PERSONAL & PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

INTRODUCTION

From a personal standpoint, skills are an individual’s capabilities gained through personal experiences, training & development to accomplish tasks or solve problems proficiently. These are also developed from good habits through time & continuous process. Whether utilized personally for the betterment of daily life or professionally to provide career growth or financial gain, skills must be developed satisfactorily as they provide strength & expertise to a person. Both facets of an individual’s life can be reinforced by recognizing appropriate skills first on a personal level then nurturing them to be translated to professional skills. Through these, management skills arise in which a person’s capabilities are applied for the benefit of his profession or particular role. These skills are necessary for the individual to control & govern his area of concentration to the right path or whatever field of endeavor he is involved in.

1.2 METHOD OF PERSONAL SKILLS EVALUATION

When we talk about skills, we pay attention to the process of refinement. To do this, it is essential to acknowledge first the strengths that are beneficial to a person then the weaknesses to identify what undermines him. Skills can be invigorated for an individual to be personally & professionally effective. A person’s household is his primary area for enhancement through routine which is habit-forming. Therefore, a personal assessment is expedient for an individual to utilize his skills favorably.

Personal skills are enhanced through time significantly commencing from the moment an individual acquires the fundamentals of learning. Although these can be developed unconsciously from an early age, a person can always look back to a certain point of his life to discern when & where it all began. To what extent it could be developed is dependent upon an individual’s motivation & personal goals. It is also pertinent to make good use of opportunities as these serve as an avenue of resources for personal & professional development.

Basing on my perception, skills are essentially developed with various elements like household, education, peers, profession & environment. Identifying personal strengths are contributory to developing & assessing personal skills to a great advantage.

1.2.1 ASSESSMENT OF PERSONAL SKILLS

1.2.1.1 TIME MANAGEMENT

Every facet of my daily life is subservient to how my time is made use of. If time is utilized efficiently, it results to productivity in different levels & favorable outcomes in varying degrees. As I am an individual who has to deal with varied roles, time management is the most critical factor for me in achieving my goals. These include my objective of being a reliable employee, a diligent student, a dutiful wife & most importantly a responsible mother.

I am able to manage my time day by day by setting out my priorities first then identifying what are the best means of accomplishing them. A poorly planned schedule or not having one at all is contingent to failure. Multitasking is a confederate of time management for me & these two benefit me to a great extent. One tangible tool that has been very effective to me personally is keeping an annual planner. This serves as my checklist & helps me keep track of my time management performance.

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“It is generally true that we do not devote enough time to find better ways of doing things. Make the time to review what you could improve in your work & your life, & then take action” (Ali et al, 2002).

1.2.1.2 DECISION MAKING

Success for me is immensely influenced by good decision making & is proportionate to favorable consequences. Otherwise, it results to the exact opposite. That is why in making decisions, I consider certain factors corresponding to every particular level to ensure that the process is successful & beneficial. To be an effective decision maker, I always need to identify the problem & to what extent it might personally affect me.

I find it necessary to know what are my chances of succeeding & available options of recovery when I fail. It is very essential to realize the level of consequence & impact it may result in my life. Whatever problem or issue that may arise, rational thinking has always been co-existent in my decision making. I find support by considering sound advice from other people & mentors or analyzing identical scenarios in the past. Being a natural risk taker also helps me come up with the best decisions.

“An individual needs to generate as many ideas as possible. This provides a list of good alternatives to select from. It also helps to solicit input from others who can have more ideas & different perspectives to share” (Buhler, 2001 p51).

1.2.1.3 EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION

One of the greatest barriers in achieving my objective could be the absence of ample communication skills. There are various ways that each individual uniquely communicates & every situation requires a dynamic way of adapting to it. For me, effective communication imparts precise & compelling messages. The dynamic use & enhancement of communication skills are vital for me to carry on with my activities as a professional & social person. I am capable of accomplishing my tasks at work, school & home through effective communication.

“This involves the ability to communicate with all people involved, and using language that those on the receiving end will be able to understand & respond to” (Pettinger, 2001 p228).

Learning is a lifelong process & so is communication. There are several means of improving communication skills & is proven to provide magnanimous results. I can say that for communication to be considered effective it must be saying the right words at the right time for the right purpose. Constant practice, worthwhile reading & interacting with others are contributory to effective communication. These may be properly utilized both in my personal & professional career. The most recent tool for my personal development in effective communication is undergoing the IELTS (International

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English Language Testing System) training that gives me competitive qualification for my post-graduate education & career development.

1.3 EVALUATION TECHNIQUES IN ASTRAZENECA

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals Incorporated is a global company that ensures all employees evolve as competitive & motivated individuals. Certain measures are enforced by the company in maintaining self-reliant & contented employees. These techniques serve as specific tools to evaluate professional development. The outcome of these techniques are elemental to employee performance.

These are done through one-on-one professional review with managers using coaching forms, employee self-appraisal questionnaires & feedback system to determine whether management evaluation result is at par with the employees assessment of himself. Aside from meeting the financial expectations of every member, it continuously provides all departments a robust range of skills enhancement undertakings & counseling that nurture work & life balance while leveling up employees to greater range of competence.

A grading system was developed to quantify the professional skills evaluation to a certain level but still involves objective & qualitative mechanics as well. It starts with A grade equivalent to beginners or those who meet company expectation but do not exceed it. The D grade reflects expertise or significant advancement. From this foundation, certain factors are required for employees’ learning & development as leaders. These “leaders” could further develop other leaders through mentoring of their fellow workers.

1.3.1 ASSESSMENT OF PROFESSIONAL SKILLS

1.3.1.1 COACHING SKILLS

This skill is most evident in the sales & marketing department of AstraZeneca. Although coaching process is highly regarded for each member of the organization in different

levels, it is a constant process for all frontline employees to undergo coaching. Since sales & marketing people are considered the warriors in the field, they are mostly susceptible to the dynamism & diversity of the pharmaceutical clientele. Each working day poses a different scenario that could not be predicted. That is why coaching is being done through classroom instruction, module completion & actual coaching activity of managers to frontline employees during working hours. Afterwards, an evaluation is essential to assess strengths & weaknesses of employees to identify the areas to be empowered or improved further. To be effective in this skill, managers themselves who provide the coaching skills follow stringent training & development process.

1.3.1.2 LEADERSHIP SKILLS

AstraZeneca is steadfast in ensuring that every employee is a leader in his own right. It follows a rigorous process of training, evaluation & improvement to achieve this objective. It lays down specific measures for each employee to emulate. This organization believes that being a leader is having great passion in its advocacy – valuing life & health. From this exudes the sense of responsibility in bringing the best products & service to the customers. Strategic thinking, on the other hand, drives each employee to identify main concerns & take necessary steps related to his role. This further develops effective decision making without primarily seeking for reinforcement. Leadership is taking full accountability to the role at hand whereby an employee sets a high standard for himself but requires feedback to assess if this standard is met. This organization strongly urges all employees to work collaboratively & keep the spirit of teamwork burning. The most important phase of this skill is developing other people through understanding of developmental needs & the entire organization as well.

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1.3.1.3 OCCUPATIONAL STANDARDS & COMPETENCIES

This organizational factor of learning & development will primarily deal with AstraZeneca’s standards in the operations department. As the company’s objective is targeting the set performance, the capacity to significantly influence healthcare

professionals in their prescribing behavior is salient. This could be identified as sales skills. Business development for a particular territory is another type. It entails a huge amount of planning, timely marketing strategies & competitor surveillance. This could be implemented through sufficient business data & marketing analysis. Teamwork is also a standard & involves willingness & ability to work harmoniously with peers. All organizations need the entire workforce to act for one specific goal. Lastly, the level of response to development is very important. This revolves around opportunities & strengths, how an employee makes good use of these & how he copes up with his inefficiencies & weaknesses. The desire for personal & professional development could be elemental to this competency.

1.4 CONCLUSION

Striving for excellence drives an employee to perform at his maximum potential. Capitalizing on personal strengths & professional skills are powerful contributors to success. Setting personal standards to remarkable professional performance is the supreme instrument. As we are faced with stringent competition, our skills & abilities will move us ahead of the race. And identifying weaknesses & limitations of oneself are great foundations for learning & development. There are various ways & means of cultivating the highest level of competence in each individual. But what will determine the outcome is the willingness to do it. This is a result of achieving an immense measure of self-realization & motivation to achieve success.


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