I. Introduction: The purpose of this assignment is to give you an opportunity to spend a little time thinking about your unique strengths and how they might be leveraged to help you achieve your professional goals. To help with this you will think back and reflect upon a situation at work when you were at your “personal best.”
Imagine for this assignment that you are competing for a management position and have been asked to submit a number of materials as part of your application package. You notice the potential employer is asking for two things you have not seen requested for previous jobs. These unusual requests make you even more interested in the position. You realize you are going to need to do some good research to make sure you understand what is required and that your package stands out among the many others you have heard this employer will be receiving.
One of the things your potential employer asks you to include in your application package is a brief description of a situation or situations when you performed at your personal best. The guidance the employer gives says it is important that you explain and defend your assertion with good supporting evidence. It also says if you are selected for an interview you should expect that references will be asked to verify the strength or strengths you list. You understand that this means that whatever you write should be something others with whom, and for whom, you work would be likely to say about you rather than just your self-perceived strengths.
You feel fortunate you are pursuing your MBA degree and recall reading a brief description of scholarly work on creating positive work environments. For employees, you remember reading about a concept referred to as “reflected best-self.” You realize you are going to need to learn more about this so you first remind yourself of what Robbins and Judge (2016) have said about this and then, because they just offer a brief summary, look at the articles they cite. You notice Robbins and Judge cite two particular articles, one in a popular business magazine (Harvard Business Review*) and one in a scholarly journal (Academy of Management Review). Because you are pursuing your graduate degree, you know that it is better to rely on scholarly than popular sources. You also notice that these articles were published in 2005 so you realize it might be good to see if you can find more recent research and/or scholarly discussions about how a person can discover and describe her/his “best self” in an appropriate format for an application package.
The second unusual thing this potential employer asks you to do is to include and explain at least one SMART goal with your application package. To qualify as SMART your goal must be:
specific and significant;
measurable, meaningful and motivating;
realistic, results-oriented, relevant; and
Given that you are applying for a managerial position, you realize that your potential employer is interested in your ability to: a) recognize knowledge and skill areas you will need to develop more fully and b) craft goals that will help you do so.
You also realize that the employer will be most interested in goals having to do with your personal leadership skills. You know from your MBA studies this includes such things as: relating well with others, communicating effectively (including active listening), recognizing and valuing individual needs and differences, working well in teams (in whatever role is needed including knowing when and how to be a good follower), using the best conflict approach for particular situations and followers, making effective decisions, and knowing what it takes to create and nurture a healthy organizational culture and climate.
III. Summary of Deliverable:
Before the end of week 1, post your contribution as a new thread to the discussion topic entitled “Personal Understanding and Development.” Include an explanation of your “best self” and of the SMART goal you would share with this imagined potential employer. While you might not do this for a document in an actual application package, because this is an academic assignment, you must include citations to work you have read that helped you understand what is being requested and you must also include a reference list at the end of your post. As is true for all discussion assignments this semester, please be sure to copy and paste directly into the LEO text box rather than using an attachment.
While not required, cohort members are welcome to post constructive suggestions for their colleagues if they so choose.
Note that the information shared in this post, along with your biographies, may be helpful when working with your teams this semester.
*Note re Harvard Business Review (HBR) – This is certainly a reputable magazine for practicing managers. Two issues make it better for you avoid using HBR for academic writing. One is that the articles are not double blind reviewed, which is the norm for good academic journals. Rather, articles are selected by an editorial board and are professionally edited. The second reason to avoid relying on HBR for academic writing is that the authors do not include citations to the work of others who have studied, researched, and written about the same topics. This is why HBR is NOT on our list of permitted scholarly journals. please use these references if needed:
Browne, M.N., & Keeley, S.M. (2012). Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson. (Review)
Robbins, S.P., & Judge, T.A. (2016). Essentials of organizational behavior. (13th ed.) Boston: Pearson Education. Chapters 1, 3, and 6 (section re biases).