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|What is the core skill? One of my best skills is critical thinking, which refers to my capacity to evaluate information objectively and generate rational judgments. Over the years, I have mastered the intricate art of reflecting upon my lines of thought with the aim of organizing, clarifying, boosting the effectiveness of, and identifying any biases or errors in my thought processes, not only for the mere reason of finding solutions to problems, but also to develop my thinking processes and produce rational, acceptable, and applicable conclusions.|
|Why is this core skill important? (use relevant theories and concepts to support your answer) Developing competence in self-directed, self-monitored, self-corrective, and self-disciplined thinking is vital in virtually all aspects of life, particularly in this new world that is largely dependent on information and technology. The prevailing conditions necessitate one’s ability to address changes swiftly and efficiently, analyze factual information, and incorporate various sources of information into decision-making and problem-solving (Gormley 2017). The drastic changes in today’s world require, not only the ability to generate new ideas, but to provide actionable ideas that are relevant to the tasks at hand. A critical thinker, therefore, can analyze all new ideas and choose the best one, modifying it if need be. Critical thinking is especially important in the workplace because it allows both managerial staff and junior employees to avoid hasty decision-making and to consider the bigger picture by remaining detached from emotions and sudden fluctuations in information. Further, it allows individuals to recognize opportunities for expansion, product development, or diversification, thereby creating competitive advantages for organizations (Haynes et al 2016).|
|How competent are you currently? (use your tool-kit findings, feedback from peers and your tutor, plus your own reflections on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to answer this question) Over the years, I have encountered situations that were either uncertain or confusing. In most of those cases, I always endeavoured to consider all the relevant facts before deciding on a certain course of action. My critical thinking process typically involves breaking down the issues into segments and focussing on each aspect individually, based on a predetermined problem statement, and then finding to root causes of the problems to come up with the paramount solution. In other instances, I try my best to consider the potential outcomes of every judgment before reaching a conclusion, which allows me to avoid making counterproductive, wrong, or self-harming decisions. The basic premise behind every decision that I make is that every action has consequences. A diligent cross-examination of these consequences often allows me to make sound and ethical verdicts.|
|Can you identify any contradictions or allowable weaknesses from your analysis? While critical thinking entails a non-prejudiced approach to issues, emotions often get in the way and interfere with the though process. Typically, decisions that are made by people who are overly excited, sad, remorseful, under pressure prevent individuals from making rational and objective choices that are based on facts. Moreover, some circumstances do not allow for critical thinking due to time or other constraints, thereby compelling individuals to make rush judgments that may have detrimental effects.|
|How will this skill help me in the future? (use references to support your argument) Critical thinking is indispensable in the face of increasing competition due to globalization (Haynes et al 2016). This skill will help me to come up with new ways of creating competitive advantages in my organization. The competency will also be extremely useful in my personal and academic life because I will be able to handle situations without any bias and basing my decisions on facts, which will allow me to avoid unnecessary problems and to solve them amicably when they do arise. Gormley (2017) argues that critical thinking allows people to appreciate different world views by empathizing with other perspectives. This ability will allow me to create and maintain relationships by being accommodative of other people’s opinions.|
|What is the core skill? Frequent interactions with people from diverse backgrounds have allowed me to perfect my communication skills. Accordingly, I can effectively pass messages without causing any misunderstandings or unnecessary conflicts. I always ensure that information is conveyed as received, in both written and verbal forms. In addition, I am also cognizant of the fact that communication entails essential aspects of nonverbal signals, which may have differing connotations depending on the audience. Above all, I am aware that communication does not merely entail transmitting information but also active listening, concision and clarity, friendliness and politeness, open-mindedness, empathy, respect, confidence, and feedback.|
|Why is this core skill important? (use relevant theories and concepts to support your answer) In the present age of globalization, competence in cross- and intercultural communication is an increasingly vital asset. Individuals need to appreciate the differences in cultural settings and connotations to avoid conflicts and ensure that the right messages are conveyed to the right people at the right time and place (Ganguly 2017). Effective communication skills are fundamental in both social and professional environments. According to Ganguly (2017), excellent communicators often have better marriages and families, high self-esteem, high degrees of job satisfaction, more employment opportunities, better wages, and are more integrated in their communities. Additionally, communication competency is a mandatory trait for all leaders and managers in organizational settings and is often a trait of the most successful entrepreneurs (Deming 2017). The manner in which one communicates has an effect on the relationships between the speaker or sender and the listener or recipient consecutively. From an organizational perspective, managers and leaders need to convey information in ways that will be easily understood to avoid ambiguity and ensure the realization of corporate goals. Such communication needs to be authoritative but still friendly enough not to intimidate subordinates and followers. Further, effective communication forms the basis of all relations between an organization and its stakeholders, both internal and external, without whom a company ceases to exist.|
|How competent are you currently? (use your tool-kit findings, feedback from peers and your tutor, plus your own reflections on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to answer this question) Personally, I am convinced that I am an above-average communicator due to my ability to convey messages in ways that can be easily understood, with extremely few cases of conflicts or misunderstandings. My messages are always unadulterated and straight to the point. Indeed, my peers often delegate duties that require communication to me, which mirrors my proficiency in this discipline.|
|Can you identify any contradictions or allowable weaknesses from your analysis? Admittedly, people habitually encounter issues with emotional intelligence, being largely incapable of controlling their emotions or those of others while communicating. Consequently, listeners may form biased perceptions of the speaker, which may encumber the ultimate goal of the process. Moreover, communication in the workplace may be challenge in the face of multicultural teams if individuals are not culturally competent. In such situations, people may be allowed to temporarily disregard come cultural symbols or nonverbal signals, but only in anticipation of their active learning of the same. A particularly challenging task for managers is how to remain authoritative yet friendly when communicating to their subordinates. Choosing the right words to use in such instances is an intricate affair.|
|How will this skill help me in the future? (use references to support your argument) Communication skills are important in business environments. Proficiency in effective communication, particularly cross- and intercultural communication, allows individuals to be proactive and to adapt to diverse business environments, and to understand the effects of hierarchy, formality, and timing on business outcomes (Deming 2017). Communication skills will help me to be better at decision-making, negotiation, and planning. I will also use the skills to create a following in my anticipated role as a leader. Moreover, communication will allow me to relate better with other people and will boost the efficiency of my other skills, including relationship-building and teamwork.|
|What is the core skill? My ability to interact with and function within teams reflects my superior teamwork skills. Essentially, I am always ready and willing to work with other people by offering my skills and strengths to realize a shared goal.|
|Why is this core skill important? (use relevant theories and concepts to support your answer) There is strength in unity. The multiplicity and complexity of tasks in today’s social and business organizations requires the capacity to delegate duties and share workloads (Cheruvelil 2014). Teamwork skills allow people to appreciate their insufficiency at addressing all emerging issues individually and the potential gains from cooperating with others, such as reducing the time, costs, and effort needed to accomplish tasks, as well as increasing efficiency. Moreover, teamwork facilitates learning in that one can grasp new concepts and competencies by aping other members of the team and seeking clarification on complex matters (Deming 2017). Teamwork entails aspects of shared goals, mutual support, encouragement, and cooperation, which generate synergy in the workplace. As such, teamwork skills facilitate the creation of a sense of accomplishment and an incentive for better performance due to individuals’ collective responsibility for business outcomes (Cheruvelil 2014). Finally, teamwork skills allow for the development of structures that support diversity in terms of creativity, thought, opportunities, perspectives, and problem-solving tactics.|
|How competent are you currently? (use your tool-kit findings, feedback from peers and your tutor, plus your own reflections on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to answer this question) Having been involved in various collaborative activities and projects, I have managed to develop my teamwork skills to an admirable degree. More importantly, I have learnt that the success of teamwork activities requires high levels of tolerance, understanding, and patience. In the majority of instances, my peers elect me to be a team leader due to my ability to manage people and delegate tasks equitably.|
|Can you identify any contradictions or allowable weaknesses from your analysis? Being able to cooperate with others does not imply relying wholly on others. Instead, it required equitable contribution to the shared goals. Individuals may decide to relax their efforts because of the misconception that their duties will be handled by other members of the team. Further, being part of a team does not necessarily imply conforming to others’ ideas in complete disregard for one’s own or agreeing to everything that others say. Healthy disagreements are normal aspects of teamwork since they allow for creativity and innovation.|
|How will this skill help me in the future? (use references to support your argument) Teamwork skills are indispensable in the current multidisciplinary world that is characterised by a knowledge economy in which most jobs require frequent interactions with people from differing professions. The capacity to simultaneous deliver superior results individually and in collaboration with others as a team is fundamental to organizational growth and success (Deming 2017). My teamwork skills will help me to contribute meaningfully to my organization and to accomplish goals faster and more effectively. Moreover, I will be able to be flexible and responsive to the changing job requirements, as well as to gain new knowledge from my team members.|
|What is the core skill? Relationship building is yet another of my core skills. By definition, relationship building refers to the creation of mutual connections or affiliations between persons, groups of people, or entities. It entails a progressive process that takes time for people to develop shared understanding as well as the use of interpersonal skills to create effective networks.|
|Why is this core skill important? (use relevant theories and concepts to support your answer) Reliable studies have demonstrated the importance of relationships in all spheres of life, including boosting satisfaction, happiness, as well as physical and emotional health. Fundamentally, close relationships have been shown to have a higher correlation with well-being and happiness than with the possession of material objects and money. According to DuBrin (2014), the mastery of effective relationship-building skills is especially important for employees because it facilitates their ability to engage in fruitful negotiations, meet deadlines, and deliver projects. This skill is important in both business and social circles since relationships can help people to share advice on pressing or challenging matters. Effective relationships are vital for lead generation, such as new clients, and suppliers, as well as in word-or-mouth marketing, whereby new contacts can be referred by the existing satisfied customers.|
|How competent are you currently? (use your tool-kit findings, feedback from peers and your tutor, plus your own reflections on your thoughts, feelings and behaviours to answer this question) By and large, I am still perfecting my relation-building skills but I have made commendable progress on the recent past. I have developed a really large circle of friends and contacts on which I can depend for a variety of reasons. For instance, I have established working relationships with various corporate professionals, some of which I have used to secure internships and hopefully, I will still use them to land interviews for my future career. However, I face a major challenge when approaching new faces due to my shyness and the perceived lack of appropriate opening statements when starting conversations.|
|Can you identify any contradictions or allowable weaknesses from your analysis? Although relationships are vital for human life, there is a tendency for such relationships to evolve into a cycle of dependency. Accordingly, people may tend to rely wholly on their contacts to get tasks done as opposed to being proactive. Further, relationships are typically based on mutual benefits for all parties involved, which may be a challenge when trying to develop affiliations with people in high social or corporate ranks when one party has no much to offer but the promise of commitment, trust, respect, and discipline.|
|How will this skill help me in the future? (use references to support your argument) Relationships are important in business environments. My skills will help me to cultivate beneficial relationships with clients and other corporate stakeholders. According to DuBrin (2014), effective managers and leaders are those that can build string relationships with both external and internal stakeholders, as well as among their subordinates and followers. The skills will also help me to create harmony in my organization and steer people towards a common goal.|
Learning to use one’s talents to the fullest extent increases the chances of success. In the same way, being cognizant of one’s weaknesses and learning to manage them effectively reduces the probability for future challenges and problems (Tattum & Tattum 2017). It is not atypical for individuals to evaluate themselves against their peers or others in their environment, which often leads to feelings of superiority or inferiority depending on one’s strengths and weaknesses. However, people are endowed differently and function according to their strengths and weaknesses. Conducting a personal analysis of both variables allows people to be the best versions of themselves by capitalizing on their strengths and working on developing their weak areas.
From the above reflective journal, it is apparent that I am competent in dealing with people, both individually and in teams, as well as in evaluating situations critically. I am particularly capable of engaging people, cultivating innovation, building others, focussing on outcomes, inspiring with vision, making tough decisions, and identifying opportunities. Based on the trait theory, these features would make me an incredible leader in future because most of these characters are innate as opposed to being learnt, as well as my proficiency in action oriented and people oriented tasks (Tattum & Tattum 2017).
Despite my strengths, I have realized that I have a weakness in thought oriented roles. Even though I believe I am a competent critical thinker and communicator, I have difficulties coming up with new approaches and ideas. I am also poor at monitoring and evaluating other people’s ideas due to my occasional subjectivity and shyness. Moreover, my perceived lack of patience may make me rush others to make decisions or accomplish tasks. I need to focus more on mastering how to create and maintain relationships with people that I rank above me by overcoming my fear of rejection.
|Creativity||I have to improve on my ability to come up with new ideas, particularly when faced with challenges||I will assess any improvements by maintaining a record of all new ideas I develop and evaluating their efficiency at solving problems||Engaging myself in various activities that require innovativeness will help me improve. I will also challenge myself by trying to solve my issues alone in unique ways.||Being more creative will help me to be a better team player by allowing me to contribute more meaningfully to set goals.||I should have made reasonable progress in about six months.|
|Monitoring and Evaluation||I need to overcome my occasional subjectivity||Progress will be assessed through peer feedback. I will ask others to rate the degree to which I demonstrated objectivity in my reasoning.||I will volunteer to monitor and evaluate different activities in school and in my daily life. I could also participate in discussions on national politics and public policies with my peers.||Objectivity is essential for all critical thinkers, effective communicators and team players. It will also help me to maintain healthy relationships without intimidating or offending others.||I expect to have accomplished this goal in the next four months. However, I will endeavour to be impartial in all situations, starting now.|
|Relationship-Building||I have a particular weakness when approaching superior or higher-ranking individuals due to shyness||I will set a goal of meeting and engaging three new corporate personalities and build a beneficial professional relationship with them||Firstly, I will be more involved in public forums and public speaking. Secondly, I will attend as many corporate functions as possible and try to engage as many people as I can.||Being overly shy deters me from contributing meaningfully in teams and undermines my communication skills. Improving in this area will allow me to express myself better||I should have made acquaintances with at least three professionals by the end of March 2018.|
Cheruvelil, K.S., Soranno, P.A., Weathers, K.C., Hanson, P.C., Goring, S.J., Filstrup, C.T. and Read, E.K., 2014. Creating and maintaining high‐performing collaborative research teams: the importance of diversity and interpersonal skills. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 12(1), pp.31-38.
Deming, D.J., 2017. The growing importance of social skills in the labor market. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 132(4), pp.1593-1640.
DuBrin, A.J., 2014. Human relations: Interpersonal job-oriented skills. Pearson Higher Ed.
Ganguly, S., 2017. Action Research to Improve the Communication Skills of Undergraduate Students. IUP Journal of Soft Skills, 11(3), pp.62-71.
Gormley Jr, W.T., 2017. The Critical Advantage: Developing Critical Thinking Skills in School. Harvard Education Press.
Haynes, A., Lisic, E., Goltz, M., Stein, B. and Harris, K., 2016. Moving Beyond Assessment to Improving Students’ Critical Thinking Skills: A Model for Implementing Change. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(4), pp.44-61.
Tattum, D. and Tattum, E., 2017. Social education and personal development. Routledge.
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