Evaluating my own abilities in the framework of leadership is of great importance to me, taking into account the fact that I will soon apply for a job, and I intend to make an effective leader whenever accepted. I shall admit that I was lucky to receive an experience of working in groups in different countries and analyzing leadership through the lens of national peculiarities. The leadership and team-building class assisted me in synergizing my knowledge and working out a general strategy for my further development.
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Whether I will now decide to work in Europe, Belarus, or Russia, I will rely on the consistent knowledge base formed in the course of these studies. Thus, the relevant essay is an attempt to analyze my own leadership potential and identify the key strengths and weaknesses of my leadership style.
Speaking of motivation and its roots, I would rather refer myself to the product-oriented leader. Thus, I normally tend to be utterly engaged in the process of organization and control, and my principal aim is to complete the targeted task in the most efficient way.
Every time I have been assigned to be a group leader, I have been comfortable about allocating tasks and giving orders to other team members. I assume, though subjectively, that I have the skill to communicate with “subordinates,” maintaining the balance between being excessively soft and acting too assertively. Another aspect that makes me believe I belong to the product-oriented type of leader resides in the fact that I willingly accept risk-taking. I prefer to take risky decisions as they often lead to achieving outstanding results.
In the meantime, I would like to enhance some traits of the person-oriented and the process-oriented leaders, as well. I firmly believe that only a reasonable combination of all the styles will allow me to make an effective leader. Therefore, every time I work in a group now, I try to see to the fact that the environment within which the team operates is tense-free and inspiring. Moreover, I try to make my leading activity more certain and ordered. In the course of my studies, I realized that order is of great significance both for a process-oriented and a group-oriented leader. The former appreciates order as it assures the step-by-step fulfillment of the target plan; the latter is likely to search for the order as it contributes to the atmosphere favorable for comfortable teamwork.
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership, from my point of view, is generating common values and the vision of the problem. In other words, I feel I sometimes fail to differentiate between my own perspectives and the interests of a group. I would once act as a team leader, and I did my best to meet the standards. Meanwhile, I could not help feeling the team would not show the best performance possible. It took me quite a period to indicate the stumbling block – it turned out that all the team members had different perspectives on the problem and, consequently, different motivational levels.
As a result, I had to spend some extra time on setting a common target and defining the values that would be equally critical for all the team members. In other words, the group had to start almost from scratch. Thus, I now treat the problem of common vision very seriously, and I study the best practices described in the literature in order to adapt them in the future.
In the framework of the tasks that a leader typically performs, I believe myself to be rather productive in testing ideas and to consult. In other words, I find no difficulties in stating the problem briefly and straightly, and I normally feel competent enough to answer all the questions that arise in the group. From this standpoint, the leader’s role is much like the role of a teacher that is expected to explain and convince. Consultation is the task of a similar character, and I particularly gladly carry it out.
As to the most challenging tasks from the scope of a leader’s responsibilities, I can point out joining the team and delegating charges. Otherwise stated, I find it rather problematic to permit others to take complete charge of a particular task. I feel ill at ease when I lose control of the situation. Some of my teammates would note that I can be too pushy, at times, depriving the group of the latitude they deserve. Being aware of such feedback, I try to keep in mind this flaw in my leadership style and let the group act more freely.
Once I got acquainted with the seven habits of effective people worked out by Stephen Covey, I was glad to notice that some of them have already become an integral part of my day-to-day activity. Thence, I normally tend to begin with the end in mind and think win-win. Which is to say, whenever I start working on a new project, my first step is targeting and working out several strategies that might assist me in accomplishing the aims. There were a few cases in my practice when I tried to introduce the team to the subject that I did not understand well myself. It was only a few weeks later that I grew more competent about the topic, and I, consequently, had to provide extra explanations for the group members. Therefore, I now try to work on this drawback by studying the issue in advance.
One of the most useful aspects I studied in the course of the leadership class was the problem of effective balancing. I assume that it is one of the most challenging missions that a leader faces. After that lecture, I grew concerned about paying more attention to the individual needs of the team members. Whereas the necessity to combine the team process and keep in mind the final target would always seem reasonable and evident, I would sometimes overlook the need for taking into account individual interests.
I was lucky to receive an opportunity to apply my new knowledge into practice. Shortly after the class, I was asked to work on a group project in a leader’s quality. Keeping in mind my discovery, I put a particular emphasis on indicating the interests of every team member. I should admit that the relevant approach turned out to be highly effective. Being aware of the personal needs and demands enabled me to find the proper motivation tools which had a positive impact on the group’s performance, in general.
Finally, I believe that due to the studies, I changed my vision of conflict management that is of critical importance for effective leadership. Some of my former group mates would sometimes complain about my style of leadership, characterizing it as too assertive. In the meantime, I was convinced that forcing is the only tool capable of resolving a conflict issue. A careful analysis of the conflict resolution techniques has helped me understand that there are a lot of alternative solutions that lead to compromising.
The next time I faced a conflict situation within the group, I tried to switch from forcing to collaborating. In other words, I turned the task that represented the stumbling block into a common challenge. I realize that it is not a universal formula, and I will have to seek other measures and approaches in every particular case. Nevertheless, the insight that assertiveness might be harmful seems to be highly useful for making efficient leadership.
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I, likewise, changed my attitude to the appearance of conflicts, in general, as I learned about the fact that high intensity of conflict signifies intensive performance. This knowledge will now help me treat conflict situations casually without assigning too much significance to them.
In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that making a good leader is a challenging task that requires both sustainable theoretical knowledge and relevant practical skills. Basing on my own experience, I can state that I am currently in the process of developing my leadership style. Thus, my principal concerns reside in trying different managerial techniques and monitoring their efficiency as well as timely indicating the existing flaws and correcting them. I believe that further study of the subject, as well as the experience I will receive through the years of work, will enable me to work out my own leadership approach.