What Does Leadership Mean to You: Exploring Personal Philosophy
If I had to answer a question 'what does leadership mean to you?' I would answer like in this essay: 'leadership is a learned quality that relies on an individual’s willingness to be greater than oneself to lead others'. Although some believe it to be an innate quality, leadership is a trait that requires a great deal of trial and error. In this paper, you will take a look into my leadership philosophy, the core values in which I live, what leadership means to me and a personal profile encompassed of questionnaires answered by myself and colleagues.
What Does Leadership Mean to Me: Personal Leadership Philosophy
- Vision: to use my passion for helping others to impact, motivate and inspire.
- Mission: to continue to familiarize myself with different backgrounds, people and cultures.
- Plan: to follow my strategic list of objectives and action to accomplish my vision and mission.
- Keep God as the foundation of my life;
- Improve who I am daily (becoming a better me);
- Serve God by serving others;
- Never forget where I come from;
- Pushing through.
- Continue to nurture my relationship with the Lord;
- Remain transparent, authentic and open to other’s opinions and views;
- Maintain relationships with family and friends;
- Continue to stay true to myself;
- Remain confident in my decisions and abilities.
I would like define leadership as the ability to influence, motivate, and inspire with authentic and intentional desires to serve and to be an example to others. A leader is defined but integrity, effective communication, responsibility, vision, service, motivation and self-awareness. Leaders are catalyst for positive change. A leader envisions and communicate a desired goal and be willing to serve alongside others in the capacity necessary to witness the goal accomplished. In order to do these things in a transformational way; a leader must have character, willingness to serve, and the ability to create a vision and influence others to partake in it. A leader embodies the (Three C’s) Character — know who you are, Competency — what are you able to and Confidence— enhanced by having strong character and competency. Leadership is having the power and ability to effectivity motivate. When you are a leader, you L.E.A.D. with your heart and make people feel important, (enthusiasm) and show passion, (attitude)- a positive one “see it and believe it”, and (direction) – have a vision for the future.
My core values can be described as a guideline that represents what I value in life. My core values helped in establishing my sense of purpose and direction for my personal brand. For some, principles give meaning to my life and assist with defining the altitude and actions set. By preparing this list of values, it has helped me to commit to my life and has inspired me to become a better leader.
Personal Leadership Profile
I believe in terms of leadership and being a good leader, it is important to access what is needed to improve on becoming a great leader. Northouse lists 14 traits that a great leader should possess: articulate, perceptive, self-confident, self-assured, persistent, determined, trustworthy, dependable, friendly, outgoing, conscientious, diligent, sensitive and empathic. For this assignment, I reached out to two former professors, classmates and mentors who could attest to my work ethic, as well as my personality traits. When comparing the results, there was a clear contrast that was obvious to me; however, generally, we appeared to have comparable perspectives. The similarity in the results made me believe that my genuine perspective on my leadership attributes were accurately judged. My highest rated leadership traits were said to be outgoing, friendly and emphatic while my lowest-rated leadership trait was self-confidence and self-assurance. I find those observations to be true in all aspects. I believe that confidence is a trait that is important to the success of a leader, because it allows the followers to trust and believe what the leader says. I feel that I need to do a better job of portraying an air of confidence when it comes to my abilities and knowledge. Self-confidence and self- assurance are closely associated, and I know that I have been rated on a lower scale because at times I have showcased doubts. Despite the lack of confidence and assurance at times, I have always been regarded as an all-around team player who have maintains a friendly, outgoing and empathetic spirit among those who I lead. I have always been committed to getting the job done as well as making sure to maintain a dependable work ethic. My awareness to my strengths and weakness will allow me to focus on improvement. While I am aware of the qualities necessary to become an effective leader, I embrace the feedback that I was given by my colleagues and strive to improve each day.
In this assessment, I was ranked according to the Katz Three Skills Approach Model: Human, Technical and Conceptual. According to Northouse; human skills are the ability to work with people, technical skills are knowledge one has in a given subject or activity and conceptual is the ability to work with new ideas. I received overall high ranking in all three skill areas. My score in the human skills category, further confirms the friendly, outgoing and emphatic personality stated above in the Leadership skills assessment. Leaders with high human skills create a secure environment for followers. Given my current work position, I believe that statement to accurately detail my human skill. I have always been a people person and prided myself on maintaining organic relationships with people. Human skills means being sensitive to the needs of others. Although I scored one point higher in conceptual than I did in technical skills, I disagree. I believe that I am more of a technical person rather than conceptual. My work experience working in the healthcare field as well as a therapist has allowed me the opportunity to use my technical skills which ultimately makes me feel that it should be ranked a tad bit higher, if nothing more, because I have knowledge of the given subject which describes the definition. I believe that I need to work on my ability to work with new ideas, which can be executed by creating more of a strategic plan and vision within the organizations that I am a part of. The skills inventory further confirmed my claim that I focus more on others than I do myself. This tool has also assisted me with understanding conceptual skills and how I can improve in order to be a more effective leader.
Leadership Behavior Questionnaire
This assessment measured two major types of leadership behaviors: task and relationship. Task behavior defines the degree to which others know what is expected of them and the relationship defines the degree to which others are made comfortable. Relationship remains my strength while tasks remains a weakness of mine. The results further enforce the theory on my struggles with task delegated relationships. Not surprisingly, the results turned out as expected. I struggle with assertiveness therefore, my ability to let others know what is expected of them is poor. However, my relationship skills are extraordinary exceptional. According to Northouse, my high emphasis on interpersonal skills and my low concern for tasks places me in the County Club Management. As a psychology degree holder, it is in my nature to place other's feelings before my own as well as making sure other's needs are met. This assessment has assisted me in discovering my weakness with delegation and setting standards; therefore, proving that I need to work on my task skills.
Situational Leadership Questionnaire
Contingent upon the circumstances, leadership abilities are subject to changing. According to the situational leadership questionnaire, leadership is composed of a directive and supportive styles. Given this leadership questionnaire, situational leadership inspires a leader to access what each follower needs to perform a goal. My strengths according to this approach include supporting and coaching my team. I was able to realize that each situation is exclusive, which means it takes a leader who can be adaptable to change. Situational leadership allows for the leader to be a versatile leader and it requires the leader to know themselves well as well as their team. Luckily, my guidance to assist those with tasks is a strength that I am proud of. While I need to improve in the areas of delegating and directing; This has reinforced that I need to be more in touch with the needs of my followers by giving clear direction, evaluation and defining the roles. I believe my high markings of support comes from my eager willingness to help those in need.
Path- goal leadership is defined as a style in which leaders motivate their subordinates. The four path goal leadership styles are directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented. From the Path-goal leadership questionnaire, I gathered that a leader’s effectiveness is dependent on the impact the leader has on the follower. Based on my scores, I scored highly in the supportive and achievement-oriented categories and received fair scores in directive and participative styles. In the supportive style, it is said that a leader listens, praises and gives feedback to its followers, given the common theme of my supportive leadership qualities, I believe this trait fits me perfectly. The questionnaire suggests that I need consider participation because it will allow me to provide clarity and a positive impact.
In this assessment, I was asked to describe my relationship with either a leader or a follower. After taking the questionnaire, it was quite apparent to me that I work well with others. As a former athlete and coordinator for different organizations in college, I believed the observation to be precise. Specifically, I am dependable and trusted within the group. I maintain a work ethic that allows me to complete the task at hand. I strive to stay committed to those I serve. The LMX Questionnaire has allowed me to focus on my strengths and my ability to execute and accomplish tasks. In addition, I enjoy working in a team setting. While I work well with everyone, I can best utilize a team of people who have like-minded traits. I believe that as a leader, I can begin to explore weaknesses to improve on. I feel the importance of a leader is recognizing the strengths and weakness of the group and utilize those according to the greater management for the team’s success.
Sample Items from the Multifactor
In view of the multifaceted questionnaire as a transformational leader, I realize that I excel at interpersonal relationships, yet I struggle with delegation of tasks. Given this observation, I perceive that my ability to influence and encourage is exact. In comparison to a transactional leader, I am urged to inspire a more positive, empowering individuals from an organization. By realizing this, it has assisted me with reinforcing the transformative and transactional styles when appropriate to the situation. Skills of a transactional leader does not appear to be an issue to me, as I believe that leadership skills are changeable and is contingent upon the situation demonstrated. I do; however, believe improvement can be made in terms of making clear to those what I expect. I believe that I have always struggles with dating back to the time I was young, simply because as a middle child, I usually am to please others and avoid confrontation, ultimately this has hindered my ability in the leadership field. Transformational refers to exchanges whereas Transformative creates a connection. I believe transformative leadership is the best style of leadership to describe my style.
In this assessment, I was ranked in four categories. The highest score that I received was from the internalized moral perspective. This recommends that I hold a leadership style that is driven by internal values and motivation rather than external values. This also suggest that I am not “easily influenced” by others. I hold myself accountable for the actions that I execute as a leader and I pride myself on the principles of my values in which I stand for. My adaptableness remains a value of mine and has helped in developing my style as a leader. My lowest score was received in the category of self-awareness. This score leads toward the notion that I am unaware of my personal insights. I do not agree with this judgment, I believe that I am aware of my strengths and weakness; however, I know that I am unaware on how to identify deeply the external factors that contribute to my weaknesses. I believe that by reflecting on who I am as a person then I can better serve those that follow. It is in my belief that in order to become a better leader, I must place emphasis on the categories in this questionnaire that I was not highly scored. Seeking feedback was a point listed and although it is not always a bad thing, in this case, leaning on more of understanding myself to become an authentic leader is necessary.
Servant leadership analyzes the seven behaviors identified in the model. In this assessment, I was asked to reach out two people who know me in a leadership capacity, so I chose one professor and one mentor. My collogues ranked me highly in putting other first, moderately in conceptual skills as well as creating value in the community. While the observations were accurate, hearing those can speak to your abilities rate you low in certain categories is a little disappointing. The trend of my values continues in each of the questionnaires presented. I believe that I need to work on creating value in the community. Despite having a passion for giving back to the community, other outside forces get in the way of executing my plan. I believe that in order to improve in the category of creating value in the community, I must find volunteer organizations to invest my time in as well as encourage others to give back and participate in the very community we reside.
Adaptive Leadership examines six pillars. My two lowest marked categories were adapting to challenges and getting on the balcony. I agree with the scores I received. I struggle with overall perspective. I believe that I am good at stepping back if challenges are to arise, but I am unsure on how to fix the issues once present. I also tend to have a hard time listening to others when I disagree with the overall statement, I have recognized this in my personal relationships more so than my professional relationships. My ability to dissolve and encourage others through a conflict remains an undoubtable weakness for me. Adapting to challenge, according to Northouse, has an archetype that states the type of leader that ranks the lowest in this category, typically avoids situations and remains in a zone that is comfortable. I believe that I have always been what is considered the “safe leader”. I need to address on working through situations that may leave me uncomfortable. I despise change. For example, I hated living with my parents in Alabama, but I was willing to stay and pass on opportunities in other states, if that meant that nothing in my life would change. I have now since learned to embrace change.
This assessment measured my follower style based on two style factors. I rated as what is considered an “exemplary” leadership style. I remain independent in my thinking and high in my engagement score. I engage strongly with others; offer support and I excel at tasks. It is proven from the previous questionnaires that I am committed to those who I lead. I believe that my core values and standards that I have set for myself personally allows for this ranking to be exceptionally true.
Because of my strong Christian faith, my core values stem from the teachings of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus described servant leadership perfectly when he said 'Whomever wants to be great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give his life as a ransom to many'. My core values along with my vision, mission and plan illustrates my life purpose to serve others through my actions.
Anyone that knows me, knows the importance my faith is in my life. My faith is a defining factor in my life. The faith that I have in Christ and the bible leads me in the way that I lead. As a Christian, the aim is to be Christ-like; to live my life as Christ did. Faith has humbled and made me a more patient person.
As previously mentioned, I am from Nigerian heritage. I will never forget the saying “never forget where you come from. My roots have shaped and groomed me into the person I am today. Without the unity, strength and courage of my parents/family, I don’t know who I am today. Also I strive to live a life that is committed to serving others with passion. God-Like Service.
Perseverance has been a term used by my father for as long as I have been alive. To persevere to me, means to push through all difficulties no matter what to accomplish the goal at hand. If I keep this core value in my forefront, I will forever remember that my “trials are there to teach me.”
I credit my growth to God first and foremost, secondly my wonderful Nigerian parents and lastly, my great support team and friends. As I progress with different seasons in my life; I plan to keep these core values as a fundamental reminder of who I am and what I stand for. I aspire to evolve into a better Kathy every day that I live my life. Finally, I will leave you with my favorite verse Proverbs 3:5-6: 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight'.