Personal and Professional Development Essay
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1) This task concerns personal and professional development (1,050 words).
- Summarise the principal concepts and theories of personal and professional development. (300 words with references )
Personal development entails the activities which are meant to enhance self-identity and awareness, building human capital, developing potential and talents, facilitating employability, enhancing the quality of life and directing them towards the realization of aspirations and dreams. On the other hand, professional development entails the aspect of maintaining or learning professional credentials such as attending conferences, academic degrees to formal coursework, as well as informal learning opportunities situated in practice. The principal concept of personal and professional development entails the aspect of ensuring that my knowledge and contemplation of my area of expertise is always at the highest level possible. There are numerous theories of psychological motivation which influence personal and professional development. For example, the Maslow`s hierarchy of needs stipulates the needs that must be met in order for an individual to attain his or her full potential. These needs are organized in a hierarchical manner, and from the bottom to the top, the needs are psychological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs and finally self-actualization (Lee and Hanna, 2015, pp. 129-131). In most cases, the first three needs from the bottom must be met in order for an individual to start pursing personal and professional development. Additionally, Carl Rogers also proposed the personality theory that emphasizes concerning the importance of the self-actualization especially in shaping human personalities. Based on this theory, individuals constantly respond to stimuli with their subjective reality, and they develop a self-concept depending on the feedback that they get from this field of reality (Greene, 2017, pp. 119-126). For example, for my case, I continuously gain self-concept from the feedbacks that I get from taking this academic program. Additionally, the personality theory by Henry Murray stipulates that an individual`s personality is influenced by his or her psychogenic needs such as achievement nurturing and independence (Xu, Mellor and Read, 2017, pp. 1-9). This theory greatly influences an individual to focus on achieving personal and professional development.
- Specify your employment role, describe its responsibilities and specify the particular skills and competencies you possess to perform this role. ( 250 words)
I will be having a myriad of roles when I get employed as a network engineer at CISCO. For example, I will be involved in maintaining networks that have been created by Cisco. Additionally, I will be performing troubleshooting, creating and configuring networks, ensuring network security, and providing network support. Additionally, as a network engineer, I will be updating network equipment in order for the clients to be experiencing the latest firmware releases in a timely manner. Moreover, I will be designing and implementing new network solutions as well as enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the current networks. I will also be installing, supporting and configuring network tools such as proxy servers, routers, WAN accelerators, switches, among others. Consecutively, I will be procuring network equipment as well as managing individuals who will be contracted for network installation. Subsequently, I will be investigating faults in the network, reporting the status of the network to the stakeholders as well as organizing for the scheduled upgrades.
However, in order to secure this position, there are a number of core skills and competencies that I must possess. For example, I must have a degree in either computer science, computer software or systems engineering, computer systems and networks, electrical engineering or something equivalent and possess strong documentation skills. Additionally, I must have high ability to follow processes, ability to learn new technologies, an analytical mind, adequate business and commercial awareness, and good communication skills (both verbal and written). Consecutively, I should have high ethical skills.
- Describe your current personal performance objectives and how these are set and monitored as part of an appraisal system.(250 words)
I have a number of personal performance objectives that I have set and ready to accomplish. For example, I am anticipating to enhance my level of productivity and output not only in my academic performances, but also in the organization that I will work with after school. Precisely, I want to ensure that whatever I do I do it perfectly in such a way that it cannot be done in any other better way than what I have done. When I will be employed at Cisco, I will ensure that I impact the overall performance of this organization through my exemplary performance. My intentions is to ensure that after years of serving within this facility, I will leave a mark or a track record of exemplary performance. Additionally, I am working around the clock to ensure that I minimize my level of making mistakes as well as reducing wastes. One way of enhancing my production is by using the limited resources that I have (such as time) more efficiently and effectively. Subsequently, in order to minimize my mistakes, I need to master what I do in order to do it the best. Additionally, I need to enhance my collaborative skills in order to not only manage to learn from others, but also appreciate what others are doing. I perfectly understand that working as a team and with diverse individuals will enable me to improve on what I already know especially when it comes to learning other ways of doing things which might be effective and efficient compared to what I have been doing. Different individuals have different capabilities.
- Describe your employer’s organisational objectives and how these relate to your own performance objectives. ( 250 words)
CISCO aims at enhancing customer satisfaction by ensuring that the products and services that it offers to its clients do not only meet the customers` needs but also exceeds their expectations. The company achieves this by ensuring that it allocates adequate resources for the same including hiring individuals who have the necessary skills and knowledge base. This organizational objective relate to my performance objective in such a way that I ensure that I gain the necessary knowledge and skills in network engineering. Additional, I do contemplate that customers loyalty plays a fundamental role in as far as the success of an organization is concerned. Moreover, CISCO aims at achieving innovation and that is why it encourages creativity among its employees. The management of this company facilitates this by ensuring that it allocates substantial funds for research and development, as well as recruiting a diverse workforce. A diverse workforce tends to be a pool of innovation, especially due to the fact that each individual has his or her own way of doing things or capabilities. This objective relates to my performance objectives in that I do contemplate the power of teamwork, especially when it comes to solving problems and brainstorming. Subsequently, CISCO aims at achieving productivity, and it achieves this by motivating employees. When employees are motivated, they perceive themselves as valued assets of the organization, and this motivates them to improve in their level of productivity, as well as enhancing their loyalty to the employer. This relates to my performance objective in that I do believe in fair compensation for the work done.
2) This task concerns acquired interpersonal and transferable skills (300 words).
- a) Summarise the principal concepts and theories of interpersonal and transferable skills.
Competency is one of the concept that relates to interpersonal and transferable skills. It relates to having the necessary skills and knowledge of performing a given task. The principal of scientific management also facilitates effectiveness and efficiency in executing organizational tasks.
- b) Describe how you effectively communicate in your employer organisation.
I will communicate with my employer through the laid protocols such as emails, face to face, phone calls and messages, social media platforms among others.
- c) Describe the interpersonal skills you use in your employer organisation.
There are a number of interpersonal and transferable skills that I have acquired. For example, I have acquired good communication skills, and this will enable me to perfectly engage with the other employees within CISCO, the top management, and more importantly, with the customers of this organization. With this skill, I will manage to clearly understand the tasks that are presented before me and execute them effectively. Additionally, I have acquired skills of leading others in a group (teamwork skills). Through these skills, I will manage to lead any team that I will mandated to work with, in order to get the desired results. I also have adequate technical skills, especially in network engineering, and with this skill, I will manage to deliver the best in every task that will be presented before me. Consecutively, I have also acquired organizational skills, and this will enable me to multitask, organize, manage, and coordinate activities and individuals within the organization, in order to ensure that the set organizational goals and objectives are achieved within the set duration and budget.
- d) Describe how you manage your time in your employer organisation
I will manage time by devising a timetable or plan on the tasks that I ought to execute and at what time. I will also ensure that I report to work on time in order to ensure that I start and complete the scheduled tasks within the allocated time.
3) This task concerns the dynamics of working with others (300 words).
- a) Summarise the principal concepts and theories of the dynamics of working with others.
One of the theories of the dynamics of working with others is the team role theory by Dr. Meredith Belbin. In this theory, Dr. Belbin stipulated that individuals within a team tends to assume different roles including action oriented roles, people oriented roles and thought oriented roles. Developing a dynamic team also entails a number of stages, as stipulated by Bruce Tuckman in the team development theory. These stages are not limited to forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. A team functions best when each of the team member takes his or her role seriously.
- b) Describe how you work with others in your employer organisation.
I will work with others by respecting them in terms of their cultural beliefs, their physical characteristics, and more importantly, their views, opinions and contribution towards the betterment of the team and the organization as a whole. I will hold a positive attitudes towards them, as this will also sensitized them to do the same to me. Additionally, I will be honest and straightforward to them, by telling them what I can manage to do and what I can`t especially when it comes to the execution of the organizational tasks. Moreover, I will work with others by being reliable, minding the language I use to them, and being fair to each of the team member or workmate. Additionally, I will be complementing to work well done, as this motivates an individual to improve on his or her performance or contribution to the team.
- c) Describe the teams and how these are built in your employer organisation
CISCO teams are built in a fair and equitable way. Precisely, competent and average employees are integrated in one team in order for the latter to get an opportunity to learn from the former. The company avoids a situation where the competent employees are placed in one group and the average employees in another group. Additionally, teams that are built in this company are diverse, especially due to the fact that the employees are entirely diverse as well.
4) This task concerns developing strategies for problem solving (750 words).
- a) Summarise the principal concepts and theories of problem solving.
There are a myriad of principal concepts and theories relating to problem solving. For example, Bransford and Stein developed the IDEAL concept of solving problems. This concept is an abbreviation that stands for identifying the problem, defining the goals, exploring possible solutions, action (choose and use a solution), and learning from your actions (García et al., 2016, pp. 143-149). Identifying the problem entails differentiating facts from opinions, specifying the underlying causes, consulting each faction lived for information and determining the process in which the problem lies. Defining goals entails establishing what one wants to happen exploring possible solutions encompasses aspects such as the possible solutions and selecting the best solution from the list provided. Action entails choosing and implementing the very best solution from the list of possible solutions, while learning from the actions entails evaluating whether the selected action is working or not. Additionally, the Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa developed the fishbone diagram in order to help avoid implementing solutions which only addresses the symptoms of a much bigger problem. The fishbone diagram is developed when individuals come together and brainstorm all the possible causes of a problem, rate the potential causes in terms of their level of importance and come up with a diagram relating to these potential causes (Clary and Wandersee, 2010, p. 31). Additionally, this diagram works right to left, with each large ‘bone’ of the fish branching out to include smaller bones containing more detail.
- b) Describe a significant problem that has arisen within the employment role of your employer organisation.
One of the problem that I have ever occurred to me as a network engineer in CISCO was network going down and even after checking all the transmissions and equipment that had been installed in order to facilitate the quality of the network were all perfect. I remember I had checked everything, and I found nothing substantial that could have contributed to the poor network. The most interesting part is that everyone else had thought I am the only one who could have helped in correcting the situation, especially due to my experience and knowledge when it comes to solving network issues within this company.
- c) Describe the process you used to specify the problem.
In order to specify the problem, we analysed the time that the network started to be poor. This is followed by the activities that were being conducted. In addition, we checked whether the problem is coming from the installation of the network or the connection, as this stand as the focal point of establishing the causes of the problem.
- d) Describe how you identified possible solutions.
I identified the problem by brainstorming from the other workmates. Precisely, I called upon the other workmates to give ideas concerning what might have been the causes of the network failure. Each individuals was free to raise his or her point and an explanation concerning what makes him or her to think his idea is justified. It is worth noting that each of the contribution that every individual raised was being highly valued, especially due to the fact that every one of us was stranded concerning why the problem existed. However, I sat down with a pen, writing down all the possible ideas that were being raised, and them proceeding to implement them.
- e) Describe the tools and methods you used to solve the problem.
In order to come up with the best solution towards the network failure at CISCO Company, we used a number of methods and tools. For example, we used the elimination method, whereby when a team member raises an idea concerning the possible solution to the problem, we used to proceed and try whether the raised solution will work. Additionally, we used the fishbone diagram especially by brainstorming the possible causes and solutions to the problem.
- Draw a Fishbone diagram for the problem you have specified and comment on its suitability as a method.
- Describe how you planned and implemented a solution.
After brainstorming the possible solutions concerning the network failure, I wrote down the possible causes of this problem. The thing is that I divided the possible solutions into two categories, some on the right side and others on the left side. I started with the major causes on each side, and then proceeded to the smaller causes on the far end of the fishbone diagram. It is worth noting that at this situation, I did not under-estimate any possible solution that was raised, especially due to the fact that even the least that one could not have expected could turn out to be the solution to this challenge. It is at this point we came to realize that the network failure was due to the overload of the activities that were being run at that time.
- Describe how you evaluated the problem’s solution.
I evaluated this solution by reducing the overload in the website and checking whether the network is coming back to its normal speed, and this worked.
5) This task concerns communication skills (300 words).
- a) Summarise the principal concepts and theories of communication including making oral and written presentations, conducting interviews and conducting meetings.
There are numerous models of communication and oral and written presentations is one of them. Oral presentations entails using word of mouth to demonstrate to others concerning a given concept or topic. This model is important since it enables a person to use non-verbal signs such as facial expressions, eye movements and pointing with fingers in order to emphasize an idea or concept. Written presentation entails the aspect of presenting and compiling ideas on a paper or slide. Conducting interviews embraces the use of oral and written forms of communication in order to gather the relevant information regarding the competency of the person being interviewed. Consecutively, conducting meetings also requires the use of both oral and written forms of communication, especially due to the fact that it calls for demonstrations, writing of minutes, and discussion of the main agendas.
- b) Reflecting on your own personal communication experiences involving presentations, interviews and meetings, describe how your actual communications compared to the concepts ad theories. Highlight any differences between the theories and your current practice.
Initially, I thought the aspect of preparing presentations, conducting interviews and meeting requires the use of oral presentations such as face to face interaction. I never considered written forms of communications as effective when used in aforementioned situations. Actually, I have ever been involved in meetings before, but I wrote nothing despite having been provided with writing materials. However, I have come to contemplate that oral and written forms of communication are effective especially when they have been integrated while holding meetings or interviews.
- c) Discuss whether you have learned anything new from the various concepts and theories that could be used to your advantage in future communications of the various forms specified above.
I have learned new ideas from the various concepts and theories regarding communication, and I will use them in future. For example, I have learnt the importance of integrating both oral and written forms of communication in making a presentation, conducting interviews and meetings. Additionally, I have learnt the importance of using non-verbal forms of communication such as body language and facial expressions while holding meetings or interviews. Non-verbal forms of communication can help an individual to learn whether the audience or the person interacting with have clearly understood the message based on how he or she uses them.
6) This task concerns learning styles (300 words).
- a) Summarise the principal concepts, theories and models of learning and learning styles.
There are a number of theories and models of learning and learning styles. One of the learning models that has been hailed as effective is the Dunn and Dunn model. This model entails two broad activities, which are not limited to identifying the individual learning styles as well as planning and implementing learning activities that accommodates the student`s individual learning strengths (Güneş and Şahin, 2018, pp. 1-16). Precisely, this model stipulates that for the learner to clearly contemplate what he or she is being taught, the facilitator must ensure that he understands the strengths of the former and incorporate them in the teaching process. In this model, there are about 21 areas that the student can be having strengths in when it comes to learning, and some of these areas are not limited to sound, environment, light, time, perception, responsibility, motivation, peers and teams, among others. Another learning model is the Kolb`s experiential model, which seeks the importance of seeking individual differences among learners (Güneş and Şahin, 2018, pp. 1-16). This model has four main learning processes, which are not limited to concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. Learning styles are also different ranging from visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary.
- b) Reflecting on your own personal learning style, describe how your learning style compares to the concepts, theories and models of learning. Highlight any differences between the models and your current practice.
My learning style is solitary, especially due to the fact that I like reading while alone. However, I have come to realize that team learning is also important. Integrating between solitary and team learning can be effective to me since I need to learn from others as well. Additionally, I have contemplated that learning is a cycle that entails the aforementioned four processes. For my case, I thought learning ends after school.
- c) Discuss whether you have learned anything new from the various concepts, theories and models of learning that could be used to your advantage in your future learning.
Yes, I have learnt that learning occurs not only at school, but also in the various encounters of life. Additionally, I have learnt that incorporating solitary and team learning is effective, especially due to the fact that an individual gets an opportunity to learn from others as well.
Clary, R. and Wandersee, J., 2010. Fishbone diagrams: Organize reading content with a” bare bones” strategy. Science Scope, 33(9), p.31.
García, T., Rodríguez, C., González-Castro, P., González-Pienda, J.A. and Torrance, M., 2016. Elementary students’ metacognitive processes and post-performance calibration on mathematical problem-solving tasks. Metacognition and Learning, 11(2), pp.139-170.
Greene, R.R., 2017. Carl Rogers and the person-centered approach. In Human behavior theory and social work practice (pp. 119-138). Routledge.
Güneş, G. and Şahin, V., 2018. The algorithm of mathematical modelling for learning styles of pre-school children. Education 3-13, pp.1-16.
Lee, J.M. and Hanna, S.D., 2015. Savings goals and saving behavior from a perspective of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning, 26(2), pp.129-147.
Xu, X., Mellor, D. and Read, S.J., 2017. Taxonomy of Psychogenic Needs (Murray). Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, pp.1-9.