Step 1 – Personal Leadership Interests, Aspirations and Desires
The most important leadership features that I value are responsibility, accountability, competence, transparency, integrity, and dependability. I consider my leadership style to be people-oriented, where the focus is on motivating others and fostering friendly work teams. After one year after graduation, I hope to start work in an entry-level managerial position. At this point, my proven professional expertise and limited work experience would only qualify me to be in charge of a modest number of employees at a small department. Given that I am a fast learner, my leadership experience would have grown tremendously by the first five years. I expect to quickly rise through the ranks to take on more executive roles. I would be happy to attain executive status in a forward-looking organization, serving as team leader of independent self-motivating individuals.
I would like to pursue career paths in business. The positions that most appeal to me are people-oriented such as once in the human resource management, non for profit organizations, market research, insurance, and public relations, and customer services management.
My definition of success entails achievements beyond average personal achievements, where there is integration of personal achievements with personal value realization in the society. This implies that, besides achieving my personal objectives, I would consider myself truly successful when my contributions to society add positive value to the lives of other people in the society. Therefore, my personal definition concerns both my individual interests and the society’s.
Step 2 – Personal Qualities of Leadership
Among several self-assessment tests, I find the Integrity Test to be the most appealing. The results from the Integrity test taught me that integrity encompasses traits of absolute honesty and uprightness of character as well as high moral principles. As such, I learned ways of practicing integrity in leadership which include telling the truth at all times to both my subordinates and superiors, standing what I believe in even in instances where my belief may be unpopular as long it is right, and use my power to strive toward the organization’s goals or improving the welfare of those under my leadership. Therefore, I am committed to utilizing my leadership status for the greater benefit of others and not for my personal benefits. The Integrity test also underscored the essence of maintaining justice and fairness in the practice of my leadership. In this regard, it would be highly immoral to mix my personal emotions, feelings and prejudices when making decisions that affect other people. As a leader, I need to always listen to all sides of any given issue before making a decision, and be aware of both short- and long-term consequences of my decisions.
Results from the Decisiveness test underscored me the need to weight all facts and reach a timely decision when in a leadership position. It was beneficial by teaching way of being ensuring decisiveness which includes cultivating the culture of considering various points of view for every situation and then settling on my best choice. Furthermore, the test helped me realize the essence of making a timely decision. Particularly, it was interesting to learn that it is often more rewarding to make a good decision in time as opposed to making a perfect decision later on. The test made me understand that being decisive calls for greater courage. As a leader I am obligated to demonstrate moral courage to both my seniors and juniors by standing up for what is right regardless of its unpopularity. To show courage, therefore, I would need to place duty and commitment to my organization’s mission above personal desires and feelings. It is also paramount for a leader to have both physical and mental endurance to execute tasks under duress. In addition, I must resist the temptation of placing the blame on others whenever mistakes or failures take place.
The Dependability test stressed the significance of a leader fulfilling his/her commitments. It made it clear that there are different ways of developing dependability i.e. being available for meetings at required time; accomplishing my assigned tasks in time even in the face of obstacles; building a reputation of staying true to my word whenever I make pledges or promises; and minding the welfare of those relying to my leadership. The test further helped me realize that dependability can be achieved by consistently exhibiting a positive attitude towards my subjects and helping them overcome obstacles, both work-related and personal. Being a dependable leader would, therefore, is beneficial in the sense that it would earn me loyalty from subordinates as well as senior managers. I was able to figure out a way of earning loyalty such as standing up for my organization and its members in the face of unjust criticism. It also helps to discuss my organizational challenges and problems faced by those entrusted to my leadership only with appropriate personnel.
From the Knowledge test, it was interesting to realize that a leader gains much interest and confidence of his/her seniors and juniors when he/she demonstrates immense know-how about their areas of responsibility as well others. It was helpful to gain understanding that learning is typically a continual process. As a leader, I need to learn from other experienced persons through active listening and consistent studying. It is also important for me to pose questions or seek clarifications where I do not follow because that is the way to learn. It also encouraged me to be always vigilant and notice and correct any below standard performance in others, especially those who are subordinate to me. Mostly importantly, the knowledge test inspired me to lead by example — my actions should clearly show to other people how to execute their responsibilities in the best way.
The Transparency test emphasized the need to be overly honest and ethical as a leader. The overwhelming honesty need to be relayed with utter respect and concern for others. It is unethical to have hidden agendas that leave followers. Driving this key value down through my team would not only build trust among my followers, but also become tolerant and understanding when I do not have enough information to communicate at the moment. The test also taught me that it is beneficial to seek the opinions on a variety of matters. This practice serves to show others, especially the subordinates, that they are highly valued and respected. Therefore, it goes a long way in promoting transparency as a reciprocal agreement. As a leader I should often ask for feedback about my own performance so as to understand how others perceive me. This would help align my intentions with reality and design a plan for improvement.
During the last summer break, I had the privilege of having an internship at one of the leading manufacturing companies in the country. I was afforded an outstanding opportunity to lead a small sales team of the company. Soon after that, I learned that the distribution of the sales inquiries was distributed rather haphazardly to the marketing assistants at the office. Though the company’s internal sales and inquiries were rapidly increasing, all the inquiries were processed together without any filtering or prioritization of any kind. The process was painstakingly cumbersome and counterproductive. In consultation with my team, I undertook significant reforms to the system where the inquiries were grouped in terms of region or company size. The grouped inquiries were then channeled to the appropriate marketing assistants. I made sure to educate all the marketing assistants about the new framework and make it acceptable. Every member of the marketing team freely gave their input towards improving the new system. Indeed, implementation of the new framework resulted in desirable outcomes in the sense that the sales inquiries at the sales department were able to execute its duties more efficiently and effectively. The management of company was pleased with my intervention as it led to increased customers who expressed satisfaction with our work.