According to Webster’s Dictionary, leadership is the power or ability to lead other people, the act or instance of leading. I believe that Leadership is an art, the art to get others to follow and accomplish a common goal or task in a harmonic manner. A leader can be shown in all kinds of shapes and forms. To be a great leader many people believe it consists of modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart. Over the course of me learning how to become a better leader and being in leadership roles, I’ve learned that all these are very necessary to be a great leader.
In developing this idea of what leadership is, I examined what was most important to me in being a leader. Since leadership is such a broad term, this could not be a process whereby I could generalize leadership for everyone. Rather, the task is to determine who I am as a leader. I asked myself, what is it that shapes the vision? What are the factors that comprise a leader, and what makes these things add up to create something larger than ourselves as leaders? Thoughtful reflections on these things lead me to generate the following definition of leadership: Leadership is about more than simply having followers; it is not a title, and it is not achieved by just following a few principles. Leadership is complex, though at its core, it is having the courage to make the right choices – not just the popular ones, engaging others in a vision, and empowering followers to pursue a shared purpose of achieving a positive, lasting impact.
My leadership philosophy has been shaped by several factors, the first of which is the knowledge of self. I am a firm believer that until you know yourself first, you are not able to meet your fullest potential as a leader. The greatest relationships exist when each person knows first themselves and what they bring to the table, impacting all leader/follower relationships. The leader approaches the relationship confidently, knowing that the leader and follower can mutually benefit from their interaction. One of the most important things that I have done in terms of my personal development is to identify my core values. Possibly the most critical step to becoming an effective leader is to determine and understand one’s core values. Many of my values are a result of my childhood; however, these values have been shaped and tested throughout my time (personal and professional life).
I have determined the following items as my top eight core values or the tenets of my leadership approach:
Authenticity: One cannot be an effective leader without first having a comfortable knowledge of him or herself. Once this understanding is gained, decisions should be made in such a way that the leader stays true to his or her ideals. As an authentic leader I stay true not only to myself but to others or to my team. This means consistency in behaviors and decisions, and an appropriate degree of openness with followers, and should be aware of the leader’s values and decision‐making process and should trust that the leader is being genuine in interactions.
Integrity: Ethical practice has a significant place in the community, particularly in my academic experience with the school, and throughout all the complex definitions and descriptions of ethics and integrity, it boils down to knowing what is right, and doing it, regardless of whether or not anyone is watching. Perhaps the most important of the values, integrity sets the framework within which I will make all decisions, and I feel without integrity, there is no motivation to pursue other values.
Passion: Passion is a deeply rooted, intense feeling towards something, in this context, often a cause, mission, or goal. Without great passion, it is difficult for me to be a great leader. I believed that a leader’s passion is like a spark – one that creates a blaze in both the leader and the follower, pushing the group to achieve their collective goals. This passion motivates the group in difficult circumstances and is what is passed down through generations of leaders.
Respect: True respect for others is often hard to accomplish as a leader, yet it must be the foundation of any successful group. In respecting others, the leader (and followers) must be willing to solicit advice and feedback from each other and take these things into before making decisions. While respect can be subjective, at the minimum leaders must be willing to model a level of open‐mindedness and desire to understand the viewpoints of others.
Service: Leadership is in and of itself an act of service. Leadership requires that a leader give of him or herself to the group. Ultimately, I feel that servant leadership is the most admirable approach for the leader to take, and this coincides with the characteristic of servant leadership committing to the growth of people. This particular characteristic of leadership allows employees to grow professionally and develop new skills (Northhouse, 2016). Servant leaders often best understand working for the common good, because they themselves have sacrificed personal gain for the benefit of the group. Leadership starts with serving; a leader dedicates themselves to the purpose and the cause, and to bettering those who allow him or her to be a leader in the first place. Another aspect of servant leadership is to lead others to their potential, which requires faith and hope in people. That is a very positive outlook, which I believe that I have.
Hard Work & Dedication: Leadership is not easy. Understanding followers, providing support and direction, and motivating followers can be draining. Furthermore, leaders almost always run into challenges, and even in the case of failure, the leader must possess dedication so that they are not discouraged, and so that they are willing to re‐evaluate and change direction if needed.
Humor: Everything has its place and time, but I think that a sense of humor has an essential place in leadership. In fact, I am not aware of many leaders who do not have a sense of humor. In order to be successful in anything, including leadership, risks must be taken. With these risks of course comes the possibility of failure, and in such a circumstance the leader must be able to shake it off, laugh at him or herself and be able to move on. Personally, I keep the work environment very light or not tensed so everyone can feel that they belong to that work place and can work or accomplish their goals in a comfortable and home like environment.
Growth & Learning: A leader should be continually pursuing opportunities for growth and learning. It means seeking the connect and the growth points, even in the face of failure. According to Wanis (2003), Thinking globally and acting locally means much more than just the statement at face value – to think globally means to realize that the world is constantly changing, and to keep up, one must be prepared to take on opportunities that will result in continued growth and learning.
Ultimately, these values are all interconnected. It takes great courage to lead with authenticity and integrity. Integrity inspires service and respect for others. Living authentically and with integrity enables the leader to develop their passions, resulting in a commitment to hard work and dedication, as well as growth and learning. Pushing through the challenges of a full commitment to this lifestyle of leadership requires a sense of humor, and a willingness to re‐align one’s life to one’s passions. I think that when we truly commit ourselves to understanding ourselves as leaders, as well as learn to understand our followers and the relationship that exists between leader and follower, there is potential for great change.
My past work experience taught me or I can delete the sentence “Your job is what I say it is” from my personal philosophy of leadership, because my role was to supervise and I had 8-10 employees working under me and once the situation came where I had to take the decision to speed up the target process and made changes according to the teams need and this change I guess my boss took it personally and used the phrase “Your job is what I say it is”, and made me change everything as before, and unfortunately, we lost the goal target and the project. Later realization is of no use what happened we cannot bring back but can learn from the mistake and eventually my boss realized the mistake and now we work together, since that point of my career this phrase “Your job is what I say it is”, is always left out of my own philosophy of work or leadership. I always go deeper and make sure who and why someone wants to change or take different route of work process and then I question and get the clarification without putting ‘the bosses’ hat on, this helped me a lot in my work experience.
Studies have shown the most successful leaders possess or have learned the skill of emotional intelligence (Goleman,1996). This is why I feel the development of leadership cards could help shape an organization’s performance. As a Leader I will continue to make or use the knowledge cards, when giving instructions or even when motivating the team I feel it’s good to have something visual that effects or motivates employees to work harder, focus on the target or accomplish goal. I never knew, Knowledge cards can impact my work style. I made few KCs and have it on my desk, I see every morning and start my day and just looking or reading at it gives the motivation to proceed and focus on the goals. For example: our office has new software or system we work on, I can say 90% of the employees did not want to change the work style or they got comfortable with the old system. I showed the KC of adaptability situation card and trained them how easy it is and there were many benefits by using the new system and saves time compare to the old one. I thought I used my KC for this situation and I am going to make more to influence or motivate employees.
Followership is simply defined in Webster ‘s Dictionary as “the capacity or willingness to follow a leader”. “You can’t do anything in business without followers” (HBR), therefore the relationship between the two must be well understood to be an effective leader. Although there has been little research into the topic of followership, it is the follower who often contributes directly to organizational success; and it is the leader who needs to create engaged, fulfilled followers to help achieve team or organizational goals.
A good leader should recognize the importance of their followers because all leaders have leaders of their own and know that the ability to relate to others is vital when in a leadership position. “Every great leader had to be a great follower to succeed” (Northouse). There are many famous leaders (Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr) I always admire and want to follow their way of leadership. From Gandhi, I learned the patience and the way he spoke and influenced the people all over the world (without any violence) with his powerful speeches and same thing with Martin Luther King, Jr who “traveled across the country and around the world, giving lectures on nonviolent protest and civil rights as well as meeting with religious figures, activists and political leaders”(history.com), I understand this was situational at that particular time someone has to take that action or be a leader with vision or change the world and help. At present I identify my manager who is 65 years old but works like teenage girl with full of energy who is ready for any change or challenge, up to date with her current knowledge, with her iPhone, or any tweet on twitter she has to know, and which relates to my personal philosophy of leadership.
From our Week 2, Lecture “Ten Traits of Effective Leadership” Professor Dr.Roberson posted the tenets and which I can resemble or identified to my personal philosophy of leadership, which are as follows:
The Speed of Trust – Stephen M. R. Covey
- Talk Straight – Tell the truth
- Demonstrate Respect – Show you care – respect the dignity of others
- Create Transparency – Tell the truth in a way people can verify
- Right Wrongs – Apologize quickly – make restitution where possible
- Show Loyalty – Give credit freely
- Deliver Results – Get the right things done
- Get Better – Continuously improve
- Confront Reality – Take issues head on – even “undiscussables”
- Clarify Expectations – Disclose and reveal expectations – discuss them – validate them
- Practice Accountability – Hold yourself and others accountable
- Listen First – Listen before you speak, with your ears and your heart – understand – diagnose – don’t assume you know all the answers or the questions
- Keep Commitments – Say what you are going to do, the doe what you say you are going to do
- Extend Trust – Extend trust to those who have earned your trust – extend trust conditionally to those that are earning your trust.
A leader’s job is to bring individuals together establish trust and to build a cohesive team, without a sense of team any organization will be doomed to mediocrity at best and most likely failure. I believe one of my best characteristics is my honesty. I am willing to tell the truth in painful situations and I am not afraid to hear the truth about myself or something I am devoted to. People need to know where they stand in an organization so that those employees can work on their weaknesses and develop their strengths.
From week 3; the Lecture “Trait approach”
- Kranz only spoke in the positive – spoke only of solving the problem –which led some to believe he was arrogant and delusional. The lesson here is that high standards and optimism will not guarantee a favorable outcome; but negative thinking will assuredly create the opposite.
- Kranz listened – but ended conversations with “I thank you for your input, the decision has been made – let’s move on”. His mantra was “listen” then “decide”. Employees can respect decision making – and authority.
It is the leader’s job to perform employee evaluations and let their subordinates know where they stand. If a member of the leader’s organization is talented but has been performing at less than their ability would dictate it is the leader’s job to be honest with that employee and tell them that their work is not meeting expectations. All too often people will avoid confronting a situation until it becomes of critical importance. People avoid confronting people because it will create conflict, but most conflicts can be handled much more easily if dealt with promptly, that is honesty.
When I was a tennis coach, I made it a point to be as honest with my players as possible. I remember when I was playing in college, I asked my coach why I was not playing much. His response was far from satisfactory because he told me nothing about what I needed to work on to get better, in fact he told me I was doing great. Because of my experience as a player I made sure that as a coach I would tell my players exactly where they stood on the team and what I thought of them as players. Often times I had to be very blunt and tell a kid that I didn’t think he was capable of playing. I always followed criticism with something positive; I would tell the player what he/she needed to get better at in order to improve his status on the team. I think the kids appreciate my honesty and most of them came to me asking for help on how to improve the weaknesses I pointed out. I believe people in any organization would appreciate an honest assessment of their work and tips on what to improve.
Because I believe honesty is an invaluable characteristic for an organization to uphold lying would not be tolerated by me as a leader. If I found out that an employee had lied to me for any reason it would be grounds for immediate dismissal. As a leader I would make it clear to all of my employees on their first day of work that dishonest behavior will not be tolerated. For example, if you called in sick to play a round of golf and I found out what you were doing I would terminate you immediately. That said I would appreciate an employee’s need for a day off once in a while and baring exterminating circumstances I would allow employees to call in so long as the truth about a situation is told. I believe a leader that is willing to work with employees work life balance up front and honestly will have an advantage when it comes to keeping talent desired by your competition.
Perhaps as important as honesty is having a positive attitude and bringing it to work every day regardless of how things are going in the leader’s life. Moods are contagious, according to Floyd (2009), “This process, called emotional contagion involves the tendency to mimic other people’s experiences and expressions. Maybe you’ve noticed, for instance, that when there’s one unhappy person in your group, it’s not long before everyone is unhappy. That’s because emotions are socially contagious”. Once emotional contagion is understood by the leader it is the leader’s job to ensure that the organization as a whole is upbeat and positive, and that starts at the top.
Perhaps the worst aspect of my job is the bad attitude that permeates the building nearly every day. My direct supervisor is rarely in a good mood and that is a direct result of the pressure he gets from his superiors on a daily basis.