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IE Business School
Professor: Ignacio Alvarez de Mon
Catarina Alves de Almeida Justino - Section F1
Margaret Thatcher once said, “What is success. I think it is a mixture of having a flair for the thing you are doing, knowing that it is not enough, that you have got to have hard work and a certain sense of purpose.” Nowadays, we live in such a competitive era that people only care about achievements and recognition. However, not everyone is conscious of what it takes to achieve such difficult things. In my opinion, in order to achieve success, people should properly define themselves first. For this reason, throughout this essay, I will reflect about my own personal and professional experience so far and link it with the concepts learned during the Organizational Behavior course, mainly self-management, leadership and motivation, in order to perceive the positive and negative impact of my decision making process. By the end of my self-reflection, I expect to come up with an action plan to be followed and adjusted in the future. The paper “Managing Oneself” by Peter Drucker, states that with all the opportunities available, people need to focus on guiding themselves in order to achieve their greatest objectives. Nonetheless, it is essential for everyone to understand that developing their soft skills to the maximum is as important as excelling in analytical and comprehensive areas. The author considers that, in order to achieve merit, people should reflect about five important questions. The first question one should think about is: “What are my strengths?”. In order to answer this the author suggests to conduct a feedback analysis, which is basically evaluating the results obtained from key decisions taken in life and comparing them to what was expected beforehand. Personally, I have evaluated the outcomes from the two most important choices I made in my academic and professional life until now. In the first place, the decision of moving to Uruguay for six months. Since the beginning of my bachelor’s degree, I have always wanted to do an exchange program. However, at first, the destination was not completely defined, I just knew I wanted to go outside Europe. When the time came, I ended up choosing to apply to go to Uruguay in order to learn another language and experience a new culture. In the end, it certainly was the greatest experience I have ever had in terms of personal development. My communication skills improved and I became less shy, more independent and street smart. Secondly, deciding whether I should try to have some work experience between the bachelor and master degree or not was also a very important decision in my life as, nowadays, in Portugal, the status quo is clearly to follow the academic path after graduating. However, as I have never been a risk averse person, I opted by pausing the studies for a year. In general, my work experience made me more confident, responsible and aware of the impact my attitudes have on others. Additionally, it widened my professional network and, by working with people from all over the world, it assured me that I wanted to pursue an international career. The main conclusion I take from my short feedback analysis is that being open-minded and daring can bring new and beneficial opportunities. However, it is important to be deliberate and keep in mind that risky decisions not always achieve positive outcomes. Besides, motivation theories state that we are partially the result of our past. For this reason, I believe that conducting a feedback analysis and reflecting about the outcomes of our decisions and experiences are key in order to perceive which areas we need to improve and which we can benefit from. Personally, I have realized that ambition, commitment, persistence, openness to others and good communication skills are my strengths and stubbornness, anxiousness and impulsiveness are part of my weaknesses. Then, the paper suggests us to reflect about how do we work best. In my opinion, a combination of both individual and team work is the best way to achieve the most efficient outcomes. Therefore, in order to achieve the desired results, I usually opt to, firstly, research, read and make some drafts by myself, and then discuss my thoughts with the team. Furthermore, when working in groups, inevitably, some members are perceived as leaders and others as advisers. Even though I believe that both roles are equally important, I usually tend to position myself more as a leader than an adviser. According to the article “What Leaders Really Do” by John P. Kotter, being a leader is different than being a manager. Leaders set directions, align and motivate people, while managers simply plan strategies, organize the staff and solve problems. Furthermore, the paper “What Makes a Leader?” by psychologist Daniel Goleman says that being capable of recognizing emotions, labelling people appropriately according to their feelings and use this kind of information as a behavioral guide is the ultimate condition to achieve leadership. The article focus on the emotional intelligence components a leader should have. These are: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Even though I am confident that my competences in the emotional intelligence field will still improve in the future, I already feel very comfortable with my level of self-regulation and empathy. The next question to be answered is “What are my values?”. The answer to this question is essential for people to identify what matters to them when coming across with difficult choices. My core values are respect and equality. These comprise my ideals and beliefs and influence my way of thinking and behave on a daily basis. According to the self-fulfilling prophecy, our outcomes are pre-determined by our beliefs and behaviors. Therefore, it is my belief that in order to assure we move in the right direction, it is essential to precisely define our values. For me, it would be unbearable to work in an organization that discriminates people based on their gender or ethnicity. Moving on, Peter Drucker asks people to reflect about where they belong. For me, the best work environment would be one in which people performed with accuracy with efficiency maximization as their main goal without trying to pass over each other. Also, it is quite important that everyone can identify with, at least, one co-worker with whom they can socialize during the breaks or after work. The last question asked in the text is “How can I contribute?”. After my personal reflection above, I consider that by recognizing my strengths, weaknesses and how to deal with them, I will perform better and deliver an optimal contribution to my team. Moreover, McClelland suggests that there is a dark and a bright side of motivation. I agree with this theory in the sense that, in order to be self-motivated, one should think positively and aim for reaching the bright side – achievement, power and affiliation – instead of staying in the dark – failure, vulnerability and loneliness. The dominant factor’s theory can be applied to my own personal experience. While I was working at BNP Paribas, even though I didn’t feel motivated by the job itself, being part of a good team, playing an important role within it and conquering my bosses’ respect were my main reasons not to give up. As a conclusion, my self-reflecting analysis motivated me to define an action plan to follow in my future personal and professional life. I will start applying the feedback analysis in every decision I take so I can to be able to evaluate the main takeaways, detect what went right and what should be improved. Also, I expect to keep on being true to my values and beliefs and operate according to them. Finally, my main goal from now on is to develop myself by taking advantage from my strengths and not focus too much on my weaknesses, as the “Managing Oneself” paper mentions: “(…) only when you operate from strengths can you achieve true – and lasting - excellence.”