The main purpose of this report is a self-evaluation of my skill, attributes and competencies relevant for my career in International Management. Point out skill that an international manager should have, evaluate these skills and see where my strengths and weaknesses are, and also giving evidence of my experience with these skills.
Also included is a review of progress made regarding the mid semester SMART development plan, that had to do with targets within a period of six weeks. A smart development plan for a period of six months will be included in this report and it will focus on two important targets that i intend to improve on to help me for the next six months, it will be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
2.0 SELF EVALUATION
The main aim of this self development plan is a guide in identifying skills, competences and attributes relevant to me for a future career as an international manager. According to MacBeath 2006, “self evaluation is a process of discovery”, knowing one’s self and identifying strengths and capabilities, identifying weaknesses and also improving on them. For a future career in international management i have to first identify some skills and competences that i should have and that are important to be effective as an international manager these skills are:
Cross cultural Communication skill
There are so many other skills and competences that are not mentioned above, although these are the few that i can relate myself with and show to what extent i have developed in these areas.
2.01 CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION SKILL
Personally, i prefer face to face communication which involves direct contact with speaker involved, knowing the speakers facial expressions and gestures and to be able to listen properly and avoid miscommunications, having proper understanding of what the speakers is saying. For example when i started my master’s programme i found it difficult to communicate with my lectures, because i had to send emails to them, this was a new experience for me. In communication across cultures contexts is very important, according to Browaeys and Price (2008), Hall (1990) settled firmly on two groups of culture high context and low context cultures. An example of the high context cultures are central Europe, Arabs and Asians who leave their messages unspecified and most of the message is hidden in the text making it a bit difficult to understand, while an example of the low context cultures are Germans, Americans their messages are explicit and can be understood through facial expressions and gestures. Although communication with Chinese and Indian colleagues and class mates was very difficult a first due to the accent they have but with time, i began to understand them better without having any problems because of the everyday encounter.
2.02 INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
Interpersonal skill is mostly regarded as important as an international manager, having this skill will aid integration socially to gain knowledge and also establish relationships with people. I don’t think i have any problem fitting into a new environment, i usually observe my environment first to know the kind of people, know what to say and what not to say to them that might hurt their feelings. After doing this most of the time i don’t find it difficult getting along well with people. This skill has built my confidence a lot and it has also improved my relationship with people from different cultures
2.03 CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE CQ
Cultural intelligence has to do with understanding different cultures by interpreting unfamiliar and ambiguous gestures (Earley and Mosakowski 2004). After taking a test on cultural intelligence from the article from my MCME module guide, the result reflected that i have a reasonable level of cultural intelligence. There were three aspects cognitive CQ, physical CQ and emotional/ motivational CQ. The total points out of 5 where, for Cognitive CQ – 4, Physical CQ – 4.3 and Emotional/ motivational CQ – 4.5. I am confident with this result because before interacting with people i stop to think before acting and i can also change the form of speech like my accent. I scored higher in the Emotional/ motivational CQ i am confident that i can deal with people from different cultures and i can also adapt to the lifestyle of different cultures. When i first came into the UK i had to change my accent for people to understand and i also had to get used to the word “love” which is used often here.
2.04 TEAM WORK AND PRESENTATION SKILLS
Working in teams is no new thing to me and it is a very important skill for an international manager. My course international business and management entails a lot of team work and we are usually put into groups of students from different countries. In these groups there are different people from different parts of the world, Chinese, Indians, Germans, and Italians with different team roles. According to Belbin’s team roles (Duggan 2009), people have different roles like coordinators, sharper, implementer, completer, specialist, resource investigators, having one or more of this skill will enhance a role in a team. Out of all these roles my preferred role is by coordinating, for example calling my group members and fixing meetings and also a team builder as well. I happened to have done a lot of group work for my master’s degree, where we are put into for five to six members and a mixture of students from different cultures, Chinese, Indians and the outcome has been rewarding especially through feed backs of marks awarded by my tutors. This also relates to my presentation skill as the outcome for most of my presentations have been good and i have evaluated this form feed backs gotten form the tutors and also my class mates. Since the beginning of my course i have worked on my presentation skill and also my power point skill. I have used the skills online website provided by my school to enhance this skill. It has helped me focus more on main points in the presentation, being confident and making eye contact with the audience.
2.05 TIME MANAGEMENT SKILL
This is a very important skill, when there is no good management of time they tend to be a lot of procrastinations, and this affects time because there is a tendency to delay in doing something that has been previously planned. Initially this was a problem for me and it started affecting most of my daily activities due to procrastination, this was really bad at first because it kept on occurring and then it began to affect my school work. I decided to have a to-do-list mapping out things i had to do on a daily bases and followed this list religiously, because as a student in the UK i have keep to time because it is part of the culture of the people to do so. Time is very crucial and important for a future career in international management because in the future, i have to be on time for business appointments and meetings. Developing this skill has been of good use to me.
2.06 LEADERSHIP SKILLS
In evaluating my leadership skill, by looking at my role as a team member which is that of a coordinator and it has to do with organising members for group meetings and also building an effective team. I have had an experience in school where i had to take up a leading role because my group members where a bit relaxed and nonchalant about our presentation so i took up the role of coordinating the group and made sure the work was done properly. Out of the six leadership styles which are coercive, authoritative, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, and coaching leaders, over time i have observed that i am more of an affiliative/ femininity leader in the sense that i tend not to be too hard on people and create an emotional bond with the people around me. Leadership varies depending on the culture, according to Hofsted’s findings, there are four dimensions of different cultures, and they are power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism / collectivism, and masculinity/ femininity. Although in Nigeria where I’m from leadership is more collective and masculine and also a high level of power distance. With my little work experience a lot of respect is shown by those who are being led.
2.07 NEGOTIATION SKILLS
This is an essential skill for most business dealings today. Negotiation styles vary across different cultures. An example is a negotiation exercise i participated in, where we were divided into groups of US negotiators and Chinese negotiators, i realised that the US negotiators are mostly based on getting the deal done and are eager to get as much information they can to make progress in negotiations, while Chinese negotiators mostly try not to give information and this may cause frustration, for example for a US negotiator.
The categories of different cultures of negotiation by Richard D Lewis (Rushton 2009 ) are linear – active, multi – active and reactive cultures. I am from a multi – active culture where most people are extroverts, they talk a lot, but personally i am more of an introvert, i tend to be quiet sometimes. Although haven’t yet had much experience of negotiating professionally, i do have to negotiate at times for example, going to a local market and negotiating on a price for an item. I still need to improve on this skill because it essential for me if i intend to pursue a career in international Business.
2.08 DECISION MAKING AND CULTURAL EMPATHY
Decision making is not an easy process although it is required as an international manager to be able to make good decisions for an organisation or business. It is also essential for good leadership. When its times to take decisions on my own, i usually seek advice from family, friend and people around me. Making good decision a times could be a problem for me.
For cultural empathy i always try to listen to people, appreciate their views and use my cultural intelligence skill in this as well.
3.0 MID SEMESTER SMART DEVELOPMENT PLAN REVIEW
In relation to a review of the progress made in my mid semester SMART development plan which was set at the beginning of my course, Msc International business and Management for a period of six weeks had positive results. Although due to the fact that i had many skills to improve on, it was a bit difficult to achieve all of them.
One of the skills i planned to improve on which didn’t quite work out fine was the writing skills. The reason why it wasn’t too successful was because the period of time given was too short for me to have covered all i wanted to and i was not able to attend the session on writing skills made available by graduate skills programme because some of the sessions clashed with my classes. Although i made some progress on my power point skill, and this skill is relevant for me to produce good visual aids for presentations during my course. I had a lot of practise done on my own and also i also volunteered to produce visual aid for group presentation which was a good outcome with regards to feed backs from my presentations. Also progress was made on my research skills, and this was done by exploring different sources of text books, articles, journals and this was very helpful during my course. I have also been able to manage my time by making use of my to-do-list which i made on a weekly basis. On the to-do-list i put high priorities first before any other activity and this helped me to a great extent. I was able to make time for my research, course work and also create time for myself.
My mid semester development plan had both negative and positive outcomes, although it was very useful for me because it helped me identify skills to be developed and improved on.
4.0 SMART DEVELPOMENT PLAN
With this SMART development plan, i will focus on a specific goal to be improved on within the next six months. By so doing i intend to take specific steps on improving on skills that will be of good use for both my course and in my professional life. I would like to improve on my writing skill and on my leadership skills, but for the purpose report i would improve on my writing skill, because writing is a very important skill as a student and as an international manager. To justify my reasons for improving on this skill, below is a SMART development plan for the next six months
I plan to improve on my writhing skill within the next six months, given that it’s a longer period i should be able to work on this skill and accomplish it by the end of the sixth month.
In six months time i should have improved on my writing skill by:
Reading relevant books, articles and journals on writing especially on academic writing.
Using information from the skills online website made available for me by the school.
I should be able to know the appropriate structure and format for both essay writing and report writing because it is very relevant for my course.
Properly apply the right grammar and punctuations in my writing.
Going for sessions on how to develop writing skills offered by the graduate skills programme of Sheffield business school.
This skill can be achieved by putting a lot of effort and by making use of the resources from the library, the internet to help me with this skill, although there might be some restraints due to other commitments in terms of course work.
These are the activities that i should be able to achieve in the next six months:
1st Month – First month starting from February i will attend class sessions like English for post graduate students by the university English scheme. This will help focus on general language skills like writing and also preparing for my dissertation. I will attend these classes at least 2 times in a week for a month.
2nd Month – Make use of the learning centre find books on writing that will enable me understand writing properly.
3rd Month – Make use of the key skills online which has been made available for me by my school; explore every option including a skill check on writing which will help me get clearer view off my writing skills.
4th Month – Search for books, articles journals that relate to essay and report writing. Look at examples and identify structures, the use of English.
5th Month – Get books that can help me with my use of English, punctuations, grammar, vocabulary and also learn how to proof read my essays and reports.
6th Month – practice writing on my own, using all the information and knowledge learnt from previous months, show a friend or colleague that is good in writing to double check what i have written and make corrections.
The need to improve on my writing skill is realistic in the sense that it will be useful for the remaining part of my course for my assignments and my dissertation. It will influence my assignments by writing proper essays and reports use proper grammar and punctuations and also it help me in the future if i intend to pursue a career in international management.
TIME – BOUND
The time set for my SMART development plan is six months and within this period i will still be undergoing my masters program, writing will be a good skill to develop on because i will be doing a lot of writing and the time of six months is realistic.
The self evaluation was mostly about the skills and competences that are relevant to me as i would like to pursue a future career in international management. Hopefully with more work on these skills it won’t be difficult for me to work in a multicultural environment. The SMART development plan is about the skill i intend to improve, it is very important to me as a student and also in my future career in international management.
BROWAEYS , Marie Joelle and PRICE Roger (2008). Understanding cross cultural Management, Prentice Hall
DUGGAN, Chris (2009). Multicultural team work. [Lecture hand outs]. From an MCME lecture held on 17th November at Sheffield Hallam University.
EARLY Christopher P and MOSAKOWSKI Elaine (2004). Cultural Intelligence. Harvard Business Review, October 2004.
GOMAN Carol Kinsey , Ph.D ( 2007) Communicating Across Cultures[online]. Last accessed 26th January 2010 at: http://www.asme.org/NewsPublicPolicy/Newsletters/METoday/Articles/Communicating_Across_Cultures.cfm
MACBEATH John (2006). Self inspection and self evaluation: Working with new relationship, USA and Canada, Routledge
RUSHTON, Diane (2009). Leadership skill for 21st century MNC’s (lecture hand out) from an MCME lecture held in November at Sheffield Hallam University .
RUSHTON Daine (2009). Cross Cultural Negotiation [lecture hand outs]. From an MCME lecture held on 10th November at Sheffield Hallam University
SCHNEIDER, Susan C, and BARSOUX, Jean Louis (2003). Managing Across cultures, prentice Hall
Skills online website, last accessed 26th January 2010 at: http://keyskills.shu.ac.uk/lskills/TLTP3/entersite.html