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Introduction

Personal and professional development module is an essential part of the risk


management course. I enrolled in this course to get specific knowledge about risk
management so that I can achieve higher position in one of the big construction houses in
the Middle East. But my gain from this course has exceeded my expectations and it can
be attributed to the PPD module. Through this module I have gained skills which will
help me achieve my goals faster.
While I have achieved my new skills during this module but three are worth mentioning
because of the role I expect them to play in my career from now till the end. The first and
foremost is the diversity management skills. Anyone who have worked in the
construction sector in the Middle East would know that it is one of the most diverse
places to work. However, it is different and more challenging from other kind of western
organisations which are probably more diverse in that

most of the work force is

uneducated and come from economically deprived backgrounds. To manage such a


workforce requires unique skills. Second skill that I have mentioned is the leadership
skill. I am seeking a role in a managerial position which will put me on a path to senior
management position. For me to be able to achieve that position I have to demonstrate
right leadership style. It will be essential because my goals in my new position will be
dependent on the performance of my team members and unless I can motivate them to
perform well I will not be able to achieve my goals. Third skill I have mentioned is the
career development. This was my primary goal when I joined the risk management
program and this is one goal which remains my priority even as I near the end of the
program. I have learnt several new things about career progression such as significance of
networking which I find worth mentioning.
PPD involves gaining insight into our strengths and weaknesses and act on these
(Whetten and Cameron, 2007). PPD module has taught me some additional things which
I could not mention in his paper. Of this the most significant is the reflective learning

skills. During this course I have learnt how to improve on my skills using objective
analysis and using 360 degrees feedback (Bayless, 2002). I have learnt about the concepts
of social learning and how we can contribute to the knowledge of the social group while
learning forms them (Cottrell, 2010).

Activity 1 Diversity management skills

Aim: To improve my skills of managing diversity within teams


Objectives
-

To improve my understanding of peoples behaviour.

To identify different approaches to diversity management.

To identify the personal skills and traits which are drivers or inhibitors of
diversity management.

To develop cultural understanding.

Background

Having worked in the Saudi construction sector I have realised both the benefits and
challenges of diversity management. On one hand I have seen people from different socio
cultural and professional backgrounds bringing wealth of knowledge to the construction
industry while at the same time I have witnessed mangers struggling to manage health
and safety risk compliance and conflicts due to diversity of workforce. I have come to
realise that diversity management is key to success in modern organisations.

Process
In the group presentation exercise we presented a presentation on diversity management
in teams. I was part of a four member team. We met regularly for preparing the
presentation and divided tasks among ourselves. There were some conflicts within the
team but these were managed amicably as the team delivered a good presentation. We
received feedback from teh tutor and gave feedback to each other on how we can
improve our skills.

Analysis of Learning

Diversity management is a challenge but something which all managers must learn.
Diversity management requires manager to employ a range of personal and professional
skills ad only individuals who are culturally sensitive and can respect others can expect to
succeed to managing diverse teams.
Kirton and Greene (2010) identified a range of factors that could characterise diversity
among team members. In our group we were diverse by our cultural and professional
backgrounds. In such diverse teams groupism often happens. Ours was a small team but I
could still sense a bit of groupism in the team with the individuals form similar
backgrounds preferring to discuss issues within them. This was something that was
affecting the team so I proposed to have a whatsap group where every individual can post
any questions or suggestion that they might have. After setting up this group I realised
that the groupism was only in interpersonal interaction and with the technology all the
individuals were comfortable talking to each other using the online group.
Diversity management is not about trying to homogenise the environment by forcing
everyone to adhere to one culture but it is about respecting the diversity itself. It involves
acknowledging the strengths and weaknesses of each other and benefit from each other's
strengths and using these to cover each others weaknesses (French, 2010). The approach
I have witnessed in professional environment is often about forcing the employees to

adapt to the one culture. This is where the employees feel demotivated.

Future Development
I have to develop my understanding of different cultures and have to learn how to
accommodate different cultures within the same team in a constructive manner so that it
contributes to the team rather than leading to conflicts. As a member of the team my role
will be to facilitate exchange of knowledge among team members and giving them a
purpose for working together. This togetherness is what will hold the team together. This
I can achieve by improving my cultural intelligence and leadership skills.

Activity 2 Leadership skills

Aim: To improve my overall leadership skills


Objectives
-

To learn about different styles of leadership

To understand the link between leadership and satisfaction.

To see how we can improve our leadership approach.

Background
Having worked as a project manager in Saudi construction sector I know the value of
leadership. It is a very challenging environment to work within and to manage the
individuals of so many different nationalities, literacy level and languages makes it even
more complicated. The only way to be successful in such an environment is through
adequate leadership skills.

Process
I completed the Minnesota Leadership questionnaire and Authentic leadership
questionnaire. These are widely used questionnaire to assess ones leadership style. MLQ
categorises the leadership styles as transformational, Transactional and passive.

Analysis of Learning

Transformation leaders exercise idealised influence which refers to the extent to which
the leader can hold subordinates trust, maintain their faith and respect, show dedication
to them, appeal to their hopes and dreams, and act as their role model (Ozaralli, 2003, p.
338). I tend to exhibit some of these traits. I have always managed, as my colleagues
confirmed, to maintain their trust in me. The group members would respect my honesty
and integrity because I tend to accept responsibility for consequences.
I also exhibit inspirational motivation which refers to the extent to which I provide a
vision, use appropriate symbols and images to help others focus on their work, and try to
make others feel their work is significant (Northhouse, 2013). I have always tried to
increase participation in group work and have always motivated individuals to come up
with suggestions no matter how unimportant that they might be. During group meetings I
pay close attention to what each and every individual says and my colleagues suggest that
I often praise the team members who come up with valuable suggestions. I am quick to
acknowledge contribution of individual members and ensure that they share their ideas
with the whole team.

I exhibit intellectual simulation to a certain level but not completely. Intellectual


simulation refers to the degree to which we encourage others to be creative in looking at
old problems in new ways, create an environment that is tolerant of seemingly extreme

positions, and nurture people to question their own values and beliefs and those of the
organization (Ozaralli, 2003, p. 339). I like to discover new ways of resolving issues but
because of my attention to detail I tend to drift back to old proven ways. I seek certainty
in my approach - it could be because of my national culture (Saudi) s well as industry
culture (construction) which are rated high in uncertainty avoidance. I am not a huge risk
taker (Kipp, 1999) especially when it comes to organisational matters and this is
something I would really like to work on. I have achieved great things but I think if I
become more creative in my approach I can be a bit more productive. Changing my
ingrained risk averse behaviour to risk taking behaviour will be extremely difficult but
this is something that I would need to learn to try new approaches. I have started to do
this as I try to look for alternative solutions to problems but I would still consider myself
in early stages of mastering this skill.
I and my colleagues agree that I exhibit Individualized consideration, that is, I show
interest in others well-being and pay attention to those who seem less involved in the
group (Yukl, 2010). As the example given above, I have always ensured that people are
participating in the group and that they receive full support for their participation (Kipp,
1999). I have always shown concern for the welfare of my group members and all my
colleagues agree with this. As a team member I believe that the outcome of the very
individual is linked to the collective outcome of the team and hence unless each and
every member is participating to his/her best, the team will not be able to achieve the
best. This has been my main belief in motivating people to participate and contribute in
teams.
Contingent reward is a characteristic of transactional leaders (Yukl, 2010). I show certain
degree of contingent reward but not to great extent. I believe that if we care about
rewards we lose focus on our work. I am a strong believer that if you continue to do the
right thing you will eventually be rewarded accordingly. Hence I tend to tell me
colleagues not to worry about rewards. This does not mean that I do not want to reward
people or do not expect rewards for my performance but that reward is not my focus- as a
follower or as a leader. I tend to focus on the task and ensure that I perform my task to the

best and let decision makers decide about the rewards. I have myself been disappointed
with the rewards that we have received at times but it has not influenced my approach.
On the other hand, I agree that rewards are important motivator for many people and
leaders must be aware of how to prepare the right mix of rewards and motivation to
maximise the mutual welfare of the organisation and the employees (Renu and Vandana,
2004).
I exhibit management-by-exception characteristics to a certain extent, probably because
of my risk averse behaviour (Yukl, 2010). Thus, I do not try to fix things which are not
broken unless I am certain that the alternative approach would work. Thus, I seek
certainty and change things only when required. This is something that I need to work on.
In my endeavor to continuously improve I must learn to try new things and not wait for
the current ones to break down or become obsolete.

Future Development
I will work on understanding situated leadership approach in which individuals tend to
shift their leadership approach based on circumstances. It is not an easy task to alter
leadership behaviour but I will try to learn from the case studies in which leaders have
used situated leadership approach.

Activity 3:

Career planning

Aim: To identify my long term and short term career goals


Objectives
-

Identifying my professional skills and weaknesses.

Identifying roles that suit my skills and interest.

Evaluating ways of achieving my desired role.

Background
Career progression is each and every individuals primary ambition. We all want to
develop new skills and achieve seek position in life. I have worked for long in
construction industry and have learned some valuable lessons. However, over last few
years I have come to realise that my career has stalled I have not progressed well enough
and one of the reasons for this was my poor focus on skill development.

Process
I enrolled for a masters in risk management course at GCU and I am planning to
undertake a project management certification from PMBoK. These two certificates will
give me the necessary skills that I need for a rapid career progression in construction
industry.

Analysis of Learning
Career progression is what we all desire. As shown by the Maslows theory of hierarchy
of needs in the figure below individuals actions are driven by their immediate needs.
Once a need is satisfied it ceases to act as an motivator and individual tend to move up
the ladder so now the higher level need starts o act as a motivator.

According to my own analysis I am currently at the safety needs state. I am still in early
stages of my career and like many young professionals I strive for my own home and a
nice lifestyle. For this it is essential that I progress well in my career.
For career progression I have to first understand my short and long term goals. Short term
goals are the goals that we wish to achieve within next five years and long term goals are
the goals we wish to achieve in 10 or more years. My short term goal is to achieve a well
paid job in the Qatar foundation. For this I must update my skills and I have already
started this with his risk management program. Risk management has emerged as a key
issue in construction sector and GCUs risk management program is the only Masters
program focused on risk management in general and not specifically in financial risk
management.
Achieving skills alone will not be sufficient in getting the right job so I have started to
develop my network as well. I had already met some HR managers from Qatar
foundation and they are now part of my social network. I have been seeking their advice

on what skills and knowledge will be useful for me to get a job in Qatar foundation.
For my long term goals, I must continue to update my skills and develop additional skills.
The most critical of these would be diversity management and leadership skills that I
have already talked about.
Clear identification of goals is useful for career development because then we can
identify the right path and milestones that will lead us there. I aim to achieve senior
management position in one of the top three construction groups in Saudi Arab or Qatar.
Having identified this long term goal I have chosen getting a managerial level position in
one of these organisations as my first milestone. My focus is on the organisation rather
than the salary, which is the focus of many individuals. I am looking for a position which
will help me learn and showcase my skills which, in turn, would allow me to develop my
career.

Future Development
I have to first get project management certificate following which I must start utilising
my network to target specific positions. I will have to remain open and patient as initially
I may not get the desired salary and position. As long as the position offered sets me on
the path to the position where I want to be, then I will accept it. I am also reading some
autobiographies of some very successful individuals to understand how they rose in their
careers, what choices they made and why.

Conclusion

PPD module have been quite enriching experience for me as I have learnt about myself
the things that I never knew or did not pay attention to. For example, I never knew that I

am not culturally intelligent or probably never found it relevant. This PPD module has
taught me that for a complete development I must develop the relevant personal skills
because these will have a direct and significant impact on my professional development.
This paper talked about the three skills that I find of immediate concern and the ones that
I must immediately seek but these are by no means the only sills I would need. I would as
much require the interpersonal interaction skills and the conflict resolution skills.
One of the key learning from this module has been that our personal and professional
skills are largely dependent on each other. For example, cultural sensitivity affects
diversity management which in turn affect our leadership skills. This means that for
personal and professional development we must focus on all personal skills. We cannot
be selective in what we choose.
I have also learnt that each individual is different and individuals cannot all become ideal
people. There will and must remain differences between individuals. But it is essential for
us to manage these differences so that this helps us grow rather than hindering our growth
and performance.
I would high recommend anyone to do this course because it is not about risk
management or anything but it is about us becoming better people. This module has been
a great experience in generating awareness but I understand that this is just the beginning
of the journey and I must look to continue this journey to ensure that I make the best use
of this experience.

References:
-

Bayless M., (2002), The Power of Personal Development Plans, Gourmet


Retailer, 23(2): 28-30.

Cottrell, S. (2010), Skills for Success: Personal Development and


Employability, 2nd ed, Palgrave Macmillan.

French R. (2010) (2nd edition),chapter 3 Models of culture: traditional


approaches in Cross-cultural Management in Work Organisations, London:
CIPD: 47-75.

Kipp, M. (1999) Finding the Key Dimensions of Leadership, Strategy and


Leadership, 27(4/5):49-53.

Kirton, G. and Greene, A.M. (2010) The Dynamics of Managing Diversity,


(3rd ed) Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford

Northhouse, P. G. (2013) Leadership Theory & Practice. Sage Publications.

Ozaralli, N. (2003), Effects of transformational leadership on empowerment


and team effectiveness, Leadership and Organization Development Journal,
24(6):335-344.

Renu R. and Vandana D., 2004, Managerial Effectiveness: A Function of


Personality Type and Organisational Components, Singapore Management
Review, 26(2): 79-85.

Whetton, D and Cameron, K (2011) Developing Management Skills (8th ed).


Prentice Hall.

Yukl, G. (2010) Leadership in Organization, 7th edition, London: PrenticeHall.

Appendix 1: CPD plan

CPD Plan
What is my
learning
objective?

Target date
What will my
What will I do to achieve this?
for review or
success criteria be?
completion
I will develop cultural
intelligence skills by
engaging with people
form culturally diverse
backgrounds.

Develop diversity
management skills

I will prepare strengths


and weaknesses chart for
each of my team
members and see if I can
use the strengths to cover
for the weaknesses

Leadership skills

There should be6 months


at least 25 people
from other socio
cultural
background
in
my
friends
network
Success criteria
will
be
percentage
of
weaknesses that I
can cover using
the strengths of6 months
the
team
members

Learn coordination skills Get feedback from


team members.
Evaluate on basis of 1 year
criteria such as
milestones missed
and meetings missed

Peer feedback and


Minnesota leadership
3 years
questionnaire.

Career planning
skills

Develop
transformational
leadership skills

Identify the short term and long I will set 3 year and 7 3 months
term career goals
year targets

Identify career milestones

I will identify the


position that I want
to be at intervals of 6 months
three years till I reach
my intended position

Develop professional
Develop network to help achievenetwork to include at
3 months
goals
least 50 individuals
working at senior
positions in one of
the three
organisations that I
intend to work in
after graduation