Continuing Personal And Professional Development Psychology Essay

Self awareness is obtaining understanding of ones core values, identity, emotions, motives and goals. Duval and Wicklund further defined self awareness as the attention state where the individual directs their conscious attention to some aspect of their selves. (Duval, 1972)

It is considered self awareness also incorporates the identification and acknowledgement of one’s strength’s as well as one’s weaknesses. (Goleman, 1998; Kernis, 2003)

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Improving a manager’s self-awareness has been identified as an important leadership quality by many organisations. For example the NHS Leadership Framework in the UK defines self awareness as the recognition and articulation of one’s values and principles, but also the understanding how these may differ from those of other individuals and groups. Also it defines self awareness as the identification of one’s strengths and limitations and how their behaviour affects others but also how stress affects their own behaviour. (System, 2012)

It is such self awareness which then enables an individual to engage in a process of self development.


Self development is a unique training method because it enables a person to combine not only the acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes, but also self development concerns itself with the how knowledge is acquired and how a person learns how to learn. (Canning, 1984; Richardson, 1983)

According to Canning self development occurs in four stages, namely firstly identifying learning needs and goals, this is through a process of self awareness and self analysis, secondly identifying individual learning styles and deciding on learning opportunities, thirdly implementing development goals through a peer group and lastly reviewing learning goals through the developing process and using self development for personal growth.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) according to Megginson and Whitaker (2007) is a process ‘by which individuals take control of their one learning and development, by engaging in an on-going process of reflection and action’. (Megginson, 2007) It is thus a process which involves the update and development of managerial skills, knowledge and behaviour through the use of self assessment. (Murdock, 2011)


Self awareness and self analysis are important tools for a manager because through this process a person will be able to identify strengths and weaknesses. Having these results will help a manager to plan how to improve weaknesses in order to maximise performance. According to Fletcher (1997) ‘there is a general belief that increasing self awareness will have a positive effect on performance’. (Fletcher, 1997)Individuals with high self awareness are able to incorporate comparisons of behaviours into their self perception and thus their perception is more reliable. Conversely individuals with low self awareness ignore feedback about them and thus they block the process to improve any weaknesses and they can not become more efficient. (Nasby, 1989) In conclusion there is a positive correlation between high self awareness and high performance ratings in various settings. (Atwater, 1997; A. Furnham, & Stringfield, P., 1994)

According to Kolb’s circular learning pattern in order to learn an individual must firstly through observation, reflection and analysis reach the final stage of modification of behaviour and development. (Kolb, 1971) This concept is incorporated in the CPD cycle namely in order to do and review we must firstly self assess, plan and prioritise. Thus it is clear that without self analysis and self assessment a person can not proceed to self development.


Personal information that individuals reveal about themselves to another is defined as self-disclosure. (Collins, 1994) Dindia in 2002 defined self-disclosure as the process by which individuals reveal information about themselves such as thoughts, feelings and experiences. (K. Dindia, 2002) A basic approach an individual uses for self-disclosure is introducing themselves to another individual. This means that in initial interactions, self-disclosure is begun when individuals reveal biographic and demographic information about themselves. (K. Dindia, & Timmerman, L., 2003)

Self-disclosure is important because it helps individuals to achieve important goals. Examples of the importance of self-disclosure are the development of relationship closeness and the gaining emotional support. (Greene, 2006) Self-disclosure plays an important role in the development of relationship intimacy both in a professional relationship and in a personal relationship. (Greene, 2006) In addition self-disclosure helps the development of relationship intimacy for many reasons; firstly it increases trust, secondly increases the appreciation of opinions and finally it increases closeness. (Blickle, 2008)


Through verbal and nonverbal communication as well as the use of a feedback process the possibility arises for an individual to acquire a better perception of themself. An efficient way of giving and receiving feedback is the Johari window. (Beganu, 2006) The Johari window named after their developers the psychologists Joe Luft and Harry Ingham. The window consists of a grid of four squares. Each of these four squares identify the self-awareness of an individual in relationship to what that individual reveals or hides to others, but also the opinion others have towards that individuals character traits.


The use of the Johari window can facilitate the growth of an individual by using the feedback of others. Thus it can be seen as a process of learning about oneself and reflecting on what has been learned. Using self-disclosure and feedback changes can be consequently made. (Drejer, 2000) Furthermore the Johari Window is important especially because it allows an individual to be more efficient in the development of skills that include qualities such as empathy, cooperation, inter-group relations, and personal development. (Beganu, 2006)

The identification of strengths and weaknesses of an individual may help that individual play on strengths and limit weaknesses through the process of awareness and acknowledgement. (Luft, 1982) For the above stated reasons I believe that the Johari window is an important tool, not only of self-disclosure, and self awareness, but also can facilitate the learning process making an individual more efficient. These are the reasons I chose to include it in my study.


Nevertheless the Johari Window like many other tools of self awareness has certain limitations. One limitation of the Johari window could be that when asked to fill in an adjective list about a loved one or a supervisor may be inclined not to tell the truth or chose part of the truth on their true opinion about that person out of fear that the person in question may have a bad reaction to the feedback. This leads to another limitation that not everyone is willing to accept feedback if not prepared properly or conscious about the results they may find. This may make it hard for an individual to accept weaknesses and consequently work on these weaknesses. This leads to a further limitation namely that the Johari window may be of little use to the individual using it if the findings are not linked to positive behaviour or behaviour changes. As suggested by Joseph Luft in 1982 certain ‘principles of change’ must be considered when using this self-awareness exercise. (Luft, 1982)


I completed an adjective list consisting of 136 adjectives myself noting qualities which I believe that I possess and I also distributed the same adjective list to a group of 10 persons to complete it. The group consists of 3 family members, 3 friends and 4 colleagues. I collected the information and I present bellow the following findings.

In total 90 of the 136 adjectives (66%) were used by both myself and the group to describe my character traits. I subsequently compared the adjective lists I acquired from the group of persons with my list of adjectives. Any adjectives that were the same in both my adjective list and the group’s adjective lists were added to the arena square of my Johari window. In total 46 of the 90 adjectives (51%) used in both my list and the groups list coincided. This revealed to me that both the group and I are aware that I possess these traits, and that I am happy to share this information and these emotions with others. I would have not believed that I reveal about a little more than 50% of my character traits to others, since I had always thought that I reveal much less than this percentage.

In the blind square I compared adjectives the group had used but I had not used for myself. In total 34 of the 90 adjectives (38%) used to describe me were found only in the groups lists. Discipline and stable are some of the positive traits chosen by the group. Negative and naA?ve were some of the negative traits that the group chose to describe me. Noteworthy is the fact that the negative traits were the feedback only from my colleagues and not from my family and friends. This worries me because I realize that due to the stress at work I have a different behavior at the work place in comparison to my behavior at home where I am more relaxed.

In the hidden square I included the traits which I had chosen, and which did not coincide with my groups adjectives. In total 10 of the 90 adjectives (11%) used to describe me were included in this box. These are traits I chose to hide or not to reveal to certain people such as jealous, and demanding. These two traits actually surprised me since I would have thought that other people can see them in me, especially my family or my friends.

According to my findings I found that my Johari window is an almost ideal window due to the large arena square according to Phillip C. Hanson (1973) that a ‘large Arena suggests that much of the person’s behavior is above board and open to other group members’. (Hanson, 1973)


Anxiety is a trait which I possess since I was a child. This became clear a few months ago when my production manager told me that I had to make a presentation about my department’s machinery and to present it to 50 persons for educational purposes. I instantly accepted to write the presentation but I refused to present it myself because this makes me feel anxious. My production manager wanted me to present it and so I had no choice but to do it. I felt anxious through the presentation, I was confused, I could not focus on what I had to say and I was sweating. I managed to finish the presentation but it was a very bad experience for me and I think for the audience too.

This is a very negative trait for a manager to possess since I will often encounter such situations as a manager in the future and I must be able to control both my physical reaction to presentations in order to improve this skill and be more effective. One way to do overcome my anxiety is to work on my assertiveness in order to increase my confidence and self-esteem. Another way to overcome my anxiety could be the use of professional help from a psychologist, or the use of exercises such as breathing techniques in order to control my physical response to stress.


I discovered that all of the group participants described me as persuasive. This came as a surprise since I did not note this adjective for myself. After talking to a few of the group participants I found that they believed I was very persuasive, each giving me examples of circumstances in the past where they had asked for my opinion and I had persuaded them to follow my suggestion, or had asked for help relating to work and although they had set their mind on one plan of action I had convinced them to approach the problem differently. I believe that this is a great asset for a manager, since one will often be confronted with a different set of opinions than one’s own, and must be in the position to change or persuade a person or group of persons to act according to their will.

I could further work on this skill by reading relevant literature on the subject, or by talking to people I have persuaded in the past as to how I did that exactly, in other words what did I say to change their mind? Did my body language, my facial expressions, or tone of voice play a role and how would they describe these three features when I am persuading them? I believe that such activities would help me better develop and use this skill in the future.


According to Meredith Belbin who devised the Belbin report in the 1970’s ‘a team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role which is understood by other members. Members of a team seek out certain roles and they perform most effectively in the ones that are most natural to them’. (, 2012)

Teamwork is a vital part of any organization and an important behavioral asset of any manager. One must be aware of the role they like to play in a team, since through the understanding of one’s preferences, likes, dislikes, in relation to a team, that person can understand their strengths and weaknesses in relation to teamwork. Also when found in a team that person through this self awareness will be more efficient in the role they are comfortable and like doing rather than in a role they show weakness in or dislike.

The Belbin report is thus a team role inventory indicating how an individual best works in a team. It consists of a 7 section inventory. Each section consists of a number of sentences where a total of 10 points should be allocated among the sentences that best describe a behavior. These are then transposed onto an analysis sheet that consequently indicates which of the 8 (a refined Belbin report includes 9 team roles) team role behavioral style’s best fit an individual. (, 2012) These roles are Shaper, Plant, Monitor-Evaluator, Coordinator, Implementer, Team worker, Completer-Finisher, Resource investigator, and the ninth team role added is Specialist.


The knowledge of an individual’s workplace related behavioral strengths and weaknesses could facilitate in the improvement of working relationships by increasing mutual trust and understanding, and increasing self awareness and effectiveness. (, 2012) Another important advantage of the Belbin report is that it may help in the recruitment and employment or reallocation of workers in order to form a team that consists of all of the types of team roles identified in the Belbin report. (, 2012; S. G. Fisher, Macrosson, K.W.D., & Wong J., 1998) Finally the Belbin report is easy to use, categorizing each team member into a specific role. (S. G. Fisher, Macrosson, K.W.D., & Wong J., 1998)


Behavior is difficult to measure since it is influenced by many other characteristics such as personality, past experience, current circumstances, learning behavior and others, thus changing over time according to circumstances. Measuring the reliability or validity of the Belbin report, may not only be difficult but also subject to bias itself. Nevertheless the Belbin report has been subject to criticism over the years regarding its reliability and validity. (S. G. Fisher, Macrosson, K.W.D., & Sharp,G., 1996; A. Furnham, Steele, H., & Pendleton, D., 1993) According to Furnham (1993) ‘yet there remains some doubt, from a psychometric point of view, whether he (Belbin) has been able to provide a reliable measure of these (team) role preferences’. (A. Furnham, Steele, H., & Pendleton, D., 1993) In an answer to this Belbin argued that the tool was intended not as a psychometric tool but as a help tool for managers. (Belbin, 1993)

Another disadvantage may be also the human factor as with every tool used for self awareness or investigating self perception. This means that self perception is subjective and that any individual may have a false self perception or limited self awareness. The test comments before starting the test that a person should answer not as they would like themselves to be but rather as how they are. All these factors contribute to bias and false results. A person with limited insight will therefore also be unwilling to accept, change or work on weaknesses, or even strengths, rendering the test thus of little use.


According to my Belbin report, my team role preferences include chairperson (coordinator), company worker (implementer), team worker, and resource investigator, in this order. These four preferences had relatively small differences in the scoring. My manageable roles which are roles one might play in a team if they benefit the team include monitor-evaluator and shaper with the same scores. Lastly my least preferred roles or roles I would not comfortable or naturally assume include completer finisher and plant which is also the last on my list. (, 2011)

According to the Belbin comprehensive review the team roles can be separated into action, social and thinking roles.(, 2011) Since three of my four preferred roles namely coordinator, team worker and resource investigator fall into the social roles, it seems I would be more comfortable undertaking these roles. I believe that this expresses me also. I think I would be more suited in social roles rather than thinking or action roles in a team.

My most preferred team role in the Belbin report, namely coordinator, is a role which I think suits me and a role that I am comfortable undertaking myself when found in a team working situation. I have never thought of myself as being the creative or thinking type, and sometimes I believe I do not fit into the role of the doer either since I am more attracted to the organization and coordination of a process rather than the implementation or creative process of a task.

According to the Belbin report my second preferred role is the company worker or implementer. Although this is the role I mostly have in my job, I nevertheless never thought that this role completely suits me in relation to team work, since as stated above I am more comfortable in a team undertaking social rather than action roles. Nevertheless I believe that it is an important asset in a team and that it could be an important strength if I acknowledge and work on this role further.

Lastly, I am least inclined to undertake thinking roles such as plant and I believe that this role suits me the least since I have never thought of myself as being a genius, imaginative, individualistic, unorthodox or disregarding of practical details. I have never considered that I have a talent in the creative process of a task and am truly uncomfortable undertaking this role.

In general I believe that the results of my Belbin report suit my self perception of my team working role preferences accurately.

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