According to Goleman (2000), there are six main leadership styles, which are: directive, visionary leadership, democratic, affiliative, pace setting, and coaching. Effective leaders must know what leadership styles to employ at any given time. To do this they must have emotional intelligence, which will help in identifying what leadership needs the group requires and utilize the leadership style that is most suitable for those needs. I have developed insightful knowledge of my leadership styles from the leadership challenge task. This knowledge has been generated from the feedback questionnaires from my leadership challenge members, which reveal that I am an affiliative and participative type of leader. I am most concerned with promoting friendly interactions between group members, trust that the group can develop a direction for them, and listen to all concerns that the group may have.
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I also seem to show Visionary as well as Democratic leadership styles as I tended to propagate the “Let’s work it out together” mentality throughout. I used the democratic leadership style after the Visionary style and Goleman (2000) helps the organization enhance teamwork. Much of the data for this essay is derived from several appendixes as well as textbook literature. The appendixes are Personal Development Journals (PDJ) I to V: Appendix I; PDJ highlights my affiliative capability while Appendix II; PDJ highlights my democratic leadership behaviors. PDJs III and IV highlight my weekly development pacesetter and visionary leadership behaviors and coaching styles. Appendix V: PDJ highlights my weaknesses in directive behavior. Appendix VI describes my personality traits as developed by the MBIT development chart. Appendix VII shows the key leadership skills necessary for alder to have appendix VIII is the Self Perception Team Role Profile which identifies personality type while appendix IX is the feedback report summary
Preferred leadership behaviors
Goleman (2000) argues that other than emotional intelligence, an effective leader possesses very good communication skills; active listening being and assertiveness which are the key qualities of an effective leader. Weaver and Farrell (1997) state that active listening is not merely keeping quiet but is also a two-way process. Brownell (1986) states that active listening involves both verbal and non-verbal behaviors while McKay, Davis, and Fanning (2009) state4s the active listening helps to foster understanding of the group. Cortright (2011) argues that assertiveness helps a leader lead the group through perilous times. Cherniss and Goleman (2001) add that a good leader must be visionary enough and groom from within the organizations those who can take over the running of the company when need be. This is attained by utilizing every opportunity to let them lead as well as giving constructive feedback. As seen in Appendix VII: Key leadership skills, these three are the first order of leadership skills and set the platform under which leaders can develop and employ their leadership styles. This is why I choose them.
In evaluating my leadership behavior, affiliative leadership seemed to be the most dominant style of leadership. The Leadership challenge feedback from leadership challenge members tends to highlight a link with my attitude towards leadership which is to create the necessary repertoire within the group (Goleman, 1999). This is reflected in my MBTI feedback which shows my MBTI personality type is ESFJ (See Appendix VI: MBTI-type description). I rightly judged that some members were emotionally distant and as such as a leader I had to ensure that there were friendly relationships within the group. To understand what they were going through I sought face-to-face meetings with the disturbed members, where I used statements such as “from what I can see’, ‘I hear you say that’. I also maintained comfortable eye contact while nodding my head in approval, while smiling at given intervals, and also using affirmative phrases like ‘yes’, ‘I understand’ (See Appendix I: PDJ-my behavior). These behaviors are in line with the Resource Investigator type of leader who possesses active listening skills to investigate what is happening to, and especially human resource in an organization (See Appendix VIII: Self-perception team role profile- team role contribution).
Active listening, as Goleman (2000) puts it, not only helps create valuable human relationships but also enhances intragroup understanding. Active listening was enhanced because of what other group members perceive of me as personable, sociable, warm, and empathetic as I keep a close and comfortable distance, both social and physical with my group members (See Appendix VI: MBTI- type description). As such I tend to portray the notion that people come first (White, n.d.) and ensure members are emotionally healthy to effectively face the task ahead (Goleman, 1995: Barling & Slater, 2000).
During group discussions, I had to retract as much information and to allow members to contribute exhaustively during the discussion I adopted both verbal and non-verbal listening skills such as giving back constructive feedback and sometimes opposing opinions and alternative thoughts. Brown and Smith (2006) explain that giving back constructive feedback allows creative and beneficial dialogue. Other than affirmative statements I also asked a lot of questions using statements such as:’ what’re your feelings about this’,’ do you agree with this’ to signal to the members that opinion was being sought. I also used gestures a lot such as smiling and finger-pointing, as well as giving members enough time to finish contributing before responding. I also maintained direct but comfortable eye contact with members as well as an upright and firm body posture. To help in decision making I summarised their contributions and where necessary I sought to clarify those contributions (See Appendix II: PDJ – my behavior).
With proper affiliation established I pointed out that members should focus on the coming assignment. I felt the group needed guidance as such suggested that the group make a work plan, a vision shared comfortable by other members (Appendix IV: PDJ – my behavior) and as Ihlenfeldt (2011 ) notes, a visionary leader develops clear directions on how the group needs to approach its task. To make sure that my vision was clearly understood I used short simple sentences as ‘in my opinion’, ‘I like it this way’, ‘this is the way forward” said with a firm but the friendly tone (Appendix VIII: Feedback reports; Appendix III: PDJ – my behavior) we have quite a lot to cover’, ’time is not on our side’ (See Appendix IV: PDJ – My behavior) all said with a firm but friendly tone. With clear visions established I felt that this was the time to involve everyone collaboratively in the group tasks (See appendix III: PDJ-my thoughts).
As Goleman (2000) argues visionary leadership proceeds democratic leadership and as Nanus (1995) adds, it is easier for team members to be more productive when they share a common vision. I thus set the pace for collaborative work that involved a lot of debate in groups. The involvement of all members meant that collaborative tasks were lively and as such too much time was spent on one task. I felt that the group needed to be time conscious. As a case in point, a lot of time was spent in lively debate and as such, I had to devise a way to assertively bring such debate to a close. I thus resulted in statements such as ‘in summary what you are saying is that’, ‘in conclusion’. I also adopted a serious tone and straight face, while my gaze remained firm on the entire group. I also leaned forward and maintained a firm and upright body posture with direct eye contact leveled to all group members (See appendix V: PDJ – my behavior). The group still acted reluctantly to heed my instructions as members felt that they still had a lot to do in that task before moving ahead.
As Goleman (2000) says democratic leadership is slowing progress as too much discussion takes place while Kane, Hart, and Patapan (2009) explain that such extended deliberations lead to delayed consensus. Our group was not immune to this problem and as such, I found out that we were slowly lagging behind our schedule. I felt that I needed to initiate a new approach (See Appendix IV: PDJ – my thoughts) and as such suggested, with approval from other group members, to redesign the work plan and subdivide the group into smaller teams. Each of the teams got a task to work on. I also assigned to each of the team, a team leader with clear instructions to guide the group through the task (See Appendix IV: PDJ- my behaviors). I spent a significant amount of time helping team leaders sharing as well as instructing them on what I wanted to be done. Goldsmith and Lyons (2006) assert effective leaders act as role models and gives guidance where possible while Passmore (2010) says that effective leaders not only groom but also coach possible future leaders which in effect motivates the team to deliver top performance. To make sure that the team members understood what I meant I used statements such as ‘I like it this way’, ‘you should consider this,’ said in a firm serious manner while maintaining direct but comfortable eye contact (See Appendix IV: PDJ- my behaviors). In subdividing the group into smaller groups I realized that the group attained general goals as well as giving a member a chance to be actively involved as leaders (Appendix IV: PDJ- implications for my behaviors).
Strengths and weaknesses from each of the chosen leadership behavior
From the feedback reports I collected from my leadership challenge member, it is evident that am a very good listener. I tend to give an affirmative response while members contribute uninterrupted before I respond. Furthermore, I can accompany my verbal listening skills with non-verbal listening skills such as nodding and maintaining direct eye contact. This has lead to very fruitful conversations. However, during debates, I tend to give too much room to other members and do not contribute enough to my own opinions. As such most of the time, my opinion does not count (See Appendix IX: feedback reports). During the coaching, I didn’t pay too much attention to the need to capitalize on leadership grooming opportunities but in the future, this will be incorporated as part of the work plan (See Appendix IV: PDJ – Implications for Such Behaviour).
Throughout the leadership challenge exercise, I exhibited assertive behavior such as using short simple, and clear statements, maintaining direct eye contact as well as conveying my feelings (See Appendix I: PDJ – My behavior). However such behavior did not always generate the necessary result from the group members (See Appendix IX: Feedback reports) which affected performance. My assertive behavior can be identified as low assertiveness according to Cornelius III (2006). The lack of strongly assertive behavior portrays glaring weaknesses in my leadership behavior that needs to be developed if I am to become an effective leader and as Clark ( 2003) reasons if leaders fail to assert their authority they are seen as weak. To develop my assertiveness I have to combine it with other leadership behaviors such as directive behavior like raising my voice to make a point as well as standing up when making a final point (See Appendix IX: Feedback reports). The low level of assertiveness thus presents my leadership weakness that needs to be developed.
Leadership development needs
From the summary of the leadership challenge feedback reports, it is evident that my behavior portrays me as possessing a variety of leadership styles (See Appendix IX: Feedback reports). My tendencies to be concerned about members’ emotional concerns as well as creating social harmony within the group portrays me as an affiliative leader (See Appendix I: PDJ – my behavior). I also exhibited tendencies to allow every member to participate effectively throughout as well as consulting widely (See Appendixes I, II, III: PDJs – my behaviors). This portrays me as a democratic and participative leader. On rare occasions, the feedback reports noted that I demanded that members maintain higher work standards and also lead by examples especially in preparing a note for meetings and also helped the group to be unified towards realizing the group focus (See Appendix III, IV, V: PDJs – my behaviors). This is an expression of the tendency to be a pacesetter as well as visionary leaders. However, my leadership style has several weaknesses. Murphy, Murphy, and Riggio (2003) assert that Effective leaders, not only need to be motivational and democratic but also directive at times. Pearce and Conger (2003) add that directive behavior is useful when organizations need to be reshaped and reorganized and when critical decisions are to be made. As Muczyk and. Reimann (1987) asserts directive leaders must be more assertive and to improve on assertiveness leaders should employ such behaviors as strong gestures, strong and sharp voice, and a firm tone of voice and deliberately speak very slowly or faster to make a point hard.
Even though I portrayed such assertive behaviors such as maintaining good regular eye contact, using gestures that matched the words, upright and firm body posture, a short statement like” is this what you mean’, ‘I like it this way’, ‘we have to move on’ (See Appendix II, III, IV: PDJs – my behaviors) I failed to be assertive enough and make my authority felt in the group (See Appendix IX; Feedback report). I should have also allocated leadership roles to group members especially to head the subgroups formed when I split the team into subgroups. I should have accompanied these assertive behaviors with other behavior such as using a loud and emphatic voice, leaning forward when making statements, vigorous gestures to accompany my spoken words, and also ability to emphatically say no when need be (See Appendix VIII: Feedback reports). The inabilities to be assertive portray my leadership development needs.
To acquire directive behavior development a plan, especially one modeled along with Kolb’s model of learning and self-awareness learning cycle. Other than identifying the most suitable learning method, this plan also identifies the resources available (people, experiences, books, and feedback reports) for me to exploit. This model is cyclic and proposes that the best learning is through a review of experiences as well as drawing on the lessons of such experiences, which leads to the development of abstract ideas about the lesson to be learned. These lessons are to be tested in real-life experience before the final application (Pont, 2003).
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To apply the model to develop my desired behavior begins with an evaluation through observation of my strengths affiliative leadership behaviors. From concrete experiences, my strength and weakness are identified as active listening and assertiveness respectively (See Appendix I: PDJ – implication my behaviors; Appendix IX; Feedback report). I have to expand on my strengths by seeking further opportunities for creating positive affiliations within the group via active listening. This will help me to increase the learning opportunities. Furthermore, I have to identify the limiting leadership behaviors. This will include identifying what my leadership weaknesses are and from the analysis, I do not possess evident directive behaviors (See Appendix VIII: Feedback reports).
At this level, I have to develop a checklist that identifies my behavioral weaknesses, what and when I need to do about it, the sacrifices I have to make to attain the desired change such as acquisitions of directive behaviors as well as desired outcomes. To achieve my desired outcomes I have to be on the lookout for experiences (such as when issuing instructions, when I need to make the group wind up See appendix III, IV, V) that allow me to practice these directive behaviors. I also have to set smart objectives different from mere wishes. These smart objectives are: to ask for and receive assistance from my supervisor and tutor in evaluating my progress criteria, to be able to adopt more directive behavior such as rising my voice, standing up to make a point, leaning forward, etc (See Appendix VIII: Feedback reports). There will also be a need to develop monitoring criteria to measure my progress. Such monitoring will also come from my leadership challenge members. This plan to be effective will have to be time-based. Evaluation from my tutor will be done every month while leadership challenge members will be required to give weekly reports.
Attainment of these desired behavioral changes also requires that I should develop using motivation. This is because the success of such self-conscious behavior change depends largely on the ability for one to have the intrinsic motivation (Brevard, 2009). Along with the behavior change checklist, I will develop an evaluation criterion which will be score based. For every behavior attained I will award myself a score. This will also help me keep a track of my progress. With such a record I can develop a progress report that will also be an important tool in evaluating emerging needs in this development plan motivation will also come from identifying individuals with the behavior that I intending to acquire and observe them and how they express those behaviors. I will try to imitate them and copy what they do (Childs, 2010).
There are anticipated challenges in this development plan. They include the unwillingness of group members to assist me in identifying my weakness. The group members may not understand the rationale behind this activity. Furthermore, acquiring directive behavioral traits means that I will have a new behavioral disposition that may affect other areas of my life and the people around such as family and close friends who may not also understand the sudden change of behavior. This may trigger a negative reaction from these people. The leadership challenge may not always present me with situations fit for me to practice how to be directive. As such u it means that I need to change the situations to allow for situations that require me to react more defectively. Changing situations fit my desires may not be easy. These challenges may be addressed in part through a role play organized with my friends. To deal with my friends and relatives, I have to consciously limit directive behavior.
There are six main styles of leadership according to Goleman (200) but these leadership styles do not just exist. They have to be founded on something. The foundation for these six leaderships style has been identified as other than emotional l intelligence, assertiveness, active listening as well as the ability to coach and groom future leaders. Assertive leaders can assert their authority on the group they lead. Due to my lack of assertiveness, the results were that the group tended to lag behind the schedule. My presence was also not felt when there were important decisions to be made. To overcome these I should thus try to adopt more directive behavior such as raising my voice. Active listening is one of the common characteristics of an effective leader. Because I was able to utilize this skill, the result was that I helped the group to forge positive affiliations. While I did not value the role of coaching in leadership, this is very important in everyday leadership practices. This is because other than helping to groom other leaders it ensures more effectiveness by the entire groups as a member becomes more responsible. Furthermore, emotional intelligence does not only help leaders to understand and settle the emotional needs of team members but also helps in understand which leadership style to use at any given time. When these four variables are combined they form a very good basis for the development of valuable leadership skills
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Appendix I: PDJ
During the initial leadership challenge group meetings, I discovered that there was tension in the group. Members were not at ease with each other. I discovered that one of the members was not cooperating with the rest and as I later found out, claimed to have felt left out by the rest. The rest of the group members also exhibited as little emotion as possible. The responses were curtly made and I could tell from the body language of the group members that the situation was tense.
I was anxious to find out why the group members behaved the way they did. I was worried that this kind of disposition would largely affect the group outcome.
I felt that if this was not deal with urgently it would affect the way members related and by extension the group performance and as such thought that the best way to deal with was to cheer them up and establish friendships
In such circumstances, I have to look for appropriate ice breakers. This involves assuming a relaxed disposition as well as engages people with easy talk. This eventually opens them up and sets the pace for a more personal relationship.
To create a friendly relationship I approached each one of them and in a very calm and friendly voice opened up a conversation with each of them. During the conversation, I would maintain direct and casual eye contact with them, while smiling at given intervals. I also used querying statements such as ‘you seem quiet today’, ‘what I hear you say’. “from what I can see’, ‘I hear you say that’ to try to open them up. I also maintained comfortable eye contact while nodding my head in approval, while smiling at given intervals, and also using affirmative phrases like ‘yes’, ‘I understand’. To reinforce emotional satisfaction I talked to the group member before every meeting and also ensured that members were comfortable with the way the presentation was progressing.
Implications for My Actions
I noticed that establishing personal relations with people I am working with is vital for an effective working relationship. Well, cultivated relationships lead to emotional satisfaction that resulted in positive group results. However, as a leader, it is important not to dwell too much on emotional issues as it may derail the group’s progress and obscure mistakes. Furthermore, it is important to let every member feel free to communicate with each other. Unhindered communication is a prerequisite for having a platform that opens up a forum for every member’s inclusions in freely contributing to the group’s activities.
Appendix II: PDJ
During one of the leadership challenge tasks, one of the members suggested that we needed to make a program for the group and allocate activities regarding the time that we had. I evaluated that idea and thought that it was good. Therefore I had to seek the opinions of members. Furthermore making a timetable for the group was a complicated process. As such, every member’s input was needed to make sure that they were comfortable with the outcome. So I convened a meeting to make the timetable.
I was encouraged to discover that the members were concerned for the welfare of the group. I was also motivated to learn that members were creative and ready to contribute positively to the interest of the group.
I felt the need to include members’ input in making the time table as each member’s opinion and interests were important. I also thought that such proactive behavior from group members would be beneficial as they are not only willing to volunteer opinions but also to useful suggestions and solutions.
In such a circumstance I assume a laid-back position to allow others to have room for active participation. I also participate by offering affirmative responses and positive criticism to encourage the debate.
My behaviors included more listening than talking. Listening was also accompanied by a lot of affirmation of the member’s contribution. Statements such as “that’s right”, ‘that’s very thoughtful of you’, ‘that’s interesting’, ‘yes’ encourage members to contribute further while I take a lot of notes to later use as a basis for decision making. I also used statements such as:’ what are your feelings about this’,’ do you agree with this’ to signal to the members that opinion was being sought. I also used gestures a lot such as smiling and finger-pointing, letting members finish contributing before responding, and also maintained direct but comfortable eye contact with members as well as an upright and firm body posture. I also make summarise of member’s contributions to be considered during decision making.
Implications for Such Behavior
Listening more and talking less motivates members to contribute to discussions. Moreover, active listening is a motivation for members to contribute honestly without any fear of prejudice. However, having to talk less can be taken to mean unwillingness or weakness of the leader. As such I have to be more verbally visible during discussions
Appendix III: PDJ
It happened that leadership challenge group members were spending a lot of time updating themselves at the beginning of every meeting. As such a lot of time was wasted. Furthermore, members seemed ill-equipped and prepared to come into group meetings. This, therefore, meant that I had to take my time, prepare, and distribute meeting notes to members via email before every meeting. This proved worthwhile in preparing members for meetings.
I was discouraged to find out that members were not taking personal responsibility to prepare for meetings. As such, I felt that I had to make an effort to ensure that each of the members was prepared for the meeting. As such, I emailed notes in advance.
I thought that it would be a good idea for members to come to the meeting prepared as it would help save time and as a leader it was my responsibility to research and summarise valuable information and email members before meetings. I also thought that I had to set new work standards to ensure smooth and quick progress to impress the members on the importance of preparing for meetings.
I let members understand the implications of their behavior such as not preparing well for meetings. I do this by verbally communicating my feelings as well as issuing instructions. I also take the time to demonstrate what I want to be done.
I devise the best way to communicate my feelings. I use a word like ‘I feel that we need to prepare ourselves for meetings in a better manner’, ‘I think this is what we should do’ furthermore, I went ahead, prepare and emailed notes from previous meetings which also includes expectations for each member for the coming meeting. During the meeting, I begin with a preview of previous meetings by asking questions. I also sit upright with my hands held forward, without fidgeting or twitching, and use a much more formal tone to signify seriousness with what I am saying.
Implications for Such Behavior
Everyone needs to be prepared before coming to the meeting as it makes sure that members are of the same length. Such preparation also reduces time spent on meetings. However, if it is overused members can become lax as they know that it is the leader’s responsibility, other than individual member’s, to prepared for meetings
Appendix IV: PDJ
Because of the lack of thorough preparedness, I realized that the group was lagging in time and thus decided that it was time for subdividing the group and allocate each of the group-specific tasks of which it was to complete and report back to the group.
I was concerned that if members did not have a vision it would be impossible to focus on specific objectives. I knew it was important to brief the group members on the overall responsibility.
I felt that it was important to have a different approach to beat time. I also felt that it was time for each of the members to be involved show more responsibility by assuming leadership at the subgroup level
At such a time I go through the description of the roles and try to come up with new methods to approach the situations. I also consult widely.
To keep the group focussed on the vision I proposed redesigning the work plan to accommodate the subgroups. I spent a lot of time with each of the subgroups and consulting a lot with group members at the same time gave a lot of instructions using to team leaders in statements such an ‘I like it this way’, ‘you should consider this,’ said in a firm serious manner while maintaining direct but comfortable eye contact.
Implications for Such Behavior
Other than helping in keeping the group on its glued to its focus, subdivisions and allocating each team under the leadership of a certain person allows members to practice leadership. In the future, such opportunities will be part of the main work plan and not occur as part of the contingency plan
Appendix V: PDJ
In one of the leadership challenge tasks, the members were spending too much time discussing an issue. This was generating a heated debate and there were no signs that the group was going to conclude the issue. Debate on this issue was threatening to derail the focus of the group as well the schedule. As a leader, I had to make the debate come to an end to have the group move on to the next issue.
I was apprehensive and feared that the group’s focus would be affected by wasting too much time to spend during such decisions. I was worried that this particular discussion was also emotionally draining and would thus affect the group’s emotional harmony
I felt that despite underlining the importance of debate and every member’s contribution, it was important not to make the debate too emotional. The idea of spending too much time on an issue that would have taken a relatively shorter time was not appealing
In such a situation I change my approach to leadership behaviors. This includes reducing my positive responses such as ‘you are right’, ‘yes continue’ to try to hint that it’s time to move on. If this doesn’t work I deliberately relate the next item on the agenda to the item being discussed.
To bring the debates to a close I asserted to the group to finalize discussions within the given time and move on to the next agenda. To do these effectively I used such statements such as ‘in summary what you are saying is that’, ‘in conclusion’, ‘ i suggest that’ I adopt a serious tone and straight face, while my gaze remains firm on the entire group. I also lean forward and maintain a firm and upright body posture.
Implications for Such Behavior
Such a situation needs a leader which is more directive and visionary. As such it would be important to learn how to adapt communication skills such as raising my voice to attract member attention.
Appendix VI: MBTI
Appendix VII: Key leadership skills
Appendix VIII: Self Perception Team Role Profile
Appendix IX: Feedback Report
The feedback received from leadership challenge members reveal variations regarding my leadership behaviors. The feedback information was gathered from my leadership challenge colleagues, through a questionnaire. A majority of my leadership challenge colleagues agree that I have a positive attitude towards my group members. They claim that other than avoiding negative statements I tend to use positive responses, especially when affirming member’s opinions. A statement such as ‘yes’, ‘that’s true’,’ you are right’ as well non-verbal behavior such as shaking hands and maintaining direct but comfortable eye contact with group members are visibly apparent. My positive attitude is also reflected in the way I emphasized a positive interpersonal relationship within the group by taking the time to talk to individual members and deal with personal dissatisfaction.
Most of the respondents also state that I can include everyone actively in the affairs of the group by seeking every member’s opinions and accommodate each member’s contribution. It is reported that I took notes during deliberations and used them when making decisions. It was also noted that is use statement such as ‘what’s your opinion’, ‘do you agree’ quite. This also involves organizing members into subgroups and allocating each sub-group-specific role. While it was encouraging to subdivide groups and allocate roles. I tend to be more of an active listener and as such let members contribute uninterrupted while asking questions such as ‘is this what you mean’ and give affirmative responses such as ‘that’s right’ where necessary.
One of my leadership challenge colleagues explains that I am a very calm and organized person, who can think ahead and inform members adequately about any forthcoming event and the expectations. This is in the fact that I was able to remain calm during moments of conflict. Even though I was able to communicate clearly to members of my group about my expectations and opinions I lack directive behavior such as persuasiveness, which is necessary to achieve results. This behavior can be enhanced if I adopt such communication skills as raising my voice, using more directed gestures such as finger-pointing, emphatically saying no as well as more straight forward body posture.
From the feedback given to me, I conclude that I am naturally prone to be an affiliative as well as a participative leader. I am also a visionary leader who can prepare the group in anticipation of future expectations. On rare moments I uttered statements such as ‘this is what I mean’ ‘this is what we will do’ to signify that I was demanding new standards for the group. Such behavior suggests that I can be a pacesetter. However, I lack in certain leadership behaviors such as directives well as being more vocal. My leadership abilities can be appraised if I combine these two styles with the directive and pacesetting leadership skills. As such I should practice being more assertive and learn how to defend my opinion when others do not agree with it other than just conceding to other people’s opinions.