After some contemplating, I feel that the professionalism score most appropriate for me is a 39/50.
The first half of my term started out a little rocky. Weeks 1 and 2 went by smoothly and I had an excused absence during 3B. However, I was absent for most of 4B and then tardy for the first half hour of 5B, and I was also late to a team meeting. This was all due to poor time management and subsequent over-sleeping.
Another reason for my 39/50 is due to the blog posts. A few of the posts I turned in past the Friday due date, and I noticed tonight that I had forgotten to submit a few of our assignments through SafeAssign. I know there’s no excuse for that.
However, after our midterm evaluations I made it a goal to be timely to all classes and meetings, and this goal proved successful by term’s end. I think that my improvement should be noted and considered, though I understand making mistakes like these don’t slide in the professional world. If you look at my midterm evaluations, every criticism I got pertained to showing up late, and that was no longer evident in the second round of evaluations.
Besides this, I feel I’ve done an excellent job with initiative and responsibility. All the work I’ve taken on I feel I’ve gone above and beyond in terms of quality and execution. I’ve done my best to maintain a positive energy for the group. This can be noted in (old & new) evaluation highlights such as “Allen is naturally good at enabling others to act and encouraging the heart. He is easy to talk to and has emotional intelligence to recognize the needs of others”, “Allen is extremely focused in group meetings and prepared with his assigned tasks. This helped the group really maintain our concentration during meetings and to strive for completing the tasks at hand”, “You have done great at contributing to the group effort and that has really helped our team chemistry”, “…he is very nice.”
I think that my mistakes should be taken into consideration, and though I don’t believe I deserve a B grade for professionalism, I feel that my positives can be measured as higher than the “average” C.
For my leadership development plan, I initially planned on development in the following areas:
- Raising hand in class more
- Talking more to group during meetings
- Giving more feedback to groups
- Taking on bigger role in group responsibilities
- Work harder on stuff before class
- *Be timely (added later on in the term)
For the most part these steps were supposed to provide a strong foundation towards my ultimate goal, which was to become a better effective, more confident public speaker. I felt like developing strengths in these (primarily the first four) steps would steps in the right direction. For a long time I’d been very fearful of public speaking, making speeches and presentations—I was much more inclined towards individual, quiet work. Taking this class then was like looking the monster straight in the eye, so it was undoubtedly the biggest aspect of leadership (confidence in communication) that I wanted to work on.
For the first half of the term, I admit that I didn’t execute as strongly as I’d hoped. In summary, my midterm evaluations from the group said that my strengths were:
- Creates a welcoming environment
- Thinks about what you say before you say it
Whereas my areas of improvement were
- Work on being engaged/productive/active
- “outside of the group, not involved”
- Speaking my mind
After the midterm evaluations, I admit I was pretty disappointed in my work output. I knew that I could have done a much better job (yet I didn’t), and so I really made an effort to make sure the second half of the term was a drastic change from the first five weeks. Essentially from here on out, I contributed much more, took on much larger responsibilities, and made sure I was never late. Highlights from the end-of-the-term evaluations went like so:
- Took on large roles
- Extremely focused
- Took on large part of the work
- Enabled others/encouraging the heart
Areas of improvement
- lack enthusiasm/more positivity
- critical questions, challenging others
- Participate vocally
I measured my success through the scorings. I averaged a 91.60 from first round of reviews, with the lowest score being 75. In the second round I averaged 108.80, with the lowest score being 100. I’m confident that this was the most improved out of everyone else in my group. As for the lacking of enthusiasm and participating vocally, there was a chunk of time in which another teammate and myself were questioning the direction of our project. This skepticism was probably what translated as lacking “enthusiasm” and “positivity”. I think that being skeptical of what was going on and needing to find an answer was crucial to the presentation and an important leadership attribute, and I wouldn’t have been able to do the work that I did without having have confronting the issue.
I believe that my actions in the second half of the term had a big impact on our output. For starters, I challenged the team with questions so that I could gain a better vision for what we were doing. It seemed like many of the teammates were floating along and okay with getting by whereas I wanted us to do the best we could. I think that I was developing as a leader through challenging my group mates. After getting these answers and establishing a better vision and confidence, I took on powerpoint responsibilities. I had originally refrained from doing the powerpoint for our first presentation out of respect for letting another teammate take on her part of the work, so I figured it’d be my chance the second time around. I did everything the powerpoint required and found myself tweaking parts for the group and coordinating the order of presentation and subsequently taking on this position as the “head” of what we were doing. I was directing I think that without any of my input, we’d have had a lot less direction and our output would have had less effort and quality, and I think this is supported by the positive feedback I got through the final round of evaluations.
It seemed that throughout both sessions of evaluations, there were still group mates who felt that I had some participating vocally. Though I agree that I didn’t participate as much throughout the first half of the term, I’m not too sure if I agree about the second half. I feel that I vocally contributed as much as I could during the second half, and there were times where I didn’t contribute at all but that was due to my simply not having anything to say. For that reason, I’ve learned that measuring vocal contribution is tricky, and also because being silent doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s hurting or helping a team. Anna from our group is naturally a very softspoken worker, but she did a lot of work for the team and was always willing to take on more work; I learned through her that measuring a person’s leadership ability through talking a lot doesn’t accurately measure their worth. I think what worked was my taking on larger roles (presentation I and powerpoint duties) and my feedback; as I had mentioned earlier, my skepticism and feedback (albeit a little negative) for the group on our vision wasn’t accepted too well, but it definitely made me see that negative feedback isn’t a bad thing; rather it’s crucial to bringing out the best output possible.
I think that I could work on being more active from the get-go. Not being as active in the beginning led to a misunderstanding in direction that lasted for much of the term. I think I can try to establish myself as a vocal contributor more as some of my teammates suggested. Though in the beginning of the term, I didn’t contribute as much because I was shy, and I think that by tackling this shyness early on, it would help me as a whole in becoming a strong speaker.
I think that the class and my experience has definitely contributed to my public speaking. I’ve found myself presenting quite a bit this term, and though initially it was tough, I found that as the term progressed, my fear of speaking in public disappeared gradually. I could still work on summoning some more confidence, because I think that while I’m less afraid of speaking now in general, nerves still show through my voice and delivery. I think that by continuing the first few steps of my plan in future classes, eventually the confidence will build. It was never going to be a success after one term.
If I’ve learned one thing about leadership from this course, it’s that it’s extremely multi-faceted and difficult. There are so many ways that you can “lead”. A really vocal person doesn’t translate to a “leader”. A member of our group was by far the most vocal in terms of giving opinion and feedback, though that was just about all he did—criticize and give feedback. A really quiet person doesn’t translate to a bad leader—the quietest in our group did a ton of support work and personally inspired me with their dedication. There are so many areas that one can “lead”—I believe my affinity for design was crucial in my leading the second latter of the term—and still it can be so difficult to do it effectively. I could talk more and take on more work but what matters was whether or not what I was saying was important and what I was working on was high quality. Leading is harder work than one’s initial assumptions, and effective leading entails complex and thorough work.
I think week 9 was definitely my most critical week in terms of leading.
For starters, I was in complete charge of the powerpoint for our presentation. I really wanted it to be the best powerpoint that I could do as well as the best amongst all others that were presented in class. So I spent a long time meticulously detailing out how it would be designed and formatted, etc.
In addition to this I felt like I very much took control and led my group through the entire week. I reinforced what needed to be done, I asked questions and made suggestions to better our presentation, I helped out teammates who weren’t sure what to say here or what to do there, I devoted more time to everything we were doing despite some of our team members showing little enthusiasm and willingness to work as hard, I even stayed up late to do extra work when my teammates failed to do so. I think this was my first week that I truly felt like the leader of our group. And it was a nice feeling, I must admit. I really do believe that without my input this week our work and presentation would have been a completely different and less strong. Also, two different members from the two other groups presenting after us gave really nice compliments about the powerpoint, which I thought was nifty.
Whether or not I did well during the presentation I’m not sure. I will always have things to pick at when critiquing myself. I thought I could have been a little more rehearsed for sure, but something that was completely different between yesterday’s presentation, our first presentation, and the beginning of the term was the amount of confidence I had. Not just in what I was saying, but how I was saying it. In my head I’m starting to become less and less nervous about having to talk and present in front of others. That feeling of dread is not there anymore, though the usual nerves of whether or not it’ll all go over well are still there. Needless to say, I believe that I’m exiting BA 352 a different person, a stronger leader, and with different perspectives and lessons to take on into future group work.
I felt that I did a lot of developing as a leader in week 8. I think that this was a week that saw me do a lot of work to support my team.
Firstly, during class 8A, I was the only one to take thorough notes during the presentation guidelines powerpoint. This proved to be helpful later on when we were outlining our own powerpoint.
Secondly, I went to the Women’s Center after class to speak with the director there about our program and to get her opinions. She said she really liked our idea and supported a lot of our groundwork in women’s stress and women’s need for community. This was helpful for our final proposals.
Thirdly, when we met up to finish up our final proposals, the meeting ended up taking a lot longer than we’d initially expected and there was mild conflict in regards to distribution of work and confidence in the direction we were headed, especially since a majority of the class feedback on our first presentation was negative and unsupportive. I talked with a teammate afterwards and we decided to discuss it to the group in our subsequent meeting. We eventually got all misunderstandings fixed and now I feel a lot more confident than before in our work and our final presentation.
Fourthly, I put it upon myself to take on the group’s final powerpoint responsibilities. I myself am a very experienced powerpoint maker and to my chagrin I quietly allowed a different teammate take on our previous powerpoint so that that person could claim a fair share of groupwork. Unfortunately our feedback on the presentation was negative in the design and art aspects, and so I felt I was the right person to take on the challenge this time around. My goal is to really make my group proud of the work I make, to impress more so this time around, and to have the best designed powerpoint, so here’s hoping.
This last week has been a pretty accomplished one as I feel that I went above and beyond my usual output and helped out my group a lot.
I admit that week 7 has seen fewer opportunities to better my leadership skills, especially as class 7B was cancelled and I had only met up with my group two times the entire week.
In terms of group work, I did the usual routine of contributing my opinions and challenging when necessary. I took on some responsibilities such as interviewing key players for our research when other members of the group did not seem like they wanted to.
On Monday after our 7A class, I had a 10 minute presentation to give in one of my other classes. I had the usual nerves, though not as intense as I had hoped. I think that a good chunk of my nerves stem from whether or not I feel I’m prepared for delivering a great presentation. Luckily I had a firm grip on the material and I thought my presentation and public speaking went over well. (Though some light nerves had me messing up words here and there throughout the presentation). I’ve found that confidence is the key to delivery. Even if your confidence may not be as high as you’d like, it helps to act confident, and soon enough I subsequently become more confident through acting it after the first few minutes. My teacher said I did excellent job, which made me happy.
Week 6 involved a few steps towards the right direction.
Firstly, we had our peer evaluations on 6A. These evaluations certainly made me see (in the opinions of my teammates) things that I’ve been doing well and things that I could use some work upon.
In terms of areas of improvement, nothing in particular was shocking; I knew that I needed to work on being more timely and my group let me know that. Also, a few felt that I wasn’t participating enough in discussion, which, though surprising (as I do feel I’ve been participating quite a bit, albeit in comparison to my past group experiences) I will work to become more active. Also, I am happy to say that week 6 saw no tardies by me.
A few of my group mates said that I’m charismatic and I’ve done a good job with developing the team chemistry. I really appreciated this feedback. I seem to be getting quite a bit of feedback lately on my so called “charisma” and I’m still figuring out how to take advantage of that.
In another one of my classes, I volunteered to speak in front of the class. This was new for me as I never really do that but it was interesting how much I enjoyed talking in front of people when I’m really in-the-know about that topic.
Class 6B’s 3D project took me back to my childhood. Although initially it felt a little silly drawing and taping things together with the group, I ended up really enjoying myself. I let my reservations on the silliness take away from what I contributed to the group–I like to draw things sometimes, and wasn’t necessarily gung-ho about sharing my ideas with the group, but after a little bit of encouragement from Bramhall, I quickly fell into my zone. It all goes to show that I have a little bit more work to do in terms of presenting ideas confidently to the group. I shouldn’t let my worries of what people will think deter me.
I would say that I’m very proud of the work our group has been producing. We’ve done a good job at thoroughly dedicating our time into meeting up and working hard on our presentation and handling all details. Everyone is concerned about doing well and I do feel that this class has helped me learn a thing or two about the value of group work and it’s payoffs when done right.
I thought our presentation was good, though judging from the Q&A we have some areas to polish up on. Presenting myself was an interesting experience–I wasn’t so much nervous to actually present (which is new for me) but rather I was more nervous that the class would rip our proposal to shreds. I’m wondering if this lack of nerves over public speaking is a step forward towards where I want to be. My group mate told me afterwards that she felt I looked really relaxed and comfortable–something that she didn’t think she could do no matter how much practice she had. I thought this was a very nice and interesting compliment in that I was very afraid (of being ripped to shreds) and thus very tense on the inside. I’m taking this feedback and the feedback I got from Jonathan Hall week 3 from the festival and wondering if I could tweak myself at certain spots to eventually become a solid all-around public speaker.
Also, in lieu of my showing up tardy again during class 5B, I’ve decided to add a 6th step to my LDP to work upon and better myself as a leader. I’m not a morning person and have always struggled to get to my 8AM classes on time, so I think this is a good opportunity to practice improvement.
As for my self-evaluation, I would say that I’ve been working adequately the first half of this term. I’ve stepped up to the plate when other members of the group didn’t want to or couldn’t, I’ve dedicated myself to the group and the project, and I’ve done all that is expected of me. I say adequate because:
A) I’ve done all that is expected of me, but I think I want to get past this and do more than is expected of me.
B) For the most part I’ve been an executer than creator; others in the group have been had a more active part in coming up with what needs to be done and I’ve had a more active part in executing those actions. I’d like to instead have more balance in both roles for the latter half of the term.