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Elaine Cartas' Career Assessment Portfolio

My Managerial Self Assessment

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Communications


Communication is essential in everyday life as we continuously interact with fellow peers, teachers, and loved ones. Therefore, communication can be defined as the process of transferring information, meaning, and understanding from sender to receiver. Yet, the main purpose of communication is to clearly understand the information being given. Furthermore, if communication cannot be effectively understood by both the sender and the receiver, it can lead to a variety or problems such as frustration and resentment.

My strength in communications is perceived in my confidence to verbally communicate with others. I came from a unique high school, International Polytechnic High School, which emphasizes on international and global studies, project-based learning, interdisciplinary course work, and team and communication skills. The intense and rigorous work I did during high school has allowed me to become the effective communicator I am today. During my freshmen year of high school, I can vividly remember going into my psychology class where we were assigned specific topics within a five member group. Additionally, we were given only one hour to prepare for the presentation. During each presentation, we were critiqued by our peers and our teacher through commendations and recommendations. Although I was given critical criticisms with my verbal communication, it has allowed me to learn how to become a better communicator. Thus, I have been able to present with others through such comfort and confidence. This can be reflected upon my numerous presentations I have performed among my peers, teachers, and family as I was often praised for my competent verbal skills.

Furthermore, this quarter has been such a challenging and yet wonderful learning experience. I applied to the Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP), an intense five week summer program that teaches advanced research methodology, analytical, and communication skills. There was 57 applicants with only twenty positions. The most critical component of admission into the program is the interview process. During the interview, I felt very confident, perhaps overly confident. As a result, I was put on the wait –list. I was devastated when I found out the results; however, I did not let this stop me from learning how to become an effective communicator. I meet up with the interviewers and asked for my weaknesses during my interview. I soon realized that I was physically too comfortable while verbally communicating. For instance, my posture leaned towards them while conversing. Also, I lacked confidence in presenting to them what my specific future endeavors were. I truly believe that in order for one to be successful in life, one must learn from their failures through critical criticism. Without failures, we cannot become successful. As a result, I used the suggestions that I learned from the interviewers and applied them to future interviews. For instance, I applied to numerous summer internships for GSE Abroad, Disneyland, and Health Insurance. All of which I was offered a position. In addition, I have attended numerous networking conferences to meet professionals with similar interests, who I still maintain a relationship with. Although I was disappointed in myself for not getting into SAEP, the experience has allowed me to become a stronger communicator.

Even though communicating with others is easy for me, I am not as great when it comes to writing. I tend to cringe at the very thought of it. I was even hesitant upon beginning this paper. Yet, I was able to finish this paper illustrating that the goal is easily attainable. As mentioned in Fiedman’s article, “What Do You Mean I Can’t Write?” the article emphasizes that to become a promotable executive, one must be able to write effectively. During high school I easily wrote A papers, yet as soon as I entered UCI taking Humanities Core, I received my first C. I was shocked. I immediately meet with my professor and asked her what I lacked. She told me I lacked the basic structures of writing--the ability to organize and provide clarity. Therefore, I continuously worked with my professor to master these skills and I was able to get an A by the end of the year. Although I know the criterion for an A paper, I still need to master the ability to write effectively.

Furthermore, I believe that the most critical part of communication is to clearly understand the information received. For instance, I was a very accident prone, which is justified by the numerous scars I have on my body. Anyways, when I was living in LA, I lived in a very steep hill. And since it was LA, I was only limited to rollerblading in front of my house as well as my aunt’s house, which was next door. Yet, as kids we never seem to listen. So, I got up to the half way point, rollerbladed down the hill, and got the nastiest bruises on my thighs. Therefore, I believe that understanding the information given is significant for all college students [as well as children] to know in order to avoid emotional and physical pain.


Teamwork


Twenty-first century organizations are known for their complex tasks and objectives. Therefore, it is not surprising that diverse teams of different knowledge, skills, and attitudes are needed to make decisions. Yet, the more diverse a group is, it is likely that there will be a greater conflict. Thus, it is absolutely crucial that anyone in hopes of becoming a manager must learn how to understand different types of groups and how they function, and how to effectively lead.

As I have previously mentioned, I came from a unique high school which based its curriculum around group based projects. Due to this constant exposure of working in groups, I believe that I am a superb dynamic team member who respects others’ unique beliefs and values. The ability to respect others can be reflected upon my high score in the assessment, “Are You A Team Player?” The test assessed one’s ability to follow group norms while respecting the distinct differences among others. These norms are essential since there are various interpersonal relationships involved, which creates complexity for groups to achieve their goals. I find that whenever I am part of a group, I identify all of my group members’ differences, and learn to respect them. In return, they highly respect my individuality, values, and beliefs. My personal experience upon the reciprocity of respect shared within the groups has allowed me to work in groups with high degree and trust. As a result, I tend to follow the norms and standards of groups I work with by putting team goals ahead of my own. Additionally, I can easily identify when a group member seems uncomfortable during meetings or is not saying anything. To make them feel comfortable, I encourage them to raise any issues of concerns or any suggestions they might like to add. This encouragement allows members of a group to work in a supportive atmosphere and decreases the chance of any conflict. Thus, it is vital for a group to work in harmony in order to achieve a group’s specified goals.

Though I display a high level of regard among the different beliefs and values of each of my group members, I tend to suffer from the pressures of conformity, also known as groupthink. Groupthink is a mode of thinking in which agreement among members of a group become so dominant, that it prevails over other alternatives. This mode of thinking proves to be dangerous since I tend to rationalize that a specified choice is perfect and mindguard any possible alternatives that may conflict with the specified course of action. Since I have identified that pressures of conformity is detrimental to a group’s success, I can easily overcome groupthink by encouraging each member to critically evaluate the proposals and to provide more suggestions. Therefore, the openness to express differences of opinions and being receptive to novel approaches can minimize any groupthink tendencies.


Self-Management


Self-management analyzes one’s ability to manage their own behavior by prioritizing one’s time, assessing one’s work ethic, understanding ethical issues, and having a tolerance for ambiguity.

Throughout my life I have consistently shown effective time management skills, a high level of high work ethic, and a clear understanding of ethical issues. Living in a Westernized society where everything is sequential like a river, I find it imperative to keep track of my daily appointments through a planner. This quarter has been by far the most challenging in being a researcher, undergraduate teacher’s aide, and a student. The duties and responsibilities held by each role is challenging in itself, but learning to balance it proves to be a daily test for myself. However, I still manage to meet all my expectations. Thus, I have learned that time management is necessary in meeting all my daily goals by putting “first things first.” The notion “first things first” is one that I live by and emphasizes the listing of daily goals from urgent to the least urgent. For instance, whenever I have a test the following day, I ensure that I first review my lecture notes and reading materials; catch up on reading from other classes; and still make time to work out. I strongly believe that the ability to meet daily activities, or short term goals, can lead to the ability to meet long-term goals. For instance, I intend to go to graduate school. In doing so, I must do well in all my classes as an undergraduate by prioritizing my time to study for tests and catching up on reading. Therefore, the capacity to manage my time is needed in accomplishing my short and long term goals.

Another necessity to becoming an effective self-manager, is the ability to have a high work ethic. The “Work Ethic” test measures one’s level of work ethic. This particular inventory allows one to examine their self motivation. As illustrated on the test, I have a high work ethic. To many, I am perceived as a perfectionist. Due this perception, I have been able to do well academically and achieve all my goals. Thus, I have taken pride in striving to do well in everything. Also, it has made me attentive to minor details. Although perfectionism provides me with the ability to accomplish tasks in such high regard, I find it difficult to be fully satisfied. As I mentioned earlier in the communications component of this paper, I have often asked peers, loved ones, and professionals to provide me feedback. Also, I fear on novel experiences because risks are not guaranteed to perfection. Therefore, having high standards in all my daily rituals can result to an overall dissatisfaction. Thus, I must learn that I am only human and that no one is perfect, and that even Superman had his flaws. As cliché as that sounds, it is something I must learn to override and hopefully I can be fully satisfied with my life.

A significant factor in self-management is one’s ethic. Ethics provides businesses with a framework for managers to operate their firms efficiently. The ability to have a strong ethical foundation is imperative as we live in a global economy with cultural differences. I have little tolerance for any business with low levels of ethics. For example, I was offered a six month internship to work at Disneyland. Disney’s college program originated in Florida’s Disneyworld, and was brought to Disneyland at the beginning of last year. I was instantly thrilled when Disney hired me. Yet, after mentioning this program to my mentor, he brought up the Disneyworld intern controversy. The Disney intern college program provides students with the ability to work as a cast member for 28-33 hours a week, while being compensated for a small salary. Also, admission into the college program allows students to take college credit classes. Although this may seem like a promising program, many critics point out that Disney uses college students to get younger employers and to get of senior employees. Additionally, students within the Disneyworld college program are notoriously known for their high rates of drop out. Consequently, the ethical dilemmas that rose from Disney had altered my choice in not becoming a part of the program. As a result, I would never work with a company that had ethical issues that did not coincide with my own beliefs and values.

Even though I can successfully prioritize my time, have a high work ethic, and have a fair understanding of ethical issues. However, I lack the ability to have tolerance for ambiguity as shown in the “Tolerance of Ambiguity” assessment. Having a tolerance of ambiguity is significant within a business organization. In order for an organization to be successful, one must have a tolerance of ambiguity to be flexible, innovative, and dynamic. Yet, I lack these skills because I love the comfort of having everything guaranteed. This is displayed as I accomplish specific tasks during precise times. Furthermore, this allows me to get many tasks done throughout the day. Yet, I tend to ignore possible surprises that may occur during the day. As a result, I am left with dissatisfaction in not meeting all of my goals. I now recognize that I need to be more flexible and realize that life is not guaranteed because if it was, we would all be bored. Flexibility allows one to be innovative, a challenge that I can learn to grasp.


Leadership


We often think of leadership as the head CEOs, yet being an effective leadership can be displayed through all levels within an organization. To become an effective leader, one must be able to exert their power effectively to implement the organization’s goals, while motivating people to do their tasks. Thus, the balance of maintaining these components proves that leadership is a challenging position.

I firmly believe that I am a great team member, but an even better leader. French and Raven’s “Personal Power Profile,” examines one’s power or the ability to exert influence among others. After taking the test, I that I use the reward power most often. Reward power rests on the belief that a manager must give others a reward through some type of compensation such as promotions, benefits or time off. This compensation system encourages employers to work. When reflecting upon my leadership styles during the course of my high school, I can see where I used the reward power. During group meetings, I would reward group members for meeting specified goals by taking a fifteen minute break. Although this is a great way to motivate others, I realize that the system can backfire. This is often shown as group members divert their attention from their responsibilities and duties to the rewards they may attain for getting it.

Although I have mentioned that effective leaders are ones that can motivate effectively, it is crucial that leaders learn to manage human relationships. Today, organizational leaders are often exposed to a global environment with cultural diversity. Thus, sensitivity to cultural diversity provides leaders with challenges as well as opportunities. The “Global Readiness Index” assesses one’s ability to be culturally sensitive. I received a high score in my ability to be receptive among the various cultural differences and the ability to work effectively across all cultures. This is true as I was put into a situation where I was in a group of two other Filipinos and one Caucasian. I immediately knew that my Caucasian group member was uncomfortable with the arrangements. However, her different ethnicity did not stop me from learning about her culture. I soon learned to respect her values and beliefs as we began to work more closely together, and more importantly effectively. By learning how to be culturally sensitive, I have learned how to manage effectively. This is furthermore displayed in McGregor’s self-fulfilling prophecy of Theory X, or the assumption that people inherently want to do well, and will do so using creativity in the workforce. Even though I may show a high respect to other cultures, I lack global experience. Being adaptive to the characteristics of other cultures is needed to be globally competitive. To solve this, I intend to study abroad one semester in Europe and to learn more about their unique cultural values and beliefs.


Conceptual Skills


Conceptual skills encompass a variety of components such as creativity, problem solving and critical thinking, and decision making. Hence, conceptual skills are necessary for all individuals to grow regardless if their managers or not.

I have been blessed with the talent of being creative. Creativity is needed in order for managers to maintain a successful business. According to Ettlie and O’Keefe’s ”Innovative Attitude”test, I scored upon the top quartile. While applying for UCI’s Peer Educator Program for the upcoming year, I was asked to think of a creative way to get my group members to learn my information. I instantly thought of a creative activity based on Mike Deblieux’s “Do Tell Training Model,” which implements the importance of effective communication skills and the understanding of the information. Therefore, I applied the model to a simple task such as teaching someone how to put a cell phone on silent. In doing so, I used the model by performing the action, verbally instructing, and then allowing the other to perform the task. This model allows both the sender and receiver to mutually interact with one another for a common goal – to clearly understand the information being sent. Thus, I was able to think of a creative activity.

Additionally, I am a keen problem solver. I can assess a problem at hand and analyze the problem needed to fix it. Therefore, I am a proficient systematic thinker who analyzes things in a logical sequence. Through each step, I am able to collect and analyze information. I know when to use my intuition and not rely on all my decisions due to it. However, I tend to overly analyze too much. By being too critical, I am often fixated on problems which disables me from getting the task at hand solved. Consequently, I am often indecisive. Even though I am a great problem solver, I am not a great problem seeker. A problem seeker refers to an individual who can proactively fix a problem. Thus, I overly analyze things that results in indecision to get anything done.


Professionalism


Professionalism refers to one’s capability to be presented in a positive and managerial impression. Although this is a subjective topic, I believe that I am a regarded as a highly self-empowered individual. This is perceived through my continuous networking with professionals among the field of industrial organizational psychology. I have attended numerous conferences and meetings such as Professionals In Human Resources Association monthly meetings and the Claremont Graduate University Panel. Also, I have undergone a variety of interviews which has allowed me to gain insight on my strengths and weaknesses. The ability to recognize my faults has allowed me professionally grow. Thus, I perceive the world as a large buffet, we need to pick and choose what our real passion is in order to become satisfied.

Professionalism comes with time through numerous critiques with fellow professionals. I recognize that although I may be an exemplary professional in comparison to my peers, I still have a lot to learn. Professionalism comes with time, and how one approaches and learns from opportunities will shape one’s future success.


Conclusion


I entered UCI in high hopes of becoming a clinical psychologist. During my senior year of high school, I did research on autism. I instantly grew in love with autism, or so I thought. In the start of the school year I did an internship in the Pyramid Autism Center, but I soon realized it was not my true passion. Rather, it was a safeguard since I was knowledgeable about it. Since I tend to over analyze my life consistently, I vowed to myself that I would pursue a career that I was truly infatuated with. In my quest to find a career, I was thrilled to learn that the career center held a psychology panel that consisted of: a school psychologist, clinical psychologist, music therapist, and an industrial organizational psychologist. After the meeting, I introduced myself to the industrial psychologist. After conversing with her, I immediately became interested in her field and talked to her for an hour. I soon learned what industrial organizational psychology is. Industrial organizational psychologists are interested in making organizations more productivity while ensuring workers are given a satisfied environment. I was fortunate enough to remember that a faculty member was in a pursuit for a doctorate degree in industrial organizational psychology. Thus, I immediately contacted him and now I am doing a literature review examining organizational leadership. Organizational leadership examines how leaders affect the business environment.


With this great epiphany, I sought numerous conferences and programs that would further my career goals. As mentioned earlier, I attended the Professionals in Human Resources Association monthly conference, the Claremont Graduate University Panel. Also, I have attended the UCI Social Sciences Alumni luncheon. Furthermore, I was offered a position to become a Peer Educator next year where I hold workshops that provide psychoeducational services to the UCI student body. This program will allow me to gain more skills in being an effective team member as well as leader. Also, as previously stated, although I did not receive admission into the Summer Academic Enrichment Program, I have sought for a variety of summer internships. I have been offered a position for the GSE Abroad Program and the Disney College Program. However, I do intend to reapply for the Summer Academic Enrichment Program next summer. Additionally, I have applied for the Target College Internship program, and will have an interview later this week. Thus, I intend to do a summer internship that will hone my professional skills to further my career goals in becoming an industrial organizational psychologist.

In the course of my undergraduate experience, I aspire to meet my professional goals. In doing so, I will be double majoring in psychology and sociology with a minor in management. By receiving a double major and minor, I believe it will provide me the best preparation into graduate school. However, this will further my undergraduate experience by an extra year. Also, I am planning to continue my research since research allows one to gain a one-on-one interaction with a distinguished faculty, develop skills and knowledge needed for one’s career goals, and applies research methods into real-world applications. In addition, I plan to do numerous business internships that will allow me to take charge of my learning and add meaning to my academic study through real world situations. Furthermore, I want to go abroad for a summer which will allow me to constantly challenge myself in exciting ways while gaining a new form of independence. Double majoring and minoring, researching, interning, and going abroad will allow me to be a great candidate for my dream school: Claremont Graduate University. Claremont’s industrial organizational program trains students to use psychological and organizational theory and research to improve the organization and employees. By meeting all of these goals, it will allow me to a highly competitive applicant into the business world.

ecartas@uci.edu