Subject & Code Essay Example
Learning and Integrated Reflection
In the modern-day complex project, project managers are expected to demonstrate and maintain professional competence to ensure they have an efficiently coordinated work environment and project outcomes (Balsanelli & Cunha, I2014). They have to show effective leadership through effective communication, conflict management skills, emotional intelligence, and critical negotiation skills. They also need to manage organisational culture, build and manage effective teams, and emerge as creative leaders (Alghamdi, 2014; Tiri et al. 2015). The course proved to be exploratory in nature, as I had an opportunity to explore these areas through the lectures and personal studies. This course proved to be a completely new experience for me both from the perspective of learning about leadership in project management and improving my leadership competence in managing projects.
In Week 2, I learned that leadership begins with me. At the end of this week, I was able to identify my leadership strengths and weaknesses and some basic self-management skills. I learned that self-management and self-knowledge are significant cornerstones of effective leadership. The strength of leadership emanates from the strength of knowledge regarding self, in addition to personal principles and visions. I found this to be particularly true. Indeed on reflection, once I have found that once I know about myself and my core strengths and weaknesses, it becomes possible to empathy toward others.
Still, effective communication is also critical for a project manager, particularly when dealing with stakeholders. Fortunately, Week 4 lectures provided me with an opportunity to learn about effective communication and stakeholder engagement. The core skills I developed during this week included how to be an active listener or to understand others through verbal and non-verbal communication cues. I was also exposed to different techniques that could be used to engage stakeholders and to inspire their trust. One vital message I picked from this lecture included the idea that effective communication skills can ensure that project managers and leaders can effectively interact with stakeholders, plan for a project, and coordinate all pertinent project management activities.
However, in my experience as a member of project management, I have occasionally witnessed that despite how effective a communication process is, conflicts will often come about when dealing with stakeholders from diverse backgrounds. This area of interest was tackled in Week 5. During this week, I learned about the modes of conflict resolution. I also learned about negative and positive conflicts and how to resolve and manage conflicts. I learned that conflict management processes should be treated cautiously, as it can either make or break relationships. On reflection, successful conflict resolution processes have often helped in encouraging trust and an open communication environment in teams. Therefore, the ideas learned in lecture only served to strengthen this knowledge, although I also admit that my knowledge on conflict resolution was wanting. Knowledge learned in this week will particularly be helpful in future, particularly as I will be dealing with people with diverse interests in projects. After the lectures, I have become more comfortable dealing with groups without fear that any slight conflict can break the team.
At this level, I should admit that I have developed some significant negotiation skills that can help in conflict resolution, particularly when trying to bring together people with different interests. In the contemporary globalised work environments, projects are performed by employees drawn from diverse backgrounds with high levels of cultural distance, which collectively triggers organisational and interpersonal conflict (Maruyama et al. 2015; Burke 2007; van de Vijve et al. 2011, p.510). Fortunately, we addressed the issue of successful negotiation in Week 6.
In Week 6, we were exposed to critical negotiation skills that a project manager should have. I learned about how to get to win-win alongside practical negotiation strategies. The topic for this week was particularly interesting, as I have always considered myself to be a negotiator. Therefore, I expected the topic for this week to point me in the right direction toward being an effective negotiator – not just being a negotiator. During the lectures, it dawned on me that perhaps the reason I have always passed myself as a negotiator is that of the persuasive skills that I use.
In Week 7, we were taken through the different types of organisational culture. At the end of the lecture, I was confident that I had learned about the effects of organisational culture and how it could be enhanced. However, this is still theoretical at this level as I am yet to get actively engaged in organisational culture management. Still, I expect that the knowledge I gained from this lectures would be significant in future. I learned that within an organisational setting, culture could be viewed using both interpersonal and organisational lens. Organisational culture literature shows that cultural values are significant determinants of conflict resolution, such that when employees from diverse cultures interact, interpersonal conflicts are expected on condition that cohesive interactions are encouraged through a positive organisational culture that stimulates positive emotions like trust and enthusiasm (Gunkela et al. 2016, p.1). At this rate, despite the varied cultural paradigms that I become exposed to, I learned certain positive traits could be used to facilitate and improve culture and organisational climate, yet some unconstructive traits can break an organisation. For instance, it becomes obvious to me that an organisation that enjoys a culture of trust and strongly encourages openness while communicating is likely to experience a situation where people share the same aspirations and goals and work toward attaining organisational objectives. Despite having a strong organisational culture, I believe that an organisation should have a leader who inspires trust and realisation of organisational objectives. From what I have learned since week 2, I believe that this can be accomplished by having a leader who is emotionally intelligent. In other words, emotional intelligence is critical for any organisation.
In Week 8, we learned about emotional intelligence and leadership styles. While I had previously read about emotional intelligence and even tried to conceive its true meaning, I must admit that it was until this week’s lectures that I started to appreciate it as an important component of leadership. Emotional intelligence has been proved to minimise conflict situations in organisations. As Mulki et al. (2015) states, emotional intelligence helps in regulation of personal emotions, hence playing a role in reducing interpersonal conflicts. It is made up of four fundamental dimensions that I found to be practical. These include evaluating and expressing emotions through self-awareness, appraising, and recognising other’s emotions, self-regulating emotions, and improving performance by applying the right emotions (Alghamdi 2014, p. 361). I learned that it had some ties to Week 2, particularly as it was concerned with having self-awareness. With knowledge of emotional intelligence, I was confident that I would effectively build and manage a team and even look forward to this opportunity. Fortunately, week 9 provided an opportunity to explore further into building effective teams.
In Week 9, we were exposed to knowledge on building and managing effective teams. I learned about the different team roles. This knowledge was new to me. I also learned about stakeholder relationships that facilitate project success. This was not new, as we had earlier been taught about stakeholder management in week 4. I also learned that an important tactic to build an effective team is to inspire members of the team and to ensure they stay motivated. An important concept I picked during this week is that all team members have to be aligned to team goals. In other words, a team will only become effective when team members forfeit their personal goals and aspire to achieve team goals. I learned that building a team is not as difficult as maintain that team. It needs creative leadership. Fortunately, we were taught about creative leadership in week 10.
In week 10, we learned about innovation and creative leadership. While I expected much from this topic, I was a little disappointed that I did not learn much about how to become a creative leader by incorporating creativity and innovation in leadership. I believe this is one particular area that I need to explore further in self-study. I learned that while it is easy to expect that one can easily use creativity to influence and motivate others or in problem-solving, it is not easy in practice, particularly in organisational settings that are entrenched in some politics where a leader can face stiff opposition due to power struggles. Luckily, week 11 dealt with some aspects of politics that were helpful.
In week 11, we learned about ethics and politics and how a project manager can pass up as a politician. This was an interesting week because of much anxiety regarding how to gain and wield power in organisations. From my experience, it is almost impossible to work in an environment that lacks some aspects of a power struggle. Therefore, I was pleased that at the end of the lecture, I could tell between position power and personal power, understand organisational politics and identify and effectively manage, though theoretically, power struggle. I expect that with this knowledge, I would become an effective project manager who passes up as a politician and has a capacity to prevail over the client or executive management to provide sufficient resources or influence the choices of others. I came to realise that while I have often practiced politics in organisations using persuasion to influence the choice of others, I was unaware that I was being political.
At the end of the week 11, I have learned that self-management and self-knowledge are significant cornerstones of effective leadership. I have also come to appreciate that effective communication skills can ensure that project managers and leaders can effectively engage with stakeholders. At the same time, successful conflict resolution processes can encourage trust and an open communication environment in teams. Emotional intelligence and positive organisational traits can also facilitate and improve culture and organisational climate, yet some unconstructive traits can break an organisation. Overall, I have become more comfortable dealing with groups without fear that any slight conflict can break the team. I have become more confident that I can effectively build and manage project teams that drawn members from diverse backgrounds. However, I still need to learn more about innovation and creative leadership.
Alghamdi, F 2014, “The role of Trait Emotional Intelligence in Individual Performance: A Descriptive Study in Albaha University, Saudi Arabia,” Journal of Service Science and Management vol 7, pp. 361-367.
Balsanelli, A & Cunha, I 2014, “The work environment and leadership in nursing: an integrative review,” Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, vol 48 no 5.
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