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Managing individual performance

Managing individual performance is a talent that one develops through education and experience. Understanding how to motivate and encourage different individuals is essential to organization success. Persons seeking managerial positions must educate themselves to optimize success. Many organizations utilize personality tests to evaluate how well an individual may fit for a specific position. “Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a widely accepted personality test designed to identify personal preferences. The indicator helps organisations to utilise the talent of its employees within the organisation.” (Rajagopal, 2008). This essay will discuss the Managing Individual Performance simulation offered by the University of Phoenix.

In management we create and utilize formal teams to complete certain tasks. Selecting the correct team members for the job can make or break one’s chances for success. According to Spendolini (2008), the five characteristics to look for when selecting a team include functional expertise, internal credibility, effective group interaction skills, communication skills, and motivation. It is very difficult to find all participants with each characteristic listed above; consequently we must find the perfect balance amongst all team members. According to Ellet (2006), a successful team must share commitment to each other, the mission, the customer, resolving conflict, and details.

In the managing

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individual performance simulation I selected the following four members; Michelle Levy, Lisa Stafford, John Conner, and Daniel Nichols. Each individual contributed his or her personal strengths. Michelle’s strengths included dependability, and good problem solving techniques. Lisa on the other hand has a communication degree and is very ambitious. John is very task oriented and enjoys sharing his knowledge with fellow teammates.

Daniel is very competitive, and has a quick-fix for many problems that may arise. Personally this step in the simulation was where most of my time was spent. In fact I probably read each profile four or five times before I made my decision. I matched Michelle with the role of building case files; this decision was based on her analytical skills, and to avoid unplanned events. Lisa took the role of moderating self help groups; I based this decision on her comfort with people. John was assigned the role of performing follow ups; this was a task oriented choice. Daniel was assigned the role of supervising confrontation sessions; this was based on his aggressive personality.

In order to manage a team effectively one must consider several factors. From the beginning importance must be placed on role definition. One is more likely to succeed if he or she has a complete understanding of what is expected. In this scenario the team is heterogenic, meaning people come from different backgrounds and exhibit different personality types. One must learn how to approach each personality type, and what will motivate each individual.

One must also consider the strengths of each individual, by enhancing ones strengths we can lessen ones weaknesses. As long as a common goal is shared amongst group members success is more likely to be achieved. Personality can play a very large role in group success or demise. Some are pessimistic while others are optimist. Some are leaders while others are followers, each holding equal importance. If everyone held the same personality traits the world would be a very ugly place. Depending on the goal of the team, different personalities are essential.

The Myers- Brigg Type Indicator identifies different characteristics contained by a personality these include extrovert versus introvert, sensing versus intuitive, thinking versus feeling, and judging versus perceiving. Extroverts seem to focus more on an outside variable, such as an object or person. They enjoy interactive situations, and enjoy learning from others and experiences. Introverts on the other hand are quieter, and prefer to learn from reading. While extroverts can deal with interruptions, introverts work better without interruptions.

Sensing is a characteristic of personality that focuses on the immediate needs; he or she tends to be a perfectionist based on research and facts. Intuitive personalities enjoy change; go where his or her mind takes them. Thinking personalities are logical and task oriented; where feeling personalities base his or her decisions on values, and what is happening on a personal level. Judging personalities like structure and timelines; where perceiving personalities like flexibility. Each personality characteristic offers its own benefits to teamwork.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs discusses five levels of needs. These needs include physiological, safety, belongingness, self-esteem, and self-actualization. “Maslow’s chart goes from survival (at the bottom) to the ideal existence, self actualization (at the top). Maslow’s whole point is that you cannot have self actualization if you do not have all the other elements in place first.” (Snell, 2007). Depending on what level an individual falls, different types of motivation are needed. Someone who is lacking needs on the lower levels may not be able to fulfill his or her obligation to a team.

In the simulation a situation arises where Michelle is faced with situation that takes her back to a rough time in her childhood. This situation placed Michelle into the safety level, fear has taken over Michelle’s ability to complete her role. From a management perspective I chose to counsel and encourage her with the help of a professional as well as reduce her workload. Lisa seems to be at the self esteem level. When faced with more than one advancement opportunity, balancing her workload becomes an issue. By defining her goals and adjusting her workload Lisa can be successful in her career and DARE.

In this scenario John is seeking self actualization; I chose to motivate him by bringing in DARE veterans to help. This allowed him to learn from those with experience, and improved his final performance. Daniel was also seeking self actualization; I chose motivation through additional training which improved the overall outcome. There are thousands of ways to motivate individuals, to choose the right option we must first understand what they are reaching for. Whether it is physiological needs from contributing too much personal time, or the need for self actualization understanding the optimal goal is key to success.

The team selections worked great. To be honest in the beginning I was slightly leery about the individuals we had to choose from. No one seemed to be a perfect fit for any of the existing roles. However, the proper motivations lead to complete success. Each team member was thrown a curve ball, in the end the completion of the DARE program was 100%. Throughout the simulation several detours appeared.

As in real life situations things happen that we do not expect and we have to learn how to deal with them. Depending on the individual team member that needed motivation to improve, one made a decision and moved on. These decisions truly affected the final outcome. Depending on the individual the approach could be completely different. One must consider the individual’s personality, the problem at hand, the best approach, the possible outcomes, and the effects on the team. One in management should never approach a situation without first looking at the whole picture.

The first time through the simulation I earned good results. This was a good thing; however I wanted to take more away from this assignment. In the end I repeated the simulation five times. From this experience I not only learned why my choices were correct, but also why the other approaches were incorrect. Going through this simulation I learned that my decisions hold high importance to the organization for which I work for. Each individual brings important needs to the table.

As a manager I must learn how to motivate a variety of individuals. Motivation is key, if one can learn to motivate his or her employees success will prevail. The way you approach an individual truly determines the outcome. You can not successfully manage a group of individuals that you do not know. The beginning to a successful management strategy is familiarizing yourself with your employees, and how they perform under different circumstances.

Reference

David Jennings, John J. Disney. (2006). Designing the strategic planning process: does psychological type matter? Management Decision, 44(5), 598-614. Retrieved November 30, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database.

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