Skills Journal (70 pts)
To facilitate your skill development, you will write a journal during Section 3 of the course. The
journal will be a record of the self-insights you’ve gained through the text reading, assessments, class
discussions, and skill practice / application activities. You are expected to write a minimum of four
journal entries in total. You need to write about four different skills, so that means one journal entry per
skill area (minimum).
Structure each journal entry by addressing “What?,” “So what?,” and “Now what?” questions
regarding the leadership skill. More specifically:
(1) “What” have you learned about your current ability level or confidence concerning this skill?
(2) What are the implications of this self-knowledge? (“So what?”)
(3) What should you do about it going forward? (“Now what?”)
I have posted a journal entry example on BB to help you understand the three points above.
Be sure to include the skill chapter name at the beginning of each journal entry. Remember: you
need to write about four different skill chapters. Clearly label the What? / So what? / Now what?
sections. Each entry should be a minimum of one single-spaced typed page. Format it using Times New
Roman 12 point font and one-inch margins. Your journal will be evaluated based on:
Adherence to assignment requirements
Effort and creativity in completing it
Evidence of significant understanding of course material
Writing style and mechanics
Skills Journal Example, “Communicating Supportively”
“What?” [What have you learned about your current ability level or confidence concerning this
From the ‘listening response style’ self-assessment I completed in class, I learned that I have a
tendency to rely on ‘deflecting’ and ‘advising’ response types. Regarding the first, ‘deflecting’, I
think I ‘deflect’ because it is how I express empathy; sharing a similar experience of my own is my
way of communicating that “I’ve been there” and “I know what you’re going through.” Concerning
my preference for ‘advising’, I think this is partly due to my obsession with efficiency. I enjoy
getting a lot of things done quickly, rather than deliberating over one or two and taking my time with
each. When I communicate, providing a quick solution (i.e., ‘advising’) seems very efficient, as
compared with ‘reflecting’ or ‘probing’ responses. Also, given that I have been a professor for
several years, I am used to being asked directly for answers, e.g., “how many pages does it have to
be,” “can I turn this in late?” or “what is the correct answer to #6?” While advising is certainly
appropriate when asked direct questions like these, I think the ‘advising’ habit spills over into
conversations where it would be more helpful to the other person if I ‘probed’ or ‘reflected’.
“So what?” [What are the implications (importance, consequences) of this self-knowledge?]
From what I’ve learned in this chapter, the problem with over-relying on ‘deflecting’ is it
switches focus from the speaker’s topic to my experience; I take over the conversation. It can come
off as “one-upping”, even when I think I’m being empathetic. This chapter opened my eyes to how
frustrating it may be for others I’m speaking with if I do this too often. They want to talk about what
happened to them, and I respond by talking about what happened to me. This is not the perception I
want others to have of me, so it’s important I work on ‘dialing this down’.
Concerning advising, by doing this too often, people may begin to rely on me for answers they
could develop themselves with a little encouragement. It can be disconfirming to others if I’m
always the “know-it-all” with a ready answer. It’s important to build others’ sense of confidence by
allowing them to solve their own problems once in a while!
“Now what?” [What should you do about this going forward?]
Going forward, I’m going to work on improving as a listener in the following two ways. First,
when someone I’m speaking with is telling me about a problem that clearly calls for commiseration
and compassion on my part, I am going to try to discipline myself to use at least one reflecting
response and at least one probing response, before shifting to deflecting or advising. I think this
rather modest change in communication behavior is doable, and I can build on it later as I see how
well it works out. Second, I am going to work on improving my discernment as a listener; that is,
getting better at identifying the difference between questions that should be responded to with a
direct answer versus those that should be responded to with another question. I think this will be
harder for me to do, as ‘advising’ is so habitual for me. Thus, I’m going to experiment with a
‘two-second rule’ – counting to myself two seconds before replying, to give myself a fair chance to
make this distinction. I think these two changes will help me become a more supportive
communicator, both in and out of the workplace.
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