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E2C Capstone Paper

OTMT 679.25

Muneerah AlSabah

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter

October 17, 2018

Introduction

Reflection is of importance as the process enables the examination of information learned that could be of benefit for an individual personally as well as professionally.  According to Lew and Schmidt (2011), there is a relationship between self-reflection and academic performance.  During the research process, there was the discovery that through the use of a reflection journal there was the promotion of self-reflection and learning with the individual being continuously engaged in the process.  The correlational analysis also revealed the weak to moderate interrelationship existing between the textual categories and classroom knowledge acquisition (Lew & Schmidt, 2011).  The role of reflection relative to education has enabled the creation of an increase of interest not only for educators and researchers but also for the student.  

In this document, I will share via the capstone project, a description of what I have learned in the MSML program with a focus on the future use of the application of ideas and concepts.  This project will allow me to share the relevant thoughts from the program that resonate with me now and for the future and how I will have the ability to share with others processes that will aid them in their professional careers relevant to leadership and management.

Self-Awareness and Personal Understanding

One of the many benefits of the classes for this degree was gaining self-awareness and personal understanding.  Although I have my own business, there have been times when I did not focus on my self-awareness nor give consideration to individual perception.  When holding the position of leadership, the leader must be self-aware as self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of self to include character, motives, desires, and feelings.  The classes have allowed me to learn that it takes years to fully develop these traits with the need for personal commitment and the feedback of others to improve interactions with others.  I will continue to use this process in the future to build the right kind of relationships and to gain and increase personal influence (Frisina, 2014).  I have also talked with other business owners to gain insight into whether or not they are self-aware or have considered a personal understanding of themselves.  I was astonished at some of the answers that I received.  In summarizing the information that I gathered from these individuals I discovered that one reason for the lack of self-awareness is that many leaders are reluctant to become self-aware because of the uncertainty of what it means to be a leader.  By not understanding that leadership there is the lack of understanding of the many aspects of the business to include negotiation, preventing dysfunctions as well as budgeting and other business functions.  

In speaking with my employees, I learned that I am viewed as a caring manager who not only cares about the business but also demonstrates to them that they are of value.  They also see me as someone who cares about their lives outside of the business. Learning how the employees see me aids me in gaining personal understanding about what I am doing and to move toward improvement constantly.  Through the process of feedback and self-reflection, I am learning that self-awareness concerns the focus that I give to the reality of my behavior versus the way that I have seen myself in the past.  My future as a leader is bright with my deciding to be a continual learner.

From the classes and discussions that we have had, I have realized that I can become distracted especially when working under pressure.  I plan to not only develop an awareness and control of any distractions but to focus more on self-development thereby enabling me to become a more effective leader with improved self-awareness and improved personal understanding.

Management of People and Teams

The classes entail leadership models and principles that will assist in the creation of effective leaders.  One activity in the class was to interview a current or previous manager or employee.  I interviewed an employee by the name of Marissa who is a merchandiser in my fashion retail store.  Her skill set includes effective communication, negotiation and customer relations skills.  She enjoys shopping for the store and has excellent taste in fashion.  She worked hard to reveal her knowledge and feels that she has been successful as management treats her with respect. She has been with the company three years being promoted to merchandising assistant with plans to attend fashion school.  The manager and I plan to help her with finances for the school as we believe Marissa has what it takes to be a great fashion merchandiser as well as a designer. Interpersonal skills and practical communication skills are assets for this employee.

I learned an essential concept in team building from the weekly readings. Team building entails collaboration and working together as a team. The most important idea that I learned is the 4 C's of team building which includes context, composition, competencies and change management skills. Of the 4 C's, the most important concept that contributes to a team's success is competence.  Under the concept of competence, team members should understand their roles or assignments that contribute to the success of the team. In team building, team members must understand their roles and how the roles affect the success of the team. The team leader should allocate team members roles and responsibilities based on their competencies and strengths in performing the specific task. Skills among team members enable them to make informed decisions regarding any issue of concern.

Besides, being qualified and skilled in performing responsibilities, there is the need for effective communication, as this process is needed among team members being characterized by the ability to listen, give feedback and communicate with each other openly.  The team leader must be competent in the role of leadership while being committed and building trust among the team members. Lastly, being qualified and skilled among team members enables the team to have a clear articulation of issues while meeting goals. The team members must set goals that are achievable.

The leader must understand each team member's strength so that the employee can be assigned roles which are in line with their qualifications. Secondly, team members should be competent in dealing with disputes that arise when working as a team. The ability to solve or manage disputes creates an active work environment that promotes productivity and peak performance. Therefore, competency among team members enables the team to be successful in achieving their goals.

When viewing the management of people and teams, I have watched Marissa grow into her position and responsibilities to include leadership and management roles. I will apply the teachings from BSCI 651 Week 1: Leadership (Slide 46) in my leadership practice.  Marissa sets the appropriate goals and reaches those goals while also increasing knowledge relative to her position.  She is a happy employee because she can pursue her goals knowing that her manager listens to her and provides her with authority to change certain practices in the business. Marissa understands people and how to align people for the success of the organization.  She sometimes groups staff in pre-designed teams while at other times; she allows them to group themselves according to their preference. She sees value in both groupings, which help the team to grow.  Watching Marissa’s growth enables me to realize that I have set an example in the way in which I manage the business and will continue to do so.

Lastly, it appears that Marissa’s job satisfaction is derived from the value congruence she has with the store, which was mentioned in BSCI 651 Week 2: Values. Marissa shares the values of learning, effective communication and high quality of work and production with the store inclusive of organizational culture playing a role in this success. The process assists in better communication with the employees and the employer inclusive of external stakeholders. Marissa’s superiors model transparency in communication, which is experienced by the entire team. In the organization, there are no hidden agendas with trust being a number one priority. Working with Marissa and watching her progress has increased my capacity to interpret team dynamics while also practicing active team membership and leadership, which will be a process that I use throughout my professional career.

Conflict Management and Negotiation

Conflict management and negotiation are tools that every manager must learn to be successful in the role of leadership.  As a leader, there is the need to wear many hats at one time.  For this reason, I have implemented the discussion process as a strategy for dealing with the dangers and threats inclusive of conflict management and negotiation.  A conflicting situation is filled with limitless potential, as the collision of different opinions is the cause of a contradictory situation; with the need to explore different possibilities providing more growth opportunities for all parties.  I am also reminded about the necessity of instilling in my team members the cherished personal value of commitment to the cause. I assist my employees in developing commitment by giving them increased responsibilities and appropriate rewards that will motivate them to put concerted efforts to achieve the objectives of my organization.

I have identified this method to be an essential instinct for survival, especially when viewing each stakeholder in the company. Everyone has a role in the decision-making process as well as in sharing different viewpoints on the current situation. The process creates productive result-oriented virtual meetings whereby employees show their sincere willingness to participate. Hence, it has become a positive experience for delegating multiple responsibilities assigned to different employees. The employees work in teams without distracting attention from the short-term and long-term goals of the organization.

The system of six thinking hats has shown its effectiveness in the goal-setting approach. I analyze the emotional and optimistic approaches while also maximizing the overall continuous thinking process through diminishing the counter-productive and deteriorating behaviors and interactions. Each member of the team is aware of these features as a fundamental framework for their effective communication for the benefit of reaching positive results, even in situations when mistakes have been discovered. When approaching dangers, this system helped me stop the conflict situation between two managers, which came to pass because of their different views relative to the current marketing strategy. I just mentioned that in such a diverse and multifaceted discussion and thinking process, the right decisions emerge. It reflected on their mutually important place in the company, with a high potential for further development and growth. Learning how to be useful in conflict management is of importance to the business with my being grateful to learn the processes taught in the class presently and in the future.

Organizational Change

Organizational change occurs for many reasons to include adapting to the market thereby remaining competitive (Pieterse, Caniëls & Homan, 2012).  I own a retail fashion company named Nostalgia Boutique with three branches located in Kuwait, Dubai, and Berlin.  Employees range in age from 13 to 50.  For this reason, it is of importance for me to have an understanding of the organization and how to anticipate the need for any change.  There are times when it is necessary to find ways to encourage and stimulate creativity that will aid in organizational change. There are two processes to include 1) risk-taking and change, and 2) tolerance of mistakes (Tushman and O’Reilly 15). Organizational change is a strategically important advantage for any organization. But it is difficult when employees are not willing to take risks and change their professional performance to the cutting-edge standards of excellence and success that are needed to assist the organization in being successful relative to change. There may be the need for additional training programs and educational incentives for the employees. The tolerance of mistakes overlaps with the aforementioned strategic point in that it also serves for the educational purposes, adding to the person’s expertise, motivation, and allowing the process of creative thinking skills. I have incorporated organizational change within the strategic business plan for all organizational goals, which are short-term and long-term goals.

My approach to organizational change and transformation involves encouraging my employees, effectively communicating with my employees and empowering my employees.  Encouraging my employees allows them to know that I trust and value them thereby not having them to fear if a mistake occurs.  The positive side of making mistakes is to learn from those mistakes and not to repeat them.  I desire the employees to focus more on the causative-consecutive links between human action and further failure. The process makes the employees more aware of what could go wrong in the future based on the precedents they have already faced.

As an active learner aimed at expanding my horizons, I strive to impose the same perspective on my team as an integral part of the teamwork approach.  I communicate with my partners and managers online twice a week encouraging them to stay abreast of the current endeavors allowing them to become more innovative and creative. Empowering employees to think out of the box enables them to reach new prospects via the process of the brainstorming process, which is needed to expand the business to the new markets. I focus on the various brands regarding their adjacency to the trendy flows in the world of fashion.

 I encourage my employees to keep an attentive eye on small changes and transformations in the market so that our organization can be first to detect those changes and to use those changes for the common interests of the company. This challenging process requires more time to generate creativity inclusive of rational and risky decisions. I do not doubt that the process of change and transformation aids my team in reaching the next level of corporate success.

Leadership and Influence

Part of the leadership and influence is to stretch yourself as a leader thereby having the knowledge and experience to grow.  In Activity 2 of one of the class assignments, we were asked to do something outside of our comfort zone relating to leadership or personal awareness.  Doing something that is unfamiliar and outside of my comfort zone was terrifying. I did not know what to expect and how others would react to the action. I delivered a speech, and it was not an ordinary classroom speech.  The speech was for the United Nations where I played the role of an ambassador by talking about my home country, Kuwait, and discussed how we could use other resources exclusive of oil. The second speech was about the Middle East crisis with Qatar as Middle Eastern countries were boycotting Qatar after discovering that the country works with terrorist while funding terrorist groups. Although the issues were sensitive, my goal was to make an empowering message that my country may be in the middle of controversy, but as a people, we are striving to be the best we can be by hurdling the seemingly insurmountable challenges we are facing. In these speaking engagements, I had to ability to see my leadership style, especially when viewing the opportunity to keep the attention of the people as I conveyed my message.  I believe that I delivered usable information concerning the issues of my country and how my country is facing those issues.  I also realized that I possess the ability to be a leader who positively influences people.

Management of Diversity

The management of diversity is just another useful process in the role of leadership.  Diversity management brings with it the ability of the leader to create while also maintaining a work environment that is positive with respect for the similarities and the differences of the individuals having value (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).  Within the class, there has been much literature concerning diversity management and how the process impacts the organizational culture, openness as well as human resource management practices, expectations, regulatory requirements, incentives and perceived practices (Patrick & Kumar, 2012).  Through the acceptance of diversity, leaders can link creativity to the organizational culture reflecting the appropriate behavioral norms and models. Through social control, organizations can promote innovation based on the following criteria for innovation, namely: learning from mistakes, acceptance of failure, freedom to experiment, mutual respect, rewards, positive role models, a celebration of success, risk-taking, involvement, clear direction, flexibility, and others (Tushman and O’Reilly 14).  Diversity aids the employees in the organization to adapt to the global environment relating to the diversity in the workforce with leadership practicing effective management of the diversity process.

Diversity also empowers the organization with an approach that enables the employees to see themselves differently while being participants in the creation of the collective greater good. This strategy becomes stronger through inheriting and accepting diversity among the leadership team and staff. Companies practicing this process are more innovative as the environment is fruitful and productive for delegating authority, encouraging feedback, and allowing multiple perspectives (Tierney and Lanford 14). I will never turn to the authoritarian model of leadership as the process is a weak perspective regarding the diverse and dynamic business environment with the multifaceted trends threatens and endangers the market players with a poor approach to delegating authority and accepting diversity. In fact, with a democratic corporate leadership approach, employees will feel more equality and freedom in their mutual involvement in the well being of the company.

Creativity and Innovation

In this course, the focus is on the enforcement of creativity among individuals in a proper way without impeding its development in a particular organization. Different concepts align beginning with the person’s expertise to nurturing organizational devotion and motivation. Different challenging situations may serve as a barrier for the corporate leader. The course on managerial creativity represented the coaching approaches shedding light on the essential features of the development of innovation and creativity in the organization.

I have realized the power of creativity in its multifaceted approach leading to the multitasking stimuli among the employees and managers. With my current professional endeavors, I am motivated to introduce the new strategically essential features in different stages of professional success evident in my company. Therefore, I will be expanding my company’s horizons by empowering managers and employees to think out of the box leading them to the extraordinary collaborative decision-making process.

Creativity is of great importance to any business as it is the process of employees and leadership using imagination and ideas within the organization.  I also believe that the process is contagious. As an example, one of the greatest assets that Marissa brings to the organization is her creativity, which is infectious as she always challenges others to be creative gaining the competitive advantage for our business.  

I have learned that creativity in the organization begins with the leader’s innovative approach with the leader sharing the freedom of action regarding organizational policy. The process also relates to not being afraid of failures. Employees see the breakdown as an opportunity leading to further success. In this respect, as a leader and an innovator, I am grasping the following discovery skills, which are associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting (Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen 3). There is no innate quality of being creative and innovative for some individuals, thinking of the rest as unable to reach this point of professional excellence. Innovative leaders keep a strict eye on the five skills understanding their deep personal involvement in the creative practices that may not fit into the managerial or organizational ‘normality.’

By enhancing creativity, leaders build a culture of innovation in their organizations. By sharing creativity, leaders implement an authoritative source of the production of innovative ideas. A product or a process becomes innovative solely when they undergo the stage of diffusion process with an immediate discernable impact on a specialized field (Tierney and Lanford 1).  When the leader strengthens his creativity, the employees can put into place insights that enhance innovation in the work of the employees with decision making being a positive process.

As a business owner, I am setting a positive role model for the 200 employees working in three different subsidiaries placed in Kuwait City, Dubai, and Berlin. Moreover, attention is given to the diverse workforce, as there are concerns relative to equality regarding each employee’s ability to grow within the organization through the successful accomplishment of different tasks and duties. By sharing responsibility and empowering employees, I acknowledge my acceptance of their value to the organization seeing the importance of their personal and professional growth. The process is a win-win strategy, as employees and managers recognize their unlimited approaches to solve different problems, creating diverse solutions. In turn, the process is an essential requirement for the recruitment process. Newcomers should be open to the creative and innovative concerns that do not seem ‘normal’ at a glance. Invisible and not yet existent features of products and services become visible through the stimulation of the employees’ motivation and devotion.

In the Middle East and many other countries, leaders prefer isolating themselves from the team relying heavily on the rule of patronage and fear. This practice may work in some isolated and conservative communities and workplace environments; however, it does not work in the diverse multinational teams like mine.

References

Dyer, Jeff, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen. The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. Boston, MA: HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PRESS, 2011. Print.

Frisina, M. (2014). Influential Leadership: Change Your Behavior, Change Your Organization, Change Health Care. Health Administration Press, 17-25. Retrieved from http://www.ache.org/pdf/secure/gifts/Frisina(2275) Gift.pdf

Lew, M., & Schmidt, H. (2011). Self-reflection and academic performance: is there a relationship?. Advances In Health Sciences Education, 16(4), 529-545. doi: 10.1007/s10459-011-9298-z

Patrick, H., & Kumar, V. (2012). Managing Workplace Diversity. SAGE Open, 2(2), 215824401244461. doi: 10.1177/2158244012444615

Pieterse, J., Caniëls, M., & Homan, T. (2012). Professional discourses and resistance to change. Journal Of Organizational Change Management, 25(6), 798-818. doi: 10.1108/09534811211280573

Tierney, William G., and Michael Lanford. Cultivating strategic innovation in higher education. New York, NY: TIAA Institute, 2016. Print.

Tushman, Michael L. and Charles A. O’Reilly. "Leveraging Culture for Innovation and Competitive Advantage." Winning through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Change and Renewal. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2007. 1-32. Print.

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