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Leadership Self-Assessment

Updated May 5, 2022
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Leadership Self-Assessment essay

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Introduction

There are many misconceptions about followers and leaders. Many people think that leaders are born to lead and that not everyone can be a leader. I have found that to be untrue, as have many others in todays society. Leadership can be learned. Leaders are not born, they are made. Whether one decides to lead or to follow is up to them, however everyone has the potential to be a leader. Leadership is based on influence, not a position or a title. A leader is someone that others look up to. They are passionate and confident people who influence others around them. Many leaders help give others the courage they need to stand up for what they believe in. Some people believe that followers are not as important as leaders, but that is false. Without followers, leaders would have no one to lead. Followers implement ideas and assist leaders to make the most out of their organization, project, etc. Since I have started this course, Introduction to Leadership, I have learned many things about not only leadership/followership, but about myself as well. Before this course, I viewed myself as follower with few leadership roles in my past. After going through half this course, I learned that there is more to being a leader than what I previously thought. There is a science behind leadership and it’s a very interesting one at that. As both a leader and a follower, I have many strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In this essay, I will analyze all my results about my adaptability to different scenarios as a leader and follower.

Leadership History

To fully be able to analyze myself as a leader and follower, I have to understand the many different types of leadership as well as its history. “The trait approach was one the first systematic attempts to study leadership” (Northouse 19). The trait approach focused on certain traits that great leaders possessed, if one had these characteristics, they were a great leader. However, it was soon challenged by research that these traits were not universal (Northouse 19). Ralph Stogdill suggested that there were no consistent set of traits that made someone a leader. “An individual with leadership traits who was a leader in one situation might not be a leader in another situation. Rather than being a quality that individuals possess, leadership was reconceptualized as a relationship between people in a social situation” (Northouse 19). In 1959, Richard Mann conducted a study in which he developed a list of traits that he thought distinguished between leaders and nonleaders. His results included the six following traits: intelligence, masculinity, adjustment, dominance, extraversion, and conversation (Northouse 21). As it can be seen in society today, masculinity is not a determining factor such as Mann thought, however during the time of his research, leaders were predominately male. This goes to show how leadership has and continues to evolve just as our society does. The central traits that came from the research about trait approach include intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability (Northouse 23). Backtracking to 1955, Robert Katz wrote and published an article titled “Skills of an Effective Administrator” that changed how researches viewed leadership. “Katz’s article appeared at a time when researchers were trying to identify a definitive set of leadership traits” (Northouse 41). Katz’s goal was to “transcend the trait problem by addressing leadership as a set of developable skills” (Northouse 41). Many researchers believed that one was born a leader, not that leadership could be learned and developed. Katz claimed there were three main skills that one must have to be a leader: technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. “Skills are what leaders can accomplish, whereas traits are who leaders are (i.e., their innate characteristics)” (Northouse 42). “The behavioral approach emphasizes the behavior of leaders” (Northouse 67). This approach uses task behaviors and relationship behaviors.

My Results and Analysis

At the end of each indicated chapter, I took the leadership instrument assessments and have recorded my data. Some of the results were shocking, while others I had an idea of what they would be. In chapter 3, the three-skill approach was introduced. As described earlier in this essay, I had a rough estimate on what my scores would be for the skills inventory leadership instrument based on what I learned about the three-skill approach. My technical and human skill score were high, while my conceptual skill score was in the moderate range. These results make sense seeing as I like to be hands on with my work and that I am very good with people. I have good communication skills as well as making sure that everyone I work with knows how I feel about the work. When interacting with people, I try to make every person feel special and I make sure to give them my full attention. Conceptual skills are working with ideas and concepts, and while I did not score highly on this skill, I know that it can be enhanced and practiced to ensure that I am able to work better with ideas and putting thoughts into words. Looking at leadership through the behavioral approach, it “focuses on what leaders do rather than who they are” (Northouse 83). According to my results and current leadership experience, while I focus on task I tend to put more of an emphasis on relationship. I feel that as a leader, if my team/followers have good relationships with each other and myself then our productivity will be higher. According to my Jung Typology Test, my results were exactly what I thought they would be. My results were as follows: Introvert 9%, Sensing 16%, Feeling 41%, and Judging 39%. As a relatively shy person, I agree that I choose introversion over extraversion. I tend to lean more towards sensing over intuition and feeling over thinking. I am a very sensitive person with many emotions and I tend to make sure that the people around me are always happy and comfortable. According to my ISFJ personality type, I have a desire to serve others, I feel a need to be needed, I am often unappreciated and taken advantage of. I am a very loyal person and I always strive to produce the highest-quality work that I can (humanmetrics.com). As a follower, I am a pragmatist follower. I tend to stick to the middle road and follow the “better safe than sorry” mindset. I also do what is asked of me but rarely go above and beyond (Northouse 289). As a follower, I tend to question my leader’s abilities, but never aloud. I think of ways that I could do things differently and sometimes more efficiently if I were in the leader’s place.

Conclusion

As a leadership scholar, after analyzing all of my results, I am able to conclude that I am both a good leader and follower. My results were seemingly accurate and predictable. The assessments after each chapter were helpful in categorizing my abilities/traits as well as being eye-opening in some areas. I truly think that I learned a good amount from this project. I was able to look further into my abilities as well as my weaknesses and strengths. This project has helped me to see what areas I should focus on as a leader/follower and I found it to be very interesting.

My strengths include working well with other people, being both supportive as a leader and follower, good communication skills, openness, agreeableness, intelligence, and determination. A few of my weaknesses include introversion, a lacking in self-confidence, self-awareness, and a low internalized moral perspective. These are all things that I continue to pay attention to and focus on when I am acting as a both a leader and follower in my daily activities. Some of my weaknesses pose as threats to my leadership opportunities because I tend to shy away from leadership positions, even if I know I can make a difference in the positions. Opportunities are always available for me to strengthen my leadership and follower abilities and I continue to always accept them with happiness and determination. Different scenarios will always come into play when determining whether one or myself will be a leader or follower, but as leadership scholars we should always strive to aim for the highest.

Works Cited

  1. “ISFJ.” ISFJ Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging, www.humanmetrics.com/personality/isfj.
  2. Northouse, Peter G. UNF Taylor Leadership Institute Leadership Dynamics. Sage Publishing, 2019.
Leadership Self-Assessment essay

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