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Managing your professional performance Essay

1.0 INTRODUCTION
Personal development planning (PDP) is a process undertaken by an individual to reflect upon their own development in a purposeful way through learning and experience. (Jackson, 2001) Everyone has desires and aspirations in life. To go about achieving goals and success in one’s life, it is vital to jump start and implement a very own personal and professional development plan. Every individual will have their own interpretation of personal development. For me, it is a lifelong personal growth and learning progress not only in building on self awareness and enhancing on skills and professions but also to achieve spiritual growth.

2.0 ANALYSE PERCEIVED DEVELOPMENT NEEDS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MODULE

2.1 Personal Vision and Mission Vision Statement: “To become an effective and respected General Manager in the hospitality industry; helping to enhance the performance and continuous improvement within the business and extending excellence service to the customers.”

Mission Statement: “I will strive hard to work my way up the ladder with continuous learning and development of knowledge, skills and experiences and at the same time, maintaining good work ethics and relationships with people around me.”

MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

Philosophy: I always believe that if one does not have the passion towards something, one won’t achieve success in it. We may be inspired to do something, but to be successful in what we are doing requires great effort and determination. Just like the saying from Thomas Alva Edison (1929 cited in Sommers 2012, p184) – “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. If no effort is put in, there’s just no way that we can achieve success in life.

2.2 Status
When I have chosen hospitality as my career, I knew it is a field that differs from the others which it requires not only basic hospitality knowledge and skills but also industry experience. Therefore, along with my studies I have held several part time positions as a waitress, promoter, sale executive and even a part time tuition teacher to gain career-related experience. As soon as I completed my diploma studies, I undergo my industrial training and continue on as a full time employee working as a guest experience executive with Le Meridien Hotel before I further my degree in order to gain broader knowledge and real-world experiences.

Throughout these years so much has happened. Everyday I’m facing with new challenges and obstacles in work, with many ups and downs. I have learned to be patient; looking at things from different perspective and creatively dealing with different types of human being. All these working experiences have developed me a sense of competence and build up my self-esteem. Also, I’m more aware of the attitudes, skills and experiences that required for further career development and seizing the opportunity to gain insight and learn more about myself.

MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

2.3 Self Assessment
I have made an assessment of my own personality and capabilities in certain key skill areas in order to anlayse my strengths and weaknesses as well as to review on the gaps that I could further enhance for my long-term career prospects. (a) Personality

Personality test is vital in helping me to understand my inner self and review on areas that could be improved for better self development to achieve future career success. I have taken the big five personality tests which could review on my level of sociability, friendliness, work ethic, calmness and creativity. (Please refer to appendix 1 – The Big Five Model of Personality) The result indicated that I am a person who is well organised, relatively social and tends to consider the feelings of others. However, weak in handling emotions and tend to be conventional.

(b) Career Motivation According to Robbins (2001 cited in Tan and Amna 2011, pp73-94), motivation is a needs-satisfying process, which means individuals will strive to achieve goals when their needs are satisfied by certain factors. It is highly important for me to understand my career motivation in order to achieve a more fulfilling and productive career. And based on the career motivation test that I have taken, I realized for me to ensure a long term job satisfaction; my career motivational needs are recognition and long-term reward. (Please see appendix 2 – Career Motivation Test) This enables me to reflect and decide on the type of organisation

My ex-manager exercises a range of leadership approaches as shown in the table above and deploys them appropriately according to different situations. Instead of practicing only one or few of the leadership approaches, her way of leading and levels of control towards the team is moving along the continuum which from being an autocratic leader to a democratic leader.

MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

3.1.4 Different Styles and Different Stages When I first joined in the organisation, I was really not used to her way of managing as I was being ordered and instructed on things to do without having the freedom to do according to my way. Whenever I questioned on the task that I was performing, her reply is always the same – “Just follow and do whatever I told you, soon you will understand why.” Until a period where I saw other teams were doing the same tasks as mine but different way of performing; and they ended up screwing up the tasks made me realized her intention was to train me on the right way of doing things.

After gaining some period of working experience, she presented a list of suggestions and solutions; and allowed me decide on my own based on my analysis and past experience. And as soon as she had faith on me and the
team and having confidence in our abilities, she allowed us to develop ideas and decide on action to be taken.

As in overall, when the team is immature or new, she will practice the styles more towards to the left-hand side of the spectrum. By contrast, when the team is skilled and motivated, she will practice the styles that are more towards to the right-hand side of the spectrum. Her shifting in leadership styles from being autocratic to democratic at different stages has inspired me and made me understand that a great leadership is not necessary to be consistent with the forms of leadership, but being able to apply the right style at the right situation.

ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

and influence followers’ perceptions, and eventually smooth the path in achieving common goals.

3.1.6 Conclusion
I truly believe that there is no one “best” style of leadership. Different leaders will have their own interpretation of what is called a good leader and with different approaches to leadership. To me, to be a good leader, first is to become a good follower, which I truly agree with the saying from Mark Wagner (2010) – “Great Followers make the Best Leaders”. In my opinion, a great leader needs to be developed through experience and learning; learned from observation, listening, hearing and doing. A leader may be is naturally born, but a great leader is definitely made.

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ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

3.2 COMMUNICATION (Activity 4)
Communication is a simple yet complex activity in which can be defined as a twoway process of reaching mutual understanding through verbal or nonverbal means. (Business Dictionary, n.d.) It is an important facet of life which plays a vital role not only in personal interactions but also in business communication.

3.2.1 Importance of Effective Communication
In the daily personal interactions, effective communication could help oneself to deliver the information along and get the desired respond or need. It could also help to build up good relationships with the people around through better understanding and avoiding from arguments and misunderstandings. Effective communication could also build up individual’s’ self-esteem as they are able to present themselves well and express their thoughts and feelings.

Effective communication is also a key to success for every organisation, leader, manager, and employee. It is vital for an organisation to build or strengthen the relations with internal and external stakeholders and ultimately, achieving business goals and missions. Following table highlights the importance of effective communication in business:

Consideration

Understands human nature

Emphasize positive pleasant facts, visualizing reader or listener’s problems, desires, emotions and responses.
ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

Courtesy

Strengthen relations Not only thinks about receiver but also valuing his or her feelings. Use polite word and gestures, being appreciative, thoughtful, tactful, showing respect. Source: Managementstudyguide.com, 2012

3.2.3 Reflection
Throughout this activity, I found out that it wasn’t easy to get everyone to be in the same level of understanding of the information that I have been delivered. Different people tend to have different interpretation and understanding towards my explanation of the visual ‘poster’. I was struggling in expressing my own thoughts and ideas effectively towards the entire class. Also, I realized the same scenario happened in my previous workplace when I was expressing or explaining something to different people. My words are often misinterpreted or misunderstood; and eventually lead to ineffective job performance. My weakness in delivering message is causing me great difficulty to communicate effectively especially in the workplace.

Out of the 7C’s above, I realized I am somehow lack of the 2 C’s – completeness and concreteness. I often simplify my expressed thoughts and ideas without any further explanation and supporting facts. Perhaps this is the issue which leads to the misinterpretations due to having an unclear and ineffective communication. Therefore, it is essential for me to look into how I could craft effective communications and further develop on my communication skills.

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3.2.4 Communication Skills The act of communicating involves verbal and nonverbal components. (Rod and Suzanne, n.d.) Both of these components are interrelated which are vital to deliver clear and concise messages; and receive correct and understand messages sent by the others. Therefore, these two aspects of communication skills should be enhanced as a whole to ensure effective communication.

(a) Verbal
Verbal communication includes both oral and written communications. (Rod and Suzanne, n.d.) There are numerous verbal communication skills such as speak with confidence, think before you speak, don’t talk too much and so on. And, I found it that there are certain verbal skills that I could enhance and
worth mastering based on my communication weaknesses, which are:

(i) Learn the art of listening
Listening someone effectively enable us to gain valuable information and greater understanding of the others’ point of view. One of the key improvements that I would require is to stay focus or pay attention on the message delivered to gain a deeper understanding of another’s thoughts. Remain clearheaded is also another key area that I need to further enhance by truly listen to someone’s perception and controlling emotions when it comes to sensitive and emotional topic.

(ii) Be clear and concise
I should avoid wordy expressions and learn to choose my words; state out my point of views as clear as possible and as briefly and succinctly as possible. I Page 25 of

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should train on this daily while communicating with family members, friends, colleagues and relatives; and gain feedbacks from them for better improvement.

(b) Nonverbal
Nonverbal communication can be described using body languages which involve facial expression, body movement, gestures, eye contact, voice, space and more. (Rod and Suzanne, n.d.) Following are the list of tips that could help me in enhancing my nonverbal communication skills:

Always make eye contact while communicating with people. Exhibit appropriate facial expressions and affirmative head nods. Avoid distracting gestures and actions. Be mindful of personal space while communicating. Do not invade personal space by getting too close or confuse communication by being too far away.

Source: IILM, 2012, p90

3.2.5 Conclusion
Communication is not just a simple daily activity but it comes together with skills and techniques where individuals need to learn and acquire them in order to perform daily tasks and work effectively. To me, it is the most highly valued skill out of all professional skills as it plays a vital role in all aspects of personal and professional lives that would last for a lifetime.

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ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

4.0 DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
A personal action plan is a detailed schedule of key activities which set by an individual in order to accomplish personal goals. (Carnes, 2010) Based on my vision and mission statements as well as the identified development needs, I have set a list of goals to be achieved into short-medium terms in the next fifteen years; starting from year 2013 till 2027.

4.1 FIVE-YEAR ACTION PLAN
Plan period: From 2013 to 2017 (Age 22 to 26)
Goals to be achieved:
1. To be a Front Office Manager I have got two years working experience as a guest experience executive in the hotel industry and several part time working experiences in the related fields. My next stage will be looking forward to be a front office supervisor; and then strive hard to work my way up to the next level which is to be a front office manager within these five years.

2. To travel every year Ever since I finished primary school, I have not been to anywhere out of the country, as I am committed to my study and work. And to be frank, I can’t really remember when is the last time I traveled, most probably is when I was in the age of 12. I want to turn this around; and I want to go on vacation or travel abroad every year to gain a different perspective of the world.

Lifetime

ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

 From industry expertise, managers, supervisors and colleagues through sharing of industry knowledge and experiences.
Personal Observations and Experiences
 The daily working experiences also known as the firsthand experiences enable me to gain awareness and up-todate hospitality-related service and knowledge.

Year 1 – 2013 (Age 22)
Basically my plan in 2013 is to return to my previous workplace right after I finished my degree course in between April to May. I have been offered a
position by my ex-manager, working as a guest experience supervisor or called it as a front office supervisor starting in June. Throughout the whole year, I have planned to take different training programmes or courses to overcome my weaknesses, enhance my professional skills, gain additional knowledge, build up self esteem and develop self competencies.

The examples of training programmes include the “360-Degree Leadership Skills” training course, “Creativity, Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making” training course, and “Personal and Professional Effectiveness” training workshop. Also, I am seeking for work-life balance, and I will plan for at least an oversea trip probably in the year-end; which it is also one of my personal goals.ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

Year 2 to 5 – 2014 – 2017 (Age 23 to 26 )
These four years are going to be hectic years as I will be striving hard to work my way up to the next position level. I will apply for Starwood Leadership Development Programme which is a hands-on-three-year training programme to prepare myself to be a future leader; enhancing every aspect of my personal and professional skills, knowledge and experiences.

From time to time, I will also keep myself up-to-date of the hospitality or related industry knowledge through a wide variety of resources as listed in the action plan. I will also constantly look up for courses or training programmes to help me to further improving my professional skills and knowledge. And hopefully by 2017, I could achieve my first career goal which is to be a front office manager; utilizing my skills, knowledge and experiences gained to help the organisation in enhancing the performance and continuous improvement within the business.

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4.2 TEN-YEAR ACTION PLAN
Plan Period: From 2018 to 2027 (Age 27-36)
Goals to be achieved:
1. To be a Director of Rooms Division (By Year 2022, Age 31) My next goal to be achieved after being a Front Office Manager is to be a Director of Rooms Division after five years. I planned to apply for cross training or internal transfer programme to the housekeeping department for at least two years to learn and get more exposure about the overall rooms operation.

2. To be a Hotel Manager (By Year 2027, 36)
My next goal to be achieved after being a Director of Rooms Division is to be a Hotel Manager after five years; before moving forward to the next position level which is the General Manager. I planned to gain experience and exposure to all hotel departments and different functions to gain more in-depth knowledge and integrated experience of how the entire hotel operates. 3. To get a Master’s Degree (By Year 2019, Age 28)

Also, one of my ten-year goals is to earn a Master’s Degree on a part-time basis to acquire broader knowledge and skills to keep myself a competitive edge over the others. Keeping me on the edge of developments with constant professional skills improvement and keeping industry knowledge up to date is also one of my life time plans.

Personal Observations and Experiences The daily working experiences also known as the firsthand experiences enable me to gain awareness and up-todate hospitality-related service and knowledge. Cross Training Programme – Housekeeping Department

ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

Year 1 to 5 – 2018 – 2022 (Age 27 to 31)
Basically my plan after achieving my first career goal is to get a Master’s Degree major in hospitality management on a part-time basis over two years duration. This enables me to stay competitive in the industry as there is a growing in demand for higher education qualifications in the hospitality industry especially for the higher level positions. Also, I will participate in certain soft skills training programmes or courses to further improve and enrich myself such as stress management and emotional intelligence training workshops. Constantly updating the industry knowledge through a variety of sources is also one of my to-do-lists to keep myself stay alert about the industry changes, spot threats and opportunities early on, and make better business decisions.

After planning to work for two years as a front office manager, I plan to get myself involved in cross training programme in housekeeping department to gain integrated experience and knowledge on how the entire room division operates.

This can be an important stepping stone for me to move onto the next career level. Besides, I will also take up the Certified Professional Coach (CPC) Programme to enhance my mentoring and coaching skills to elevate myself to become a better leader. This programme not only able to help me to become better coaches in my own professional and personal lives but at the same time also improving better cross functional interaction and efficiency in the organisation. And expecting by 2022; all the plans, efforts and determination that I have put in could help me in achieving my second career goal in life which is to be a Director of Rooms Division.

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Year 6 to 10 – 2023 – 2027 (Age 32 to 36)
Gaining integrated experience in all hotel departments through cross training programme is going to be my next plan after being a Director of Rooms Division. This cross training is going to take about three years duration to six different departments with six months each which include food and beverage, security, engineering, sales and marketing, finance and revenue, and human resource departments. This programme is extremely important for me in achieving my next career goal as it enables me to expose, learn and gain an in-depth knowledge and experience on how the entire hotel runs. And expecting by 2027, I could achieve my third career goal in life which is to be a Hotel Manager.

Other than just focusing on maximizing my career achievement, I also aim to buy a home latest by 2024 in the age of 33 and build up a happy and healthy family. Not to forget also to ensure a balance of my work life; go on vacation or travel abroad probably in every year-end to relax and gain a different perspective of the world.

4.3 Contingency Plan
Reviewing on the action plans regularly is essential to keep track of my progress in achieving my personal and professional goals. However, situations may change at times due to sudden or unexpected circumstances or perhaps desires may change as time goes by. Therefore, adjusting goals and
plans are necessary when the situation calls for it. Following are the contingency plans of the five and ten years development plans by identifying the possible breakdowns: Page 37 of 41

ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

1. Extension of Timeframe
An extension of time is essential when the goals are unable to be achieved within the timeframe perhaps due to unexpected circumstances. For example, my aim to purchase a house by the age of 33 might need to be extended in the case that I am facing financial difficulties at that moment. The cross training programme to all hotel departments might also need to be extended from three years to four years if I can’t gain my desired result and knowledge from all the departments within the targeted timeframe.

2. Seek consultation from industry expertise
Seeking advice and consultation from industry expertise such as managers and directors is required if I don’t gain the desired or enough skills and knowledge from the training programmes and workshops. Often the view, opinion, experience and knowledge share by the expertise could help me to gain a better insight into the required skills development.

3. Online Professional Development
Taking up online development courses are my backup plan instead of attending training programmes or workshops during the case of having limited time in completing a thousand of tasks in daily life; causing me couldn’t fulfill my development plans within the targeted timeframe. This backup plan would be more flexible and convenient for me especially in a hectic working environment. However, I would still prefer participating in training workshops as I will get the chance to get involved in a variety of activities such as role plays, group Page 38 of 41

ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

dynamics, games and more; which could help me in gaining a better
understanding and insight of the professional skills development.

4.4 Future Plan
My next career aim after being a Hotel Manager for about five years length of duration is looking forward to become an effective and respected General Manager in the hospitality industry which is also my vision in life. My career development will not just stop at this stage after achieving my vision; but will continue on to set another vision and goals to be accomplished in the rest of my life.

I will continue to emphasize on maximizing my career potential and achievement through ongoing development of professional skills, knowledge and experience. Besides taking up different skills training courses and participating in training programmes to further enhance and enrich myself, I will also seek advice from the industry experts to achieve a better result in career achievement. Not to forget also to constantly reviewing and evaluating the action plan and self development; and look for ways to further enhance personal and professional performance.

Besides, one of my future plans is also to contribute to the best of my ability towards the community not only on behalf of the organisation but also for my own sake. Example of contributions include participating or working with the local or international charities and adopting green approaches such as choosing more Page 39 of ILP 333 MANAGING YOUR PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE

environmentally viable alternative power supplies, integrating the consideration of environmental concerns into decision makings, promote environmental awareness, reducing waste through reuse and recycling activities and more.

Conclusion
To me, personal and professional development is a journey that never ends. It is a lifetime and ongoing process in developing professional skills, knowledge and experience as well as in achieving personal and spiritual growth. I truly believe that personal growth and development is completely within my hands which requires not only strong determination and self discipline but also having a positive, can-do attitude and thought that are vital in driving me to success. And based on my philosophy of success, I will definitely put in great effort and determination in everything I do; strive hard to achieve every single goal that I have set in life.

(Word Counts: 1869 Words)

(Total Word Counts: 4184 Words)
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