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A key to self-directed learning is reflection. Reflection enables the ability to examine situations in order to better understand the surrounding context and identify potential improvements for the future. This assessment task builds on assessment 1 and 2 to further develop your awareness and reflective learning ability while also assessing your understanding of the topics covered in module 4. As with assessment 1 and 2, you must write your journal entry in the first person and should try to be as open and honest with yourself as you can.

a) Explain the importance of self- awareness and emotional intelligence, and analyse its impact on professional competencies

b) Integrate strategies to effectively interact with others in a diverse professional context

c) Identify and reflect on own strengths and their application in the business context

d) Reflect on feedback to identify opportunities for self-improvement and professional development

Complete the Laureate Professional Assessment as outlined in the module 4 learning resources

Compose your reflective journal entry addressing the questions listed below

Identify theoretical concepts reviewed in module 4 and examples from your professional or personal experience to support your ideas

Include at least three academic references to sources in the module 4 learning

The impact of self-awareness and emotional intelligence on professional competencies

Globalisation has significantly altered the attributes of the contemporary workforce. Currently, organisations are employing individuals from diverse cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds. Gone are the days when a workplace used to be characterised by culturally homogeneous employees. Instead, the contemporary places of work have been transformed into forums of diverse cultural interactions. As a result, possessing exceptional cultural awareness and effective interpersonal communication abilities are among the vital employability skills in the modern labour sector. In their analysis, Guillaume et al. (2017) point out that working in a culturally diverse environment is highly challenging as one has to consider the cultural principles of their colleagues to avoid unnecessary conflicts that can lower the productivity of the workplace. In this respect, the effective application of emotional intelligence, cultural awareness, and creation of an organisational culture that promotes cultural diversity is instrumental in the effective operation of contemporary workplaces.


Importantly, the need for cultural awareness and emotional intelligence was illustrated during our team activity. Teams are integral components in the modern workplaces. According to Lantz-Friedrich, Sjöberg, and Friedrich (2016), teams enable organisations to optimally utilise the unique abilities of their various employees thus enhancing the innovative capacity of a firm. Additionally, teamwork also accelerates task completion as well as improving efficiency in generating diverse solutions to a problem.

Similarly, poorly managed teams can be a source of trouble for organisations. According to Brock et al. (2017), poorly managed teams can lower the productivity of an organisation through persistent and unresolved conflicts that create enmity among employees. In practices, teams are composed of individuals with different personalities, worldviews, culture, and temperaments. In this respect, effective team management entails harmonising all these divergent individual attributes to attain a common goal. Before, I used to think that working in a team in an easy undertaking. However, my experience during the team activity enlightened me that an effective team requires commitment both from the team’s members and its leader. Consequently, this report captures my experience during the team activity and what I learned about team dynamics. Moreover, it also outlines several recommendations on how I can further my contribution to the team.

During the team activity, I observed both positive and negative team dynamics. The team activity undertaken by my group was making a toasty. This collective activity provided me with an opportunity to assess how the team members’ unique attributes influenced the performance of the team. As Gleeson (2003) points out, the overall efficacy or inefficiency of a team is defined by the attributes of the team members and the ability of the team harmonise these differences. This view by Gleeson (2003) supports the deliberation of the personality type team dynamic theories that contend that the different preferences of team members’ affects their interactions and the overall team performance.

Strategies for effective interaction in diverse professional contexts

 One of the vital positive trends that I observed in my team was the respect that each member showed towards the opinions of the other team members. Precisely, each person was willing to listen to the contributions of each member without interrupting. For instance, during the selection of the team activity, each member had their unique idea on what best suited the team. The diverse opinions that each member offered about the suitable team’s activity were significantly influenced by their cultural background and Gallup strengths. In their analysis, Keller, Wen, and Leung (2018) indicate that psychologists and other human behaviour experts attest that human decisions are significantly influenced by their cultural backgrounds and unique abilities. As a consequence, each member suggested an activity that is predominant in their culture and matched their skills.


Nonetheless, the exceptional emotional intelligence and LPA strengths possessed and illustrated by the team members enabled them to settle on a neutral option. The team listed all the activity suggestions offered by each member and critically evaluated each of them without being offensive or defensive. Besides, each member was afforded sufficient time to elaborate on why they thought their proposed activity was beneficial to the team. Although Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of personality suggests that humans tend to be naturally defensive on the opinions, the high level of emotional intelligence possessed by the team members suppressed this defensive attribute. Consequently, the ability of the team members to deliberate with an open mind as supported by their LPA and Gallup results enabled the team to settle on the most appropriate activity which could foster cooperation and knowledge sharing between members.

On the other hand, I also observed problematic team dynamics. One of the key problematic group dynamics I saw was the tendency of one team member to oppose the agreed recipe for preparing the toasty. Practically, there are multiple recipes for making a toasty. Coincidentally, it occurred that the deviant member was only aware of one approach. Consequently, the objections raised by this member were significantly influenced by her inability to make toasty using different recipes. However, I utilised my persuasion skills to convince her to accept the recipe agreed upon by the other team members. Precisely, I told this member that this was a learning opportunity that will expose her to a different method of making a toasty.

Importantly, I also observed different roles within the team that aligns with those identified by researcher Meredith Belbin. According to Meslec and Cur?eu (2015), the nine-team roles identified by Belbin reiterates on the importance of forming balanced teams to enhance collaboration between members. Based on the nine-team role outlined by Belbin, I can confidently admit that our team was greatly balanced. For instance, I observed team roles identified by Belbin such as shaper, implementer, coordinator, and team worker roles. The execution of these roles within the team was influenced by the talents, strengths, emotional intelligence, and cultural background of the team members. For example, I noted that those members who actively took up the coordinator role were individuals who had past leadership experience and good mediators. Moreover, I also noted that they were from cultural backgrounds where leadership and collaboration are highly cherished.

Identifying and reflecting on own strengths in business contexts

Any team activity presents individuals with an opportunity to learn as well as to assess their ability to be effective team members. Likewise, this team activity provided me with a forum to scrutinise my teamwork abilities. Besides, it also served as a forum to test my multicultural and intercultural competencies. As earlier stipulated, modern organisations value multicultural competency and teamwork. Since this is the environment that I will work in, it is imperative for me to possess outstanding teamwork and multicultural competencies.

Consequently, this activity enlightened me that although am an above-average group player, I still need to improve my teamwork abilities significantly. For instance, I noted that I possess outstanding leadership, problem –solving, and interpersonal communication abilities. My leadership abilities were exhibited when the team was unsure of how to select the appropriate activity. In this scenario, I come up with the idea of each member suggesting an activity and explaining how their proposed activity will enhance the effectiveness of the team. Moreover, I contributed significantly in strengthening the cohesion of the team. Through my interpersonal communication and problem-solving abilities, I was able to deescalate conflict among team members.

In any team, conflict is inevitable due to the diverse personalities and worldviews of the team members. However, through my interpersonal communication skills, I was able to bridge the gap between the conflicting team members. Moreover, I used to remind the members about the scheduled meetings by messaging them. Consequently, these attributes and activities prove that I am an effective team player who contributes significantly to the wellbeing and harmony of the team.

Nevertheless, this activity also enlightened me on several areas that I need to improve on to enhance my contributions to the team. For instance, I noted that I tend to dominate team discussions. Such practices are detrimental to the unity of the team as other team members are likely to develop a negative attitude towards me. Although this did not happen due to the excellent emotional intelligence that the team possessed, I noted that it adversely affected the stability of the team. The essence of teamwork is to embrace the diverse inputs from all members. Consequently, it is undesirable for one member to dominate all the team activities and discussions.  

Teamwork is an essential attribute of the contemporary organisations. Since this activity enlightened me on my strength and weaknesses in team contribution, there are several recommendations on how I can improve my contributions to the team. Firstly, I will read more journals, books, and blogs focusing on how to be an effective team member. These materials will assist me in identifying and developing the skills that will enable me to contribute effectively to the team. Moreover, I will focus on enhancing my communication competencies, particularly listening skills as this will be instrumental in defining my contributions to the team. Finally, I plan to allocate sufficient time interacting and understanding my team members. This move will enable me to understand their worldviews, expectations, cultures, and more importantly how to handle them during team activities.

References

Brock, S. E., McAliney, P. J., Ma, C. H., & Sen, A. (2017). Toward more practical measurement of teamwork skills. Journal of Workplace Learning, 29(2), 124-133.

Gleeson, K. (2003). The Personal Efficiency Program: How to Get Organized to Do More Work in Less Time (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Guillaume, Y. R., Dawson, J. F., Otaye?Ebede, L., Woods, S. A., & West, M. A. (2017). Harnessing demographic differences in organisations: What moderates the effects of workplace diversity? Journal of Organizational Behaviour, 38(2), 276-303.

Keller, J., Wen, E. C., & Leung, A. (2018). How national culture influences individuals’ subjective experience with paradoxical tensions. Cross-Cultural & Strategic Management, 25(3), 443-467.

Lantz-Friedrich, A., Sjöberg, A., & Friedrich, P. (2016). Leaned teamwork fattens workplace innovation: The relationship between task complexity, team learning and team proactivity. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 25(4), 561-569.

Meslec, N., & Cur?eu, P. L. (2015). Are balanced groups better? Belbin roles in collaborative learning groups. Learning and Individual Differences, 39, 81-88.

predominant in their culture and matched their skills.

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