Personal Assessment of Management Skills
Current paper will report on the results of assessment tests, analyze what results mean to me and my capabilities as a manager and propose a specific plan for maintaining and improving my time management skills. In order to achieve aforementioned goals and identify areas in my professional practice that need to be strengthened, I will reflect on the assessment data and reasons behind particular behaviors and create SMART goal-oriented plan to address areas and behaviors that need to be worked on. During the process of evaluation, analysis and goal setting, comparison of the personals assessment of management skills and the same assessment performed by another student, as well as changes in assessment over time will be conducted. The paper will analyze discovered strengths and weaknesses and conclude with the proposal in the form of a SMART plan for addressing weaknesses.
In order to analyze my self-knowledge, I used results of self-awareness test and results of the Personal Assessment of Management Skills (PAMS) completed by me and another student over period of time.
After completing Self-awareness Skill Assessment Test and evaluating results against comparison data, I got following pre-assessment results. In the area of self-disclosure and openness to feedback, I got 26 points. My core self-evaluation, change orientation, emotional intelligence and awareness of own values got 26 points, as well. Total score was 52 points. Therefore, I was 14 points short of the maximum possible score of 66. Comparison with scores of other students in the class showed that I was among those who scored higher than average. Comparison with data from 5,000 business school students showed that my score is higher than mean pre-test average of 51.47.
Analysis of what the results indicated about my capabilities as a manager showed that I did fairly well in the area of self-disclosure and openness to feedback. I use feedback from others to facilitate self-improvements and identify areas in my management style that need improvement. Also, I can take feedback from others without getting defensive or angry. Additionally, I can appraise my actions adequately and can control my behavior. Test showed that I have values and standards that guide my behavior and know how to manage conflicts and frictions that arise.
Comparison of Self-awareness Assessment and PAMS
Comparison of Self-awareness Assessment with Relevant PAMS Section on self-knowledge (completed by me) showed similar and fairly good results (4.5, 5, 5, 3.5, and 4.5). However, analysis of a friend’s evaluation of aforementioned area did enhance my understanding of self-awareness-related personality traits. Prior to getting into details of appraising the outcomes of a friend’s evaluation, I would like to state few reflections about peer assessment. It seems that using peer evaluation has its advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is that such appraisal may be biased since a friend does not want to hurt my feelings or strain relationship be putting low scores. Therefore, friendship may not facilitate the accuracy of testing. Additionally, peer might lack skills to appraise their friends correctly. Also, peer evaluation might simply be a reflection of one’ opinion without supporting evidence or factual base. However, there are definite advantages of using peer evaluation, especially in this case. Firstly, peer evaluation via PAMS represents a structured feedback and does not rest on one’s opinion alone. Importantly, since a friend is able to observe peers both during the study time and in a wide range of situations, his feedback can be considered valid and insightful.
My friend’s scores of my willingness to welcome others’ feedback about my character traits, awareness of my decision-making capabilities and the ability to control my behavior and self-disclosure appraisal are close to my own appraisal of aforementioned qualities (4.5 to 5 on different traits). However, I noticed one difference in how I see my ability to cope with situations that are ambiguous and uncertain and how my friend perceives it. While I awarded my ability to deal with ambiguous situations the highest score (5), my friend’s score was the lowest in the self-knowledge category (3.5). This served as an indicator for me to monitor this area more closely.
I would like to enact a specific triple-action plan for maintaining and improving my managerial skills. Firstly, I plan to read management-related self-improvement sources within next month and apply two relevant suggestions in order to improve my management style. Secondly, I would like to take time to communicate with a friend who knows me well and whom I trust, in order to ask for this person’s input about how I can improve my interpersonal, communication and people-handling skills. Lastly, I will re-evaluate my progress in 35 days to see whether my target areas improved and what else I need to work on.
Coping with Time-pressured Situations: Maintaining a Program of Regular Exercise for Fitness
In recent months, in order to improve my ability to cope with situations under time pressure, improve my time management skills and learn to lead more active lifestyle, I made an effort to engage in exercise and sports activity regularly. However, my effort to maintain a regular exercise program received the lowest score from my friend. I must admit that although my initial efforts were consistent, I had a hard time keeping up with the pace that I set initially. For example, I analyzed my behavior and lifestyle, state of physical health, obvious and hidden benefits of exercise, and positive effects of exercise on emotional and intellectual health and felt compelled to engage in physical activity on a regular basis. Furthermore, I was positive about making changes in my personal life and aimed at reducing the intake of sweets, trying not to worry as much and spending more time in the fresh air and engaging in physical activity.
Analysis of the Limited Success in Learning Time Management
Notably, it was not my first attempt to change my habits and behaviors. Besides establishing short-term goals such as doing daily 30 minutes exercise, taking longer walks twice a week and engaging in a vigorous sport activity weekly, I analyzed my previous failures in maintaining similar lifestyle changes for a longer periods of time. However, after doing sports activities for three weeks, I started loosing the steam. I must admit that I lacked consistency, self-determination, and willpower to change and improve. It appeared that I had hard time adhering to more active life style without outside help. Among the obstacles that I encountered were busy study schedule that did not allow much time for physical activities and my own attitudes. I realized that while I wanted to be more physically active, I felt somewhat satisfied and complacent with my former life style. Moreover, I felt that I needed outside pressure and a working mechanism that would ensure regular exercise on my part. Therefore, although I succeeded in making desired changes, my level of adherence was not as high as I originally intended. Perhaps, I raised my expectations too high and the plan was destined for partial failure since it was not realistic, considering my personality and demands of my studies.
Comparison of my first and second PAMS results and comparative analysis of my friend’s PAMS assessment of my traits and skills indicated that second PAMS showed better results. I believe it was due to the fact that first PAMS made me aware of my weaknesses and evoked the desire to change and improve. Scores of such indicators as effective time management, maintaining a balanced life, finding alternative solutions, the ability to function effectively in teamwork, prioritize, analyze the nature of problems and find common ground with people who have divergent pints of view were higher during the second PAMS than during the second one. Unfortunately, although the area of my focus (life style changes and maintaining greater engagement in physical activity) improved initially, my score of this area decreased over time. Nevertheless, I would like to progress in the area of leading more active lifestyle. I believe that realistic SMART plan could be a great tool to help achieve desired lifestyle modifications.
Analysis of PAMS Scores and Reflection on the Sources of Behavior
Whetten and Cameron listed following skills of effective managers: communication skills, stress and time management, problem-solving skills, motivational skills, conflict management, delegating and team building, self-knowledge, and vision setting skills. Different PAMS sections are designed to assess aforementioned managerial skills. Under PAMS, maintaining program of regular exercise is assessed as a component of a manager’s ability to manage stress and function effectively under pressure. Therefore, SMART plan should incorporate recommendations on how to improve time and stress management skills. However, since the failure to follow planned level of physical activity was not related to stress issues, SMART plan in the following section will address the ability to maintain a program of regular exercise when faced with time pressure.
Average PAMS score (evaluation of a friend) was 4.62. My own average PAMS scores were 4.2 and 4.4 for the first and second assessments respectively. I am inclined to think that I appraised myself more critically than my friend did, and this explains lower scores on both tests. However, my PAMS score of management in stressful and time-pressured situations were 4 and 4.1 during the first and second assignments while the score that I got fro my friend was 4.41. This numbers show that my abilities to manage under stress and time pressure scored lower than average on each assessment performed by me and on the assessment performed by my friend. Therefore, it can be considered that this area needs primary attention.
Whetten and Cameron suggest that in order to manage time effectively, managers should (a) focus on matters that are both important and urgent, (b) distinguish between important and urgent matters, (c) manage time with the end result (not methods of achieving results) in mind and (d) say “no” without feeling guilty of embarrassed. Viewing my lack of adherence to desired life style changes through the ‘urgent-important’ framework helps me understand why I did not follow through with my original plan to engage in physical activity to a greater degree. I guess I viewed my walks and exercise time as a nice and enjoyable thing to do, not something urgent or more important than other things on my to-do list. Also, although I like being physically active in general, I feel satisfied and content overall with my physical health and weight. Therefore, my effort to initiate life style modification was meant to pursue a desired change, not to solve critical health issue or achieve outcome vital to my physical wellbeing. Perhaps, this is the reason I did not make it a top priority. Also, currently, I need to focus on my MBA studies first of all. Subsequently, everything else seems secondary in comparison with this goal.
PAMS in Relation to My Future Goals
Prior to making SMART goal-oriented plan for working on my weaknesses and building up on my strengths, I realize that it would be helpful to put things in perspective and identify how I will benefit from working on my weaker areas. Therefore, I need to evaluate my long-term goals and appraise the benefits of effective time management skills and self-discipline.
Since after completing my MBA studies I plan to go back to my home country of Kuwait and start my own restaurant business, possessing effective time management skills is critical for several reasons. Firstly, there is a different set of work ethics and workplace dynamics to adhere to when you are not an employee but an entrepreneur. For example, entrepreneur does not have a manager to tell him what to do and when, to be on time for work and adhere to deadlines. The entrepreneur must be purpose-driven and highly self-disciplined to succeed. In my opinion, self-discipline and time management are closely connected. If I, as a business owner, will fail to adhere to deadlines and manage my time poorly, it is likely that my employees will demonstrate poor time management, as well. Therefore, the success of my venture will depend on effective time management, among other things.
Interestingly, I found the ability to effectively manage time to be interconnected with what McChesney, Covey, and Huling taught in the “4 Disciplines of Execution” about achieving important goals. I believe that implementing and successfully practicing things that authors emphasize such as focusing on the wildly important areas, acting on lead measures, keeping a compelling scoreboard, and creating a cadence of accountability are not possible without self-discipline of senior management who can influence the staff to improve their performance. Therefore, in my view, achieving goals is contingent on effective time management and self-discipline. Thus, realization of the importance of effective time management to my future success compels me to create SMART goal-oriented plan that would help me to sharpen my time management skills.
More on PAMS
Up to this point, I analyzed my behaviors and skills that got lower grades. I would like to devote this section to discussing behaviors and skills that received more positive appraisal. My ability to cope with routine, as well as complex and difficult problems was appraised fairly high. Creativity and innovation scored 5. The ability to provide negative feedback or offer corrective advice scored 4.72. The ability to obtain more power scored 4.65. The ability to motivate others got 4.6. The ability to mediate conflicts scored 4.8. The ability to delegate work to others scored 4.9. However, the ability to lead the change, enhance the team’s performance, be an effective team leader and empower others got lower evaluation results. Considering the PAMS results, aforementioned areas are in the need of improvement, as well. However, for the sake of maintaining consistency of the focus and continuity of the progress, following SMART plan will mainly address the time management issue.
Frequently, effective planning is the essential element of taking action, especially when the action is complex, drawn out over a period of time, and such that requires collaboration of several participants. Nevertheless, planning is as effective and essential to success of individual efforts. SMART plan implies that the plan contains built-in features that enhance its effectiveness. In SMART plan, ‘S’ means that the plan is specific and targets specific area that needs improvement. ‘M’ means that the plan is measurable. Being measurable implies that the progress can be measured and adequately appraised. ‘A’ means that the plan is achievable. Therefore, the plan should be doable and contain realistic goals. Unrealistic goals and expectations may lead to the situation when the plan of action is programmed for failure because of overly demanding requirements. ‘R’ means that the plan is relevant and result-oriented. ‘T’ means that the plan is time-specific and that specific objectives should be achieved within a specified time frame. As far as the length of the plan, I prefer short and clear planning that is easy to refer to and make changes, as needed.
‘S’ Part: Specific
I creates this plan to improve my time management skills and the ability to prioritize. In particular, I would like to focus on few following objectives. First, I choose as my top priorities my studies and my health. Second, any other activities should not drive out these two priorities. Third, I am going to maintain regular program of physical exercise. Fourth, I will maintain a balanced life style via pursuing other interests besides studies and physical activities by setting minimum requirements for fellowshipping with friends, pursuing hobby and spending time for recreation and entertainment.
‘M’ Part: Measurable
I will set measurable goals whereby the execution of a plan can be measured. Subsequently, results can be measured against the predetermined goals. My goal is to maintain a regular program of physical activity over the next 35 days. The program includes following: (a) minimum of three times of a 30 minutes vigorous exercise weekly, (b) minimum of one hour and a half of vigorous exercise per week or one 30-40 minute walk per week. Prior to starting the program, I have to either find a person who would like to exercise together or find a gym in easily accessible location. I will use two activities to measure my progress in the area of time management. Firstly, once 35 days are over, I will use records of physical activities in my calendar to check if I adhered to the plan. Secondly, I will keep my friend informed of my progress and ask him to fill in PAMS section on time management once more to check how he evaluates my progress or lack thereof.
‘A’ Part: Achievable
I decided to modify my original plan that I was not able to keep up with consistently. My original plan was to maintain four times of a 30 minutes vigorous exercise weekly, two hours of vigorous exercise per week, and one hour walk per week. In a new plan, I established more realistic objectives by limiting number of exercise days to four from six and reducing length of activities. I believe this modification should facilitate my adherence to changes in life style. Although specialists recommend doing physical activity five to six days per week, in order to derive benefit for a person’s health, I would like to establish objectives that are doable. My primary focus is the improvement of time management skills while health benefit remains the secondary for the time being.
‘R’ Part: Relevant and Result-oriented
The plan is relevant and its relevance is corroborated both by my own and friend’s assessment of my time management skills. Furthermore, I believe that enhanced time management skills will be beneficial when I return to my home country to start my own business. Moreover, Whetten and Cameron argue that time is one of the greatest sources of stress for managers. Therefore, as a future manager, I should be able to manage my time effectively, in order to avoid stress, learn to distinguish between important and urgent needs, learn to say “no” and prevent professional burnout. Since I need to progress in the area of time management both in my personal and professional life and I realize the need for improvement in the area of time management, my plan is relevant. The plan is result-oriented, as well, since I start the life style modification with the clear end goal in mind.
‘T’ Part: Time-specific
The plan adheres to time-specific feature of SMART planning. I set 35-day long time frame to engage in physical activity and improve my time management skills. Once designated time is over, double evaluation will be conducted by me and a friend.
This paper analyzed results of the of assessment tests to appraise my capabilities as a manager and propose a specific plan for maintaining and improving my time management skills. Comparison of the personals assessment of management skills and the assessment performed by a friend was conducted in order to analyze weaknesses and suggest proposal for improving weak areas. For this purpose, SMART goal-oriented plan was created. The plan has a built-in mechanism for evaluating its effectiveness in helping to acquired time management skills.