Developing Professional Practice

Truly talented HR professionals focus all their skills and energy on creating a top-performing workforce that delivers stable results. To be able to lead people into becoming true professionals, an HR specialist has to possess a range of people-oriented skills that define the role and the meaning of his or her position. Such skills include effective communication, character assessment, negotiation, multitasking, and other abilities (CIPD 2015).

Communication is the key aspect of a job in an HR department (Uen 2012). Most of the tasks of an HR professional consist of interactions with people, which makes the ability to communicate effectively the most valuable skill to possess. The quality of performance and the swiftness with which a task will be carried out depend on how well a manager can describe it. Since in most environments people are quite diverse with respect to promptness, character, finesse, and other qualities, it is necessary to find an approach to each person in order to develop a well-balanced team. This is also achieved through communication.

Being a good judge of character is also essential, as an HR professional has to be able to detect and tackle personal issues that might affect an employee’s productivity. As conflicts arise between employees and the company, an HR manager has to be a mediator who balances the needs of both. Multitasking is invaluable in an HR setting, as everyday tasks are plentiful. Keeping track of all of them at once while prioritizing one over another and managing to complete all of them is what distinguishes a true HR professional.

All these skills, and the situations in which they are typically needed the most, determine the meaning of being an HR manager. This profession is what keeps both employees and directors satisfied. The HR manager ensures that the staff is highly trained, well equipped to perform their tasks, and does not have complaints, and that the board of directors is doing everything in their power to create the best environment for top performance, which results in profit for everyone in the organization.

According to the HR professional map (CIPD 2015), there are certain areas where the above-mentioned talents are best applied. Among these areas are organizational design and development, education and information sharing, employee relations, and other dimensions. Interactions with employees seem to be the dominant field of work for an HR professional due to the fact that the HR professional is responsible for adequate performance, growth opportunities, motivation, and other personnel-related issues. A skillful HR manager reinforces the bonds between members of the organization, balances individual and collective interests, and motivates employees to contribute to the organization to the best of their abilities.

In order to ensure the top performance of every employee, an HR professional has to pay attention to the level of the workforce’s professional development. Continuous employee education is one of the crucial factors that contribute to the organization’s competitiveness on the market, and therefore is also an HR manager’s task. As a middle manager between the organization’s top executives and the workforce, an HR professional has to envision the development of the organizational structure that will best suit employees in order to maximize their capacity to deliver positive results. For this reason, HR managers are actively involved in shaping the organization at various levels and are one of the key members for guiding the organization toward prosperity.

Thus the meaning of being an HR professional is imbued with the tasks they perform, the skills they possess, and the areas where they apply them. An HR manager binds the whole organization together by connecting people, balancing their needs, and developing the organization in a way that benefits employees to ensure that they are making an increasingly valuable contribution to the organization, which ultimately leads a company to success.

Elements of Group Dynamics

Group dynamics are the psychological processes that take place within a group or between different groups (Levi 2015). When interacting as part of a structure, people tend to develop certain behaviors; knowing these behaviors lets an HR manager successfully operate and balance the needs of individuals in different groups. Group dynamics consist of certain elements such as structure, communication, tasks, interpersonal relationships, power distribution, and atmosphere.

The group structure determines the boundaries within the groups, affects the decision-making process, and to certain extent influences personal relationships between members (Levi 2015). There are various group structures, such as traditional ones with a single manager who has all the authority and approves each procedure while overseeing all work by subordinates in order to ensure the achievement of a group goal. There are also groups with shared management where each team member has certain authority, and each group decision is made collectively. Group structure has a strong influence on group dynamics as the distribution of roles is crucial to the achievement of team and organizational goals.

Communication within the group is also a key aspect that is determined by the collective ability to listen, speak, and respond to other members of the team in order to achieve personal and collective goals. The group cohesiveness and the strength of personal and professional ties depend on the effectiveness of communication, which forms an important part of group dynamics. Group or personal tasks determine the structure, the power distribution, and a range of other features. Tasks can vary in length, complexity, and the number of people involved. Usually, each member has his or her own mission, but often the duties are interconnected, which influences the relations or dynamics within the group.

Interpersonal relationships can significantly influence a group’s dynamics and either hinder or benefit its performance (Levi 2015). When the group’s tasks or structure presupposes close collaboration and frequent interaction between various members, conflicts are often unavoidable, as each member may have their own vision of their tasks, the group’s goals, and other issues. Group atmosphere is strongly affected by the interpersonal relationships and is similarly able to affect group dynamics positively or negatively. It is also interdependent with the task and whether the pace of work is tense or relaxed.

The power distribution is usually determined by the group structure. However, this variable might also be influenced by the magnitude of a certain task. If an employee’s job is highly relevant at a particular moment, this member’s decisions or needs may become a priority in certain situations, which puts them in a position of power.

Thus group dynamics have many intrinsic variables that may sway the effectiveness of a team as a unit assigned with a certain task within an organization. Each element has to be carefully considered and managed in order to build a strong and well-organized body of workers capable of effective cooperation and performance. A flaw in any part of the intricate relations within a group could potentially lead to imbalance and destructive consequences for the organization. Another outcome of improper team dynamics is conflict. There are various reasons for conflicts, such as personal antipathies, a different vision of the goals, rivalry, and other causes. A professional HR manager has to be able to resolve all types of conflict by using specific conflict resolution strategies such as discussion, mediation, compromise, or voting.

A discussion involves encouraging the conflicting parties to settle their disagreement by talking, giving them the chance to resolve the dispute themselves (Stahl, Björkman & Morris 2012). This method is highly effective in situations where disagreements arise from a lack of communication, and it is often productive to let each side deliver their version of the situation in order to construct a picture of the whole situation together and find an optimal solution. Mediation implies the direct intervention of an HR manager to resolve the conflict between the parties (Wallensteen 2015). This technique seems to be effective in situations that the sides cannot resolve through normal communication and a neutral agent’s intervention could be the best option. Compromise also involves the manager’s intervention, but the manager’s participation is limited to encouraging each party to make a small sacrifice in favor of the other side in order to reach an agreement (Ulrich et al. 2013). Voting could also be a viable option that provides a swift and effective resolution, but its ability to moderate the inconvenience caused to the minority is limited.

Project Management Experience

In order to illustrate certain project management and conflict resolution techniques, I can relate my personal experience. Recently, I have been a part of an informal university project organized by my friends. The project was aimed at raising awareness of freshwater preservation among students at our university. Being aware of project management strategies, the group of active students conducted a preliminary meeting where the vision, structure, roles, schedule, and tasks for each member were defined through consensus. Since each member was eager to participate and was positively attuned to productive collaboration, the communication process had been smooth. However, at a certain point, we faced a particular difficulty that obstructed the project.

Some of our group members attracted the participation of other students who wanted to be a part of the project, but were given tasks that did not correspond to the plan we initially outlined at the improvised board meeting. This occurred because not all of the initial members were informed of the changes to the group and the emergence of the new tasks. As a result, the contribution that those new members made was either irrelevant to the initial project or contradicted the outlined vision. The root of the problem was in deciding whether we should amend our goals or simply disregard the new member’s contribution, thereby excluding them from the group.

This issue was addressed through a discussion involving all original and new members of the group on the matter. Elements of compromise were also used in the process, as we decided that we should involve the new members and introduce them to our goals and collective vision, and at the same time ask them to amend their work in order to satisfy the set project criteria.

Since I was the member of the initial team, I took an active part in the discussion. I took it upon myself to organize and schedule the discussion and tried to reason with the people who at first disagreed with the option to integrate the new members. It was my idea to propose that new members should be allowed to join on condition that they agreed with the group’s original vision and the plan that was initially drawn, and would amend their work. In this situation, I acted as a mediator and successfully managed to ensure that each party was satisfied with the outcomes of the talks and would continue to contribute to the project.

Self-Assessment and Professional Development

As I see myself as a future HR professional, I would like to be successful in the various dimensions of this profession. I see my potential in effectively resolving conflicts and negotiating with people so that they act as I have envisioned. However, I tend to retain a certain degree of doubt that my persuasion is truly reaching the person’s heart. People often agree with my point of view, as I try to be rational and open-minded, but I do not often see that people eagerly follow my lead. Therefore, my professional needs as a future HR manager seem to lie in the area of handling employees. Persuading an employee to do a task as it needs to be done in your opinion might not always lead to the best performance or proper execution. Motivation, however, makes it possible to communicate a part of your vision and your desires to a person so that they are as dedicated to the task as you are. This defines my professional need for learning and perfecting various motivational techniques.

A first step towards learning how to motivate people is to study the literature on employee motivation in order to develop an understanding of its key features and techniques. Literature on psychology could also be a valuable addition to a reading list, as motivation is a psychological process and developing a deep understanding of the topic requires knowledge of every detail. The next step is probably practice. I could take part in contests of motivational speaking or devise small projects to acquire leadership practice and thus be able to hone my motivational skills.

As I plan to develop professionally in the sphere of HR management, I would like to occupy the position of HR manager at a real estate development company such as Client of Macdonald & Company. The job requires five to six years of experience and the ability to handle compensation and benefits, recruitment policy, and the whole range of employee relations. The company has an office of 25 employees, which corresponds to a small company. At this company, I can reach my potential to motivate and help the company grow and develop by recruiting new people and advocating for a better working environment for the existing employees so they can contribute to the best of their abilities.

To be able to qualify for this position, I need to perfect my skills in accounting to be able to expertly handle questions concerning benefits and compensation. As I already mentioned, I consider motivational leadership a crucial skill, and I need to master it to be the perfect candidate for this job. To meet the experience requirement, I can work at lower-level managerial positions in hotels, where the experience requirements are lower. Such a position is currently open at the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche.

Reference List

Levi, D 2015, Group dynamics for teams, 5th edn, New York, Sage Publications.

Stahl, GK, Björkman, I & Morris, S (eds.) 2012, Handbook of research in international human resource management, Northampton, 2nd edn, Edward Elgar Publishing.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) 2015, The CIPD profession map. Web.

Uen, JF, Ahlstrom, D, Chen, SY & Tseng, PW 2012, ‘Increasing HR’s strategic participation: the effect of HR service quality and contribution expectations’, Human Resource Management, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 3-23.

Ulrich, D, Younger, J, Brockbank, W & Ulrich, MD 2013, ‘The state of the HR profession’, Human Resource Management, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 457-471.

Wallensteen, P 2015, Understanding conflict resolution, New York, Sage Publications.

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