The dissertation journey provides the opportunity for personal, academic and profession growth. The doctoral program informs of leadership theory and increases overall leadership skills. The skills learned from leadership frameworks are incorporated into the coursework and translated into professional roles. The author’s experience in the doctoral program is marked by leadership growth, increased leadership knowledge, and improved writing skills. Additionally, the support of family, friends, faculty, and classmates increase the likelihood of completing the doctoral program.
Ethical behavior is necessary as an academic and as a professional. Ethics more than compliance, it is the values and principles guiding one’s behaviors. The doctoral journey allows examination of ethical concerns and the opportunity to identify areas of personal emphasis. Values and ethics are not just principles a leader encourages; an effective leader must be authentic and display consistency between stated values and behaviors because leadership success is reliant on behavior. Moreover, effective leaders should create an atmosphere of authenticity and mutual respect. Therefore, a leader must have a clear understanding of ethics and values to be successful.
In addition to the benefit as a leader and a scholar-practitioner, the knowledge and skills attained in the doctoral journey provide personal benefit. The personal is shaped by the discipline, diligence, and rigor demanded in the doctoral program. Beyond the coursework and dissertation, the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills gained in the doctoral program can be applied to aspects of one’s life. While it does take commitment and passion to begin a doctoral program, the undertaking of the process does not change the person as much as the person changes to achieve the undertaking. Improvement and development are foundations for effective leaders and the doctoral journey demonstrates the desire to meet these criteria.
Reflection and Ethics
The doctoral journey promotes the practice of personal, academic, and professional reflection. As leaders, examining the experience provides the opportunity to improve leadership skills and decision-making abilities. Developing as an influential leader requires intrapersonal knowledge. Each course requires analysis of skills as a student and leader and creates the atmosphere necessary for development. Reflective practitioners are positioned for leadership development and growth since examining previous experiences is crucial to one’s development. Reflection has been an asset in the doctoral journey.
Reflection encourages continued learning and professional development by providing the opportunity to process experiences. This reflection promotes examination of past behaviors. Once past motivations and behaviors are identified, one can begin the process of formulating a plan of action. Reflection results in change by connecting previous experience and permits the development of critical thinking skills. The critical thinking skills improved in the doctoral program offer the capacity to examine problems and discover suitable answers. Reflection on personal and professional values and behaviors prepares the author to be an effective leader.
Ethical behavior does not only impact leadership; it also impacts research. The doctoral program culminates in a dissertation requiring the collection, analysis, and presentation of data. Additionally, the collection, analysis, and presentation carry the expectation of ethical research. Aspects of ethical research are right to privacy, voluntary participation, and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Avoiding ethical problems, rather than addressing the problems afterwards, is known as preventative ethics. Researchers should practice preventative ethics due to responsibility in conducting ethical research; including study design and participant well-being. The research courses doctoral program and the human research certification has prepared the author to conduct ethical research.
The author plans to collect and analyze student outcomes in the dissertation. Consequently, ethical guidelines must be followed to guarantee the data does not violate participant privacy. When collecting data, the author will not include information that could identify the participants. Further, the author will ensure the data collected comply with the Institutional Review Boards.
The research courses in the doctoral program emphasize and model ethical research design. The author will implement the knowledge to ensure data collection and analysis in the dissertation is conducted ethically. Ultimately, researchers have an obligation to ensure physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of research subjects.
The doctoral program requires dedication, effort, and focus. Thus, one’s support system can determine how well a doctoral student handles the stress of the program. Moreover, support of friends and family is imperative in coping with the stress of doctoral programs. This author has enormous support from family and friends. Furthermore, the author’s wife provides unwavering belief and support, lending patience and encouragement where needed. The doctoral program requires lengthy periods of research, long nights of writing, and numerous weekly assignments contributing to stressful atmosphere. This stress is eased by the support and encouragement from friends and family.
Struggles with the dissertation often are due to lack of writing proficiency, which results in inadequate literature reviews. The dissertation journey requires authoring numerous drafts, therefore feedback from faculty is vital to the doctoral student’s development. Proactive communication strategies enhance the doctoral student’s perseverance and improves ability to attain a doctoral degree.
Feedback is an effective tool in developing professional skills, writing skills, and overcoming obstacles. A doctoral student’s support network includes academic advisors, faculty, and classmates. The feedback received from faculty and classmates is paramount in the doctoral journey and leads to increased confidence and belief in ability. Hence, the interaction with professors and classmates increase this author’s writing knowledge, skill, and confidence. The dissertation process is a difficult endeavor, therefore constructive feedback and increased knowledge is necessary for dissertation success.
Colleagues offer support in the form of encouragement and in content knowledge. The doctoral journey includes areas the author is not familiar or does not have strong academic or professional experience. For example, when taking applied statistics, this author relied on colleagues with academic and professional statistics experience. Consulting with individuals possessing more content knowledge led the author to be successful in the course. Conferring with colleagues reduces the anxiety caused by content outside the author’s comfort zone.
Growth of Leadership
The academic leadership field must grow leaders and leadership. The doctoral program has presented various leadership frameworks and theories. These leadership styles include transactional and transformational leadership. Transactional leadership focuses on exchanges between the leader and followers and transformational leadership uses intellectual stimulation and new viewpoints to solve problems. Transformation leadership appeals to the author; thus, the author plans to investigate transformational leadership further. Learning various leadership styles is important because leaders may elect to utilize more than one leadership style, flexibility is critical for successful organizations.
The doctoral program delivers information of leadership styles, but also cultivates the author’s applied leadership skills through weekly discussion board posts. The discussion board provides the opportunity to provide feedback to classmates and refine interpersonal and intrapersonal leadership skills. The practice of analyzing feedback and providing responses increases comfort in the material and constructive feedback and allows for the demonstration of leadership. As a scholar-practitioner, constructive feedback is required in evaluating research and supervising employees.
The dissertation journey challenges the student to learn, reflect, and improve. During this author’s time in the doctoral program, knowledge and application of leadership theory has increased. Additionally, scholarly writing and APA format familiarity have been challenged and confidence in these areas has increased. The continuation of the dissertation journey will include a concept paper, doctoral candidacy, dissertation committee, research, and dissertation defense. Each step allows this author to build knowledge and confidence, resulting in a competent scholar-practitioner and leader.