Please prepare a reflective essay that consists of the following three parts:
Please prepare a reflective essay that consists of the following three parts:
a. Reflect on your own skills and abilities as an aspiring manager and identify what are your key strengths and weaknesses.
b. Identify and discuss which 3 of the skills discussed in this module (i.e. problem-solving, developing self-awareness, motivation & empowerment, ability to work effectively in groups, communication skills, managing power and conflict, successfully leading change) you would personally like to further develop so as to be a successful manager.
c. Explain why, drawing on relevant theories.
You should start with a brief introduction that states what and how you are going to answer the essay Qs. You should continue answering each of the three essay questions in a critical, reflective, logical and well-referenced manner, including the use of examples.
QA. Provide a reflective account of your 3-4 key strengths and 3-4 key weaknesses as relating to your potential role as a manager. Here you should draw on the literature on managerial work (Taylor, Fayol, Weber, Follett, Barnard, Urwick, Mintzberg, Stewart) to link your reflective account with existing definitions of managerial work.
QB. You should then identify 3 skills among those listed in the essay question (i.e. problem-solving, developing self-awareness, motivation & empowerment, ability to work effectively in groups, communication skills, managing power and conflict, successfully leading change) that you would like to develop further in order to be a successful future manager. This may relate to either strengths that you have that you may want to develop further or weaknesses that you would like to address. For instance, you may say that you want to improve your self-awareness so that you better understand how you behave towards others, what biases you may have or improve your self-confidence and as a result improve your relationship with those working with you and become a better leader. Or you could say that you would like to learn how to improve your ability to motivate and empower others so that you can manage teams more effectively. You should creatively answer the question on skills drawing on the literature on these skills (i.e. see weekly readings on problem-solving, developing self-awareness, motivation & empowerment, ability to work effectively in groups, communication skills, managing power and conflict, successfully leading change) and provide examples from your own behavior and relating to your developmental needs. You should make good use of references from the theories underpinning these skills.
QC. Last but not least, you should explain why it is important to develop these skills and in what ways the development of these skills would make you a better manager.
You should finish the essay with a conclusion and summary of your key arguments.
These are the things I appreciate and expect in an essay:
1. A well-structured essay (intro, main text, conclusions – logical transition from one theme/paragraph to another – good arguments – no typos etc). Please use the wonderful essay writing resources the School offers such as our Academic Writing Tutor, Ms Kyla Sankey [Office hours: 1-5 pm, Bancroft 4.13]
2. Display critical/creative/reflective thinking
3. Offer solid justification for any claims/arguments
4. Good and extensive referencing of relevant theories/articles
5. Theories should reflect things covered in this module – so I will be looking for evidence that you draw on the module readings
You can organise your essay in 2 ways:
A. Either talk about your 3-4 key strengths and 3-4 weaknesses first all in one paragraph (these strengths and weaknesses need to be relevant to the 3 skills you want to develop) and then talk more extensively about the 3 skills that you wish to develop in 3 separate paragraphs (e.g. one big paragraph per skill)
B. Or have one extended paragraph where you talk about one strength and one weakness and the first related skill you want to develop and then a second extended paragraph where you talk about another strength and another weakness and the second related skill you want to develop and finally a third extended paragraph where you talk about another strength and another weakness and the third related skill you want to develop.
So for instance assuming there are 3 skills that you need to develop (motivation; problem-solving and conflicts). You could say:
-my first strength is that I am easily motivated, my first weaknesses is that I do not easily motivate others and the skill I want to develop further is my ability for motivation and empowerment and develop this into an extended paragraph
-my second strength is that I am good at analytical problem-solving, my second weakness is that I am not good at creative problem-solving and the second set of skills I want to develop is my problem-solving skills and develop this into an extended paragraph
– my third strength is that I am good at conflict management, my second weakness is that I tend to avoid conflict and suppress my own views and I want to develop is my conflict management skills and develop this into an extended paragraph
(THE ABOVE IS AN EXAMPLE – DO NOT USE THESE IN YOUR ESSAY – YOU ARE EXPECTED TO TALK ABOUT YOUR OWN STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES!)
This is a recommended structure and either of these or any other format that has a good flow, allows smooth transition from one theme/paragraph to another and carefully responds to the essay questions is acceptable.
In option A you do not necessarily need to cite references in the paragraph where you discuss about your strengths and weaknesses, however you are expected to cite lots of references right after when you talk about the 3 skills in the paragraphs that follow.
In option B, since the strengths and weaknesses and the skills are blended in one paragraph per skill then you need to cite references in each of these paragraphs.
VERY IMPORTANT! WHAT THEORIES TO USE
Essentially parts B & C of the assignment are about the same things.
When I ask you to “explain the skills drawing on theories”, I mean theories we discussed in the weeks we covered the various management skills. Essentially you are expected to cite for each of the 3 skills some theory or theories relating to that specific skill (so for the skill of motivation talk about theory x & y or Maslow, for the skill of managing power & conflict talk about French & Raven’s bases of power etc).
-In the introduction you could use a couple of references from the self-awareness literature to discuss how important it is to know your strengths and weaknesses and seek to develop your skills.
-Somewhere in the essay (either early on or blended within the skills discussion) you need to explain in 3-4 sentences what the role of a manager involves(e.g. draw on the work of Taylor, Stewart, Barnard, Mintzberg etc). You can either use only Taylor or Mintzberg or Stewart etc or can combine aspects of managerial worked described by these authors to illustrate the different types of roles you are expected to do as a manager. BUT as I say, this should only be 3-4 sentences. The bulk of your references should be about the different skills such as motivation, communication, managing power and conflict etc
REFERENCES –REFERENCES: Please use extensively references in your essay and remember that this is an academic submission, so you need to use theories and have substance in your submission – do not use websites and blogs as references! Blogs are not academic references. Also, you should avoid citing my slides but look instead for the original references in anything you wish to cite and draw on the material of the textbook.
If you want to read the full study from a reference I cite in my slideset then you can quickly identify it by referring to it in the textbook. I normally cite on the slide where each theory or quote comes from. For most of my slides, the references I draw on come from the Whetten & Cameron textbook and you can find the full references by going to the end of the textbook. There, there is a complete list of references used throughout the textbook organised per chapter and you should draw on that great resource to identify references related to the topic you are discussing. So, all you need to do is identify the chapter(s) of that particular week of the slideset and see the full reference list under that chapter at the end of the textbook.
How to cite references?
– Please cite quotes in the text as follows: “…text…” (Mintzberg, 1973, p. 54)
– When you paraphrase something you read (i.e. when you do not use an exact quote, then you cite only as follows (Mintzberg, 1973) without the page number
– In either case you need to mention the study where a theory or an idea comes from
– At the end of your essay you need to include the complete reference list (bibliography).