Personal Leadership Plan Paper Writing Assessment
Among the most important skills for a successful manager are interpersonal skills. Yet, many people join business organizations with little learning or skill-building in this important area. This paper is intended to give you an opportunity to reflect on your interpersonal skills and think about how you can grow in four important areas: communication, power and influence, motivation, and managing conflict.
This paper should be four double-spaced pages in length. Please use a 12-point font with standard one-inch margins.
The paper has four main sections. For each section, you have two main tasks.
The first task is to (briefly - two or three sentences) reflect upon and assess the level of skill that you brought to the course in the given topic area.
The second task (which should represent the bulk of each section) is to summarize what you have learned from the course readings and how you have grown (or plan to grow) in that area. To accomplish the second task, you should review all of the course material on that topic, decide what material is most applicable to you, and include that material in your paper. Be sure to prove to me that you are learning a great deal in this course by thoroughly using and citing course material to guide your writing.
Total space is limited to four double-spaced pages (not including optional title page, references, appendices, etc.), so part of the challenge of this assignment is to write concisely and efficiently, yet cover as much of the relevant course material as possible.
Section 1: Communication
Effective communication is an essential interpersonal skill. Nobody communicates perfectly. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you write this section of the paper (these are only thought questions; you do not necessarily need to address these in the paper).
What are the primary factors that detract from your ability to communicate with others?
To what extent do you "hold back" in communicating with others? Do you give effective feedback? Do you accept others' feedback without being defensive?
To what extent do differences in background or culture create communication problems for you?
To what degree does the distribution of power among group members detract from your communication efforts?
Section 2: Power and Influence
As discussed in the lecture and readings, important interpersonal skills include building a strong power base and using influence wisely. Here are some questions to consider before writing this section of the paper:
What are your main sources of personal power? Which of these sources can you develop?
What are your main sources of position power? Which of these sources can you develop?
What strategies do you use to influence others? What strategies would help you be more effective in influencing others?
What are the pros and cons of the various influence strategies?
How can you neutralize others' inappropriate influence attempts?
Section 3: Self-motivation and Motivating Others
As discussed earlier in the course, self-motivation is an important aspect of emotional intelligence, and the ability to motivate others is an important leadership skill. Before you write this section, take a few minutes to consider what motivates you. Be honest with yourself. If you are motivated primarily by money or grades, that's fine - or is it the challenge of the work itself, security, acceptance, recognition, feeling of accomplishment, freedom, etc.? Some theories suggest that people are motivated primarily by their needs. Other theories point to the importance of factors such as goals, rewards/ punishments, job design, expectations, and fairness perceptions. These theories can be useful in understanding why people are or are not highly motivated and how to motivate them.
For instance, consider McClelland's needs-based theory. This theory suggests that people high in need for achievement prefer work that involves individual responsibility for results, involves achievable but challenging goals, and provides feedback on performance. Those who are high in need for power prefer work that involves control over other persons, has an impact on people and events, and brings public recognition and attention. People high in need for affiliation prefer work that involves interpersonal relationships, provides for companionship, and brings social approval.
Section 4: Managing Conflict
A major concern for effective team functioning is the amount and type of conflict present in team interactions. Teams often engage in either too much conflict or too little conflict, which can have important implications for outcomes such as satisfaction, cohesiveness, motivation, communication, power/influence, performance, etc. Some thought questions for this section include:
- What is your dominant conflict-handling style (from the survey in your book)?
- What are the potential benefits and problems associated with your dominant conflict handling style?
- What problems might occur when you attempt to interact with people who have a different dominant conflict handling style? What might you do to resolve these problems?
- How does your conflict handling style affect your team or organization's level of conflict and your team or organization's ability to deal with conflict?