tBeing a great leader is so much more than about people merely following you, a particular rank and title, or following certain principles. Leadership is a multifaceted phenomenon with complex layers essential for the whole. It can be considered a behavioral trait and requires context which is a vital ingredient to develop a complete philosophy. Leadership also shifts with time and context. My past experiences as a military service member provide significant evidence and are crucial to understanding what I am a leader, as a student looking back these aides me in the creation of a philosophy that highlights an approach for my future in areas of greater responsibility.
My leadership philosophy tends to be shaped from several factors. One, in particular, is the knowledge of self. A fundamental process of great leadership is the leader’s belief that until one knows themselves, then you have not achieved your maximum potential as a leader. When the process of great leadership takes place, it inherently establishes a relationship with teammates. Absent the support of team members; you cannot be a leader. Development of this relationship begins when every team member is self-aware and knowledgable of everything they bring to the table, which impacts both leaders and followers. Arguably the most important thing I’ve done throughout this development process is to identify my values.
The most critical phase in becoming a great leader is identifying and understanding your core values. Some of my values and beliefs have been challenged throughout my time as a career service member.
The following bullets are what I have identified as my core values:
- Foremost, my responsibility as a leader is to motivate my subordinates to act through my words and actions both written and oral.
- I will continuously challenge myself and develop as a leader and will inspire, support, and foster others’ initiative to do the same.
Respect: One must have true respect for individuals which can be hard to accomplish as a leader, but it must be the foundation to have a successful group when respecting others. A leader/ follower must be able to give advice and receive feedback from each other and consider certain things when it comes to decision making. Leaders must also model open-mindedness and understand other individuals point of views.
Authenticity: To be an effective leader, I must know myself. As an effective leader, I must consciously decide to lead by example; I must remain true to myself and make decisions that are true to my ideals as an authentic leader will not only stay true to me but also others.
Hard work and dedication: Leadership is not natural because you must understand followers, support them, and being an inspiration to others can be tiresome. Furthermore, I will anticipate my future leader challenges and acknowledge that in some aspects my team may even fail. However, I must understand this probability and remain dedicated to them, so they do not get discouraged. This will set conditions that we may re-evaluate and shift our approach if required.
Growth and learning: As a leader, I must continue to pursue different opportunities that allow me to develop as a leader. By this, I mean that I will seek out additional challenges outside of my comfort zone, with the understanding that I will be faced with potential failure.
Throughout this process, I have learned a lot about the type of leader that I wish to be. This exercise has been a forcing function in conducting a critical self-assessment of my previous leadership style. Upon completion, I feel that I have identified my strengths and weakness as a leader. A few of the primary flaws I have identified were I constantly sought approval at all times, and I found it difficult to accept criticism. According to Gallos (2008) leadership is not about personality, it’s about practice if an individual can practice what there are trying to accomplish then they would be a successful leader in all aspects of life.