in feedback received for this assignment (see appendix 2). In the past I thought I was being polite with the aim to avoid conflict but this has been seen as a weakness by others. In a recent confrontation with another manager (see Appendix 6, PDJ 3) I was letting my inhibitions get the better of me. When bringing the issue to her attention I was fidgety, gazing all over the room, not looking straight at her.
Then the tone in my voice weakened and my stomach began to get ‘queasy’. The other manager, identifying my submissive behaviour, expressed her anger by raising her tone. It is interesting to note that in feedback from my staff, I am seen as assertive (see appendix1, Other Questionnaire). While in feedback from my boss (see appendix 2- My Boss) and a person from the IT Department (see Appendix 2- IT Personnel), it is identified that this is one of my weaker areas.
Assertive Behaviour Guirdham (1995, p. 221) as cited in the MSD textbook (2002, p.317) states, ‘Acting assertively means holding a steady middle course between the two extremes of over- submission and aggression. It is because the two alternatives are so undesirable that assertiveness is worth working for’. Due to my introvert nature, I exhibit very good listening and observing skills, as was supported by the feedback received from all parties (see Appendix 1- other questionnaire). Recently (see Appendix 4 PDJ 2) it came to my attention that an employee was not carrying out all her duties.
I realized from her body language, her inability to look straight at me and her tone and inability to answer, that she was embarrassed and her other colleagues were looking on. I took her feelings into consideration and asked her to accompany me to my office to continue our conversation. I sat facing her and in a calm but firm tone expressed my concern and issued a deadline for the work to be updated. When I allow my listening and observing skills to guide my action instead of my thinking profile, I am able to take the other person’s emotion into consideration before acting/ reacting.
Influencing Influencing people is another issue which I need to pay some attention to since; it will be an asset in my interaction with both internal and external parties. As cited in the summary to chapter11 in the MSD textbook (2002, p. 373) “Influencing is a process whereby some form of ‘pressure’ is applied to change other people’s attitudes or behaviours. ” Although my preferred Belbin role as a monitor evaluator implies that I may lack the drive or ability to inspire others.
My strong analytical / logical ability, which is a characteristic of my plant role and MBTI(r) profile of INTP, can have a stronger impact on behaviour and my ability to influence people (see Appendix 4 PDJ 4). In this situation I sat back and listened actively to all parties, making appropriate sounds such as ‘UH HUH’ and ‘YES’ to indicate that I was listening and understanding. I also summarized main points to ensure that I understood their contribution. I then tried to reason with the individual, asking questions and calmly pointing out if the situation were reverse how they may have felt.
In the above situation I have been able to influence the individuals however, it should be noted that according to the feedback received (see Appendix 2- Emotional Competence Assessment) I am seldom able to influence people. The situation discussed earlier, the confrontation with another manager (see Appendix 4 PDJ3) may have been avoided if I was successful in influencing the manager on a prior occasion (see Appendix 4 PDJ 5). Previously, I stated during a conversation with the manager that I would appreciate it if she directs all queries to the payables department, in a weak, by- the- way tone.
I also used apologetic language when trying to make my point. Managing conflict Huczynski and Buchanan (2001, p. 770), cited MSD textbook (2002, p. 359) define conflict as: “Conflict is a process which begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something the first party cares about … Typically, conflicts are based upon differences in interests and values, when the interests of one party come up against the different interests of another. ”
Conflict may arise in many different situations within the organization; one such instance is seen in Appendix 4 PDJ 4, where conflict among the staff was brewing. By actively listening and questioning the individuals, I was trying to get them to identify the problems themselves. Once the problem had been identified, in a relieved tone I thanked them for being honest and I directed questions specifically at the individuals to get their views on how we may be able to improve the situation in the department. We worked together to come to an agreement.
I exhibited a collaborating conflict- handling style in the above situation according to Thomas (1976) model of conflict handling style; sourced Whetton and Cameron (2002, p. 359) (cited MSD textbook 2002, p. 365). My preferred Belbin role as a team worker, identified earlier, is in line with the above characteristics. It should be noted that from feedback received from the 10 staff members (see Appendix 1) 62. 5% thought that I sometimes exhibit conflict management competences.
While, in the face- to- face interview with my boss (see Appendix 2) he indicated, “…not being able to comment on your ability to manage conflict, could be interpreted that you are capable in this area since, you have to manage conflict within your department but I never have to get involved in this area to sort out any problems. ” Leadership Every manager must posses some leadership qualities in order to perform their duties effectively. One definition of leadership put forward by Tannenbaum et al. (1959) as cited in the MSD textbook (2002, p. 419) states, ‘[Leadership is] interpersonal influence exercised in a situation and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of specialized goal or goals.
‘ In the situation described in Appendix 4 PDJ 4 I assumed a ‘consulting style’ of leadership as identified by Tannenbaum and Schmidt’s terminology on page 429 on the MSD textbook (2002). I listened actively; summarizing the issues raised by the particular individuals, and encouraged communication by directing specific questions to the other individuals. However, as Gillen (2002, p. 146) suggest, “Using only one leadership style is a bit like a stopped clock: it will be right twice a day but, the rest of the time, it will be inaccurate to varying degrees.
Leaders need to interact with their team in different ways in different situations. This is what we mean by ‘Leadership style'”. As is evident in PDJ 2, Appendix 4, I exhibited a ‘telling style’ of leadership, in a firm tone I set specific deadlines and indicated clearly what I expected of her within the time limit specified. The feedback received from all parties indicated that I have good leadership qualities (see Appendix1 and 2); this can also be supported by my Belbin profile which implies that I possess strategic leadership qualities (see Appendix 3).
Summary of Interpersonal Strengths and Limitations Strengths My strength is apparent in the first order interpersonal skills. Due to my introvert nature I am a very good listener, sitting back and not interrupting the speaker, asking questions where I am not clear and summarizing the points made by the speaker to ensure that I understood the point they were making. These behavioural characteristics translate into strengths in the area of observing and questioning. My strong analytical ability also complements these skills, making me even stronger in these areas.
These strengths in my first order interpersonal skills provide the foundation for my strengths in the areas of leadership, managing conflict and influencing people. My strength in communication skills and giving and receiving feedback also complement these skills. Limitations My strong analytical/ logical ability leads to an inability to take other people’s emotion into consideration, and I tend to be very abrupt in these instances and state my opinion in a cold tone. I have the tendency to use sarcasm in instances when I don’t think it is necessary for me to take the other party’s feelings into consideration.
My introvert nature, which facilitates my strength in listening, has a negative impact on my assertive qualities. Due to my shy, reserved nature and my natural soft spoken tone people see me as non- assertive in certain instances. When faced with conflict my natural tendency is to back away, I lower my voice, become fidgety, gaze all over the room and do not keep eye contact with the other party and sit or stand at a distance. Priority Interpersonal Needs My priority interpersonal need is to develop assertive behaviour.
I find that I am able to exhibit assertive behaviours with people that I am accustomed to dealing with, such as family, friends and members of my staff. When it comes to dealing with other managers, especially those who have been employed with the company for some time, and strangers; I need to develop my ability in this area. Assertive behaviour is necessary, to move from my current managerial position to a directorship position. I believe that I possess all the other qualities that are needed in a job of this caliber.
Development Plan My main objective over the next couple months is to improve my assertive behaviour. As identified in Appendix 5, I will meet with my boss and indicate my desire to prepare the quarterly budgets. I will discuss the reason for wanting to get involved in this project, with him thus, making him aware of my development plan and objectives. I will procure additional feedback from him and the IT manager as it relates to my current behaviours and ask them to observe my interactions with them and others over the period.
I will also meet with members of my staff in two months, to enquire if they perceive any change in my behaviour. Since, they indicated in feedback (see Appendix 2) that I needed to be more assertive when dealing with other managers. Summary This has been quite an interesting assignment. I have had quite a revelation. Since, I always thought that I had to work on my communication skills but I now realize that assertiveness is the bigger issue for me. I will use the feedback received to improve my effectiveness as a manager thus, ensuring my ability to achieve my career goal of becoming a director of this company.