The learning design of this subject is to focus on your own leadership journey and not to study leadership as some remote, theoretical concept that applies to other people. This assessment enables you to build self-awareness and a clear sense of how you came to be the person and emerging leader that you are today. It encourages deep reflection on your life and leadership journey to your present position. It helps you to increase your understanding of your current leadership capabilities and potential.
Reflect on you own leadership journey up until now, your current role or position, how you influence others, how you lead, contribute to or react to organisational and cultural changes and your current level of self-awareness and self- confidence to lead others in your organisation and/or community.
The body of your report should address the following issues.
- our current role, responsibilities and leadership challenges in your organisation or community.
- Key aspects of your leadership journey so far (eg who influenced you, how you formed your self-image as a leader, any critical events that have been influential, etc). This should not be a chronology or a CV. It is a reflection on a small number of the most influential aspects or turning points in your leadership development.
- The summary results of the Gallup Strengths Finder and any other personality or leadership style inventories that you have completed and your interpretation of the results.
- A summary of feedback on your current leadership style, capabilities, effectiveness, interpersonal and social skills associated with Emotional Intelligence, personality assessments etc, that you have received from your partner and other trusted sources.
- The implications of the feedback and your reflection on its significance. It could include your preliminary thinking on what you do about it, to be expanded in your second submission.
- Link to theory and conceptual frameworks that explain or clarify your experiences and feedback. (You could incorporate the links to theory/models throughout your report or collect them in one section. The important point is that you anchor your submission with appropriate models or theories.
Leadership plays a significant role in my life. It is the ability that one possesses to lead a team. Leadership is an essential pillar that supports business organizations. A leader has several responsibilities like guiding team members, motivating them, setting goals for the team, managing team’s performance, addressing issues and ensuring a positive workplace environment (Chen & Rybak, 2017). Through this course, I have been able to reflect upon my leadership skills. This has helped me in identifying my strengths and weaknesses by seeking feedback from those around me. This report throws light upon my current leadership role, my leadership experiences as well as my learnings from them, results of my self-reflection tool and the feedback that I have received from others regarding my strengths and weaknesses.
Current leadership role
I work in the retail industry. At present I am leading a team of four people. I have been in my current role since the last fifteen months. I work in the business development department and my essential job is to generate revenue for my organization. My present role has been full of challenges and has therefore been an incredible learning opportunity for myself. I have adopted an autocratic leadership style. This style of leadership is centralized in nature and the decision making authority rests solely with the leader (Iqbal, Anwar & Haider, 2015). This style works well for my team because my team members are very new to the organization and have no selling experience from the past. As a leader of the sales team, I also need to associate with a different kinds of people. This role has widened my horizons and has helped me understand the roles and responsibilities of a leader.
Leadership journey so far
My first leadership role was when I became a project head in my school. It was a summer term project and we received credit in that project. Even though, it was a small project, the leadership role played a significant part in my life because that was my first ever experience of working with a team. Working with team members requires effective coordination. As a leader, I tried to ensure that all team members were participative and contributed to the project. My second and most important leadership role of my life was when I was elected as the captain of the volleyball team for two years. This role significantly contributed to my learning and growth as an individual.
Through this role, I learnt punctuality, honesty, dedication, passion and team work. This was the first time, I was responsible for a large group. Therefore I became responsible and tried my best to ensure coordination within team members. As a team, I ensured that we were extremely transparent and honest with each other. This helped in building trust and helped us in improving our game.
One of my most important learnings through this role was the ability to lead by example. A leader must be able to lead by example in order to garner trust and respect of team members. When I first took responsibility of the team as a captain, we were lagging in our game and has a difficult time competing with other teams. I realized that our practices were always delayed and we could not adhere to a fix schedule. This is when I sat with my team members, tried to motivate them and instil a sense of discipline in the entire team. I started reaching practice before time and slowly everyone followed suit. I also ensured that we ate right, worked out well, did our stretching regularly and most importantly I ensured that all the team members build and maintained positive relationships among each other. This helped in ensuring coordination within the entire team. We decided fixed days for our practice and ensured that we followed the schedule strictly. Our game improved and our numbers improved but most importantly, the passion towards the game and the team building spirit amongst all team members significantly improved. Through this leadership role, I was able to enhance my skill and improve my personality.
After I completed this course, I started working at a retail shop. Within a span of fifteen months, I was promoted as a leader and given the responsibility of new members of the team. This was an entirely different experience because all of my team members were very new and knew little about the business. Therefore I had to start from the scratch and train them on the basics of the business.
Communication is the key to a successful team (Bonnacio et. al., 2016). Therefore, as a leader, I try to ensure transparent communication among all team members. Team members perform to the best of their abilities when they are motivated. An important responsibility of any team leader is to ensure high levels of employee motivation (Ristic, Selakovik & Qureshi, 2017). Lastly, as a leader, I also try to maintain a positive work culture wherein there is honesty, growth and dignity of work.
Gallup’s strength finder
In order to understand my leadership skills better, I also took the Gallup’s strength finder tool. This helped me in identifying my top five strengths. The first strength of mine was “Harmony”. This means that I try to avoid conflict as much as possible and look for areas of agreement. As a leader, I use this strategy to ensure less conflict among team members. The second theme for me was “Competition”. This suggests that I always try to compare my performance with others and make their performance a yardstick that I need to achieve. Sometimes it is motivating while on other times it can be a very exhausting experience. A leader must be competitive in nature and my work towards ensuring better performance than other (DuBois et. al., 2015). However, it is important to ensure that the competition is healthy.
The third theme for my personality was “Consistency”. A leader must always be unbiased and impartial (Antonakis & Day, 2017). The theme of consistency demonstrates that I tend to treat people the same and aspire for balance in life. In my personal life too, I tend to get offended when face or witness any kind of discrimination. The fourth strength identified by the test is “Empathy”. A leader must be empathetic towards team members and not sympathetic (Chan, 2016). An empathetic leader can bring about a higher levels of understanding with the team.
Lastly, my “individualization” theme makes me believe that every individual has certain attributes that are unique to the individual. This often makes me impatient with generalizations of any kind. A leader must not form opinions on the basis of any stereotypes and ensure the same culture within the team as well (Baker, 2014). My theme of individualization ensure that I do not generalize people on any basis.
Feedback from others
I also received feedback from my partner as well as my family members regarding my leadership skills. The feedback received was positive as well as negative. My partner mentioned that I possess excellent communication skills that have the ability to motivate team members in an effective manner. I agreed with this feedback because I have always worked hard in building my communication skills. I spend a lot of time in reading. Being an avid leader has helped my communication skills. A leader must possess good communication skills because the leader is the centre of communication for the entire team (Men, 2014).
My family members also mentioned that I am extremely disciplined and this inspires my team members to stick their schedule and work in a disciplined manner. This ability also brings about a culture of discipline in the entire team. As a leader of the sales team, it is important to be motivated at all times. A sales person meets different kinds of people and often have to face a lot of rejection. This may be demotivating for people. As a leader, I try to ensure that my team members are motivated and take their performance by the day. This also creates a positive working atmosphere.
One of the feedbacks that I received was that I sometimes lack the ability to bring about participation within the team. I tend to do that because it is a new team. However, I have been given a feedback that I should trust my team more and allow them to participate in the decision making process of the team. This would enhance their sense of ownership towards the team and help them in taking responsibility. A participative leadership style also fosters creativity and innovation within the team leading to improved overall performance (Lam, Huang & Chan, 2015).
Every leader has a different style of working and no single leadership style can work for every kind of situation (Saeed et. al., 2014). One of the most important feedbacks that I received from my senior was that I must adopt different leadership styles for different situations. For example, during month end when the sales pressure is very high, I could adopt an autocratic leadership approach but on days when the entire team’s risk appetite is relatively higher, I could adopt a democratic and more participative approach of leadership.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs defines five levels of needs that are essential for individual’s motivation (Robertson, 2016). My reflection upon my leadership journey has helped me understand that my leadership roles are helping me satisfy my need for self-esteem.
Leadership has always been an important subject for me because the leadership roles that I have been offered have had a significant contribution in my life. Through this course, I have been able to reflect upon my own leadership journey as well as seek feedback from those around me. The entire process has been overwhelming. I have learnt about several different facets of my personality. In order to improve my leadership, I would work upon being more flexible with my leadership style as well as be more assertive in nature. I would also ensure that I keep a culture of openness in communication and utmost transparency in my team. I would work towards building a motivated team of people who are working towards the same goal. This course and this self-reflection is sure to help me in my future leadership endeavours.
Antonakis, J., & Day, D. V. (Eds.). (2017). The nature of leadership. Sage publications. United States.
Baker, C. (2014). Stereotyping and women's roles in leadership positions. Industrial and Commercial Training, 46(6), 332-337.
Bonaccio, S., O’Reilly, J., O’Sullivan, S. L., & Chiocchio, F. (2016). Nonverbal behavior and communication in the workplace: A review and an agenda for research. Journal of Management, 42(5), 1044-1074.
Chan, G. P. L. (2016). Differences in leadership traits between superintendents from traditional and nontraditional career paths (Doctoral dissertation, Fordham University).
Chen, M. W., & Rybak, C. (2017). Group leadership skills: Interpersonal process in group counseling and therapy. SAGE Publications. United States.
DuBois, M., Koch, J., Hanlon, J., Nyatuga, B., & Kerr, N. (2015). Leadership Styles of Effective Project Managers: Techniques and Traits to Lead High Performance Teams. Journal of Economic Development, Management, IT, Finance & Marketing, 7(1).
Iqbal, N., Anwar, S., & Haider, N. (2015). Effect of leadership style on employee performance. Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 5(5), 1-6.
Lam, C. K., Huang, X., & Chan, S. C. (2015). The threshold effect of participative leadership and the role of leader information sharing. Academy of Management Journal, 58(3), 836-855.
Men, L. R. (2014). Why leadership matters to internal communication: Linking transformational leadership, symmetrical communication, and employee outcomes. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(3), 256-279.
Ristic, M. R., Selakovic, M., & Qureshi, T. M. (2017). Employee motivation strategies and creation of supportive work environment in societies of post-socialist transformation. Polish Journal of Management Studies, 15.
Robertson, F. (2016). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In Gower Handbook of Internal Communication (pp. 143-148). Routledge. United Kingdom.
Saeed, T., Almas, S., Anis-ul-Haq, M., & Niazi, G. S. K. (2014). Leadership styles: relationship with conflict management styles. International Journal of Conflict Management, 25(3), 214-225.