This had to first lead myself. The planning of

This report portrays those observations
that have particularly impacted me over this module. This enabled me to analyse
and reflect on to improve my short, mid and long-term development. The reason
for the analysis and reflection of these observations is to ‘effectively engage
with the graduate employability agenda, in order to recognise the importance of a wider skill set than the narrow generic
skill list’ (Bridgstock 2009). The aim of this report is to emphasise key approaches
I have understood in this module which has impacted my understanding of myself
as a learner and future employee. In this way, I will examine three crucial
approaches: the importance of self-awareness for leadership, career management
and the mind-set required for adversity. I will conclude this by using
reflection and flexible thinking via these approaches to develop a range of
practical, analytical and interactive skills and behaviours necessary to thrive
as a WBS student and future employee.

 

‘Leadership is the behaviour of
an individual when he is directing the activities of a group toward a shared
goal’ (Hemphill & Coons, 1957). From my experiences leading the group
project I had found that to lead others, I had to first lead myself. The
planning of our new presentation was somewhat chaotic and disorganised due to a
lack of leadership and synergy within the group. At this point I had taken it
upon myself to explain to the group a clear outline of what needs to be done at
different stages of the project (see
appendix 1, week 9). By leading the group through the different stages, I
was able to identify key strengths of mine such as confidence, positivity and
responsibility but also valuing the different qualities within my team. I was
able to act upon this by assigning tasks to individuals that where most suited but
more importantly they believed in themselves they would excel too. Having identified
my own key strengths, I then made a greater emphasis on them to improve my
leadership skills. For example, in the upcoming week of the presentation, many
of us in the group where stressed due to upcoming tests. In this case I drew
upon my key strengths of positivity and responsibility to plan group meetings
in relaxed communal areas and to keep the group consistently updated in order
to release tension and improve cohesiveness (see appendix 1, week 8).

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Analysing my role as a leader, I have understood self-awareness to be of
great importance in improving my leadership skills throughout the project (see
appendix 1, week 4). As Goyder states, ‘you have to be aware of and able to
lead yourself before you can effectively lead others’ (2014,pp.24). Furthermore,
the key strengths I had identified throughout the group project were also
strengths I had previously possessed when captaining my secondary school rugby
team. However, at that moment I was never aware of my key strengths. Although
if I were, it could have significantly improved myself as a captain. Goyder
(2014) and Bassot (2016) reemphasised this point as they outlined that humans
carry out actions without thinking, because nature doesn’t require us to think
about it. However, if we learn to focus our attention on these details it may
develop new pathways which may benefit emotional behavioural awareness and even
impulse awareness.

 

From this experience and my readings, I have understood that I may not
always be aware of my thoughts, feelings or actions. Hence, if I was to take a
leadership approach at WBS or as a future employee, I have learnt that I must
ground myself and pay specific attention to detail within, so that I am able to
develop the awareness to recognise my thoughts, feelings and strengths. In
order to develop this approach of self-awareness to coincide with my leadership
skills I have begun to use meditation.

 

Bridgestock (2009) defined
career management as ‘the abilities required to proactively navigate the
working world and successfully manage the career building process’. At the
beginning of this module, I perceived that in order to thrive in my career
management it must heavily involve in-depth knowledge of my desired job and
industry. However, this perception was proven wrong when undertaking the group
project for graduate capital. Throughout this project, I was introduced to the
graduate capital model which consisted of five different capitals. This had
taught me that my emphasis on subject specific knowledge to be pivotal in optimising
my career management was somewhat exaggerated. In hindsight, I learnt that most
employers are looking for well-rounded students with core skills in a range of
competencies. This became significantly apparent when I was applying for ‘spring
weeks’ at investment banks. Throughout the application process I had to differentiate
myself aside from academics as most students applying had achieved equally or
better academic results. Hence in this case I had to draw upon my competencies
and qualities in all five capitals. For example, I mentioned I represented
Barbados in the Commonwealth Youth Summit enabling me to articulate sound
arguments and counter arguments, thus drawing upon my social capital.

 

Bridgestock (2009) highlights the
importance of building career management via four main skills: discipline
specific, generic, self-management and career building skills. This is because
she emphasises that graduates must be able to adapt to change, as there is
increasing evidence many career structures involving a linear progression
through one organisation are becoming rare. ‘Careers are no longer adequately
depicted by vertical advancement with an organisation’ (Bridgestock 2009). Thus,
in order to develop my career management at WBS and my future career I must be
able to adapt and progress through these four main skills.

 

In order to develop each of
the four aspects of career management I have begun to do the following.
Firstly, to expand subject specific knowledge in the field of finance, I have
made it a routine to read the Financial Times provided by WBS. This enables my
expertise of the sector to expand and also keeps me updated with the evolving labour
market. Secondly, in order to grow generic skills, I believe it can be grown
from your surroundings. This is because I believe the development of my
character is a reflection of other characters in my environment (See appendix
1, week 2). Hence if generic skills are known to be transferrable, one of the
best ways is to learn are from others. Therefore, to develop this skill I have
been attending events and fixtures of my societies and sport clubs to interact
with different perspectives and cultures. Thirdly to develop self-management I
must relate to the appraisal of my values, abilities, interests and goals. In
this case I use mediation on a daily basis to improve my self-awareness as
stated previously. Fourthly, to build my career building skills I have attended
meetings held by the WBS careers team which have advised me on how to exploit
career opportunities such as applying for ‘spring weeks’ and ‘summer
internships’ to gain advancement before I enter the graduate market place.

 

The third approach which I have
understood in this module is to have a correct mind-set in times of adversity.
This came apparent when my group presented our practice presentation. After the
presentation, we had found
ourselves significantly behind other groups due to a lack of time
management, visual presence and cohesiveness (See appendix 1, week 7). At this
point we had found ourselves back to the beginning. This was a difficult time
for the group and I, as tensions were high which often resulted in a clash of
opinions (see appendix 1, week 8). However, in order to overcome this time of adversity,
I had learnt it was best to put our differences aside and to respond positively
to the challenge ahead. In doing so, we used the feedback as a platform to
learn and progress forward, which then enabled us to evaluate the progress of
each stage with confidence.

 

Yeager and
Dweck (2012) highlight that the ability to adapt and respond positively to challenges
and threats can determine one’s resilience which is a key mind-set to occupy in
times of adversity. This is further elaborated as they outline two implicit
theories of intelligence – entity and incremental. The two theories portray
contrasting mind-sets which may result to different achievements and
accomplishments. Moreover, Yeager and Dweck promote the adoption of an
incremental mind-set where one sees, ‘it is a world of opportunities to
improve.’ Therefore, if my group and I did adopt this mind-set from the
beginning of our problems, we could have prevented wasting time arguing and
used the criticism to learn and grow efficiently and effectively.

 

I have
understood that the promotion of resilience may shape my mind-set to adopt a
more positive outlook in times of adversity. This may then improve my ability
to adapt and overcome difficult problems as a learner and future employee. In
order to develop my incremental mind-set, I have begun to read certain
biographies such as Simon Cowell’s and Steve Jobs’. These two men were known to
struggle with poverty early in their careers. However, in their times of
adversity they explained how they preserved and overcame their issues, hence,
showing great examples of resilience. With keeping their stories in mind, it is
likely to boost my morale in difficult times. Thus, by adopting a strong
mind-set of resilience, I will be best equipped to overcome any moment of
adversity at WBS and my future career.

 

In conclusion, this logical
process of evaluating these approaches has been invaluable in shaping my temperament
to optimise myself as a learner and future employee. More specifically, I have
been able to better understand my strengths, values and thoughts. This has increased
my self-awareness of leadership skills, and has shown me how to adapt and differentiate
myself to relish the most out of all opportunities given. One outcome of
identifying these approaches is that I am more self-assured in recognising and enhancing
my own character and behaviours. I believe this will improve the flexibility of
my personal qualities in my future career, helping me to feel more confident to
adapt to whatever environment I may face.

 

Finally, while this process of
analysing key approaches has allowed me to reflect on my past behaviours, it
has also inspired me on how to develop methods to reinforce my academic and
professional development. Having understood the importance of self-reflection
and awareness to develop skills of leadership, career management and resilience,
I can now hone these skills to deliver outstanding results as an individual and
as a part of a team.