Continuous personal and professional development is critical for leaders. By improving their leadership skills, practices, and abilities, leaders can become more effective in their roles and contribute more to their organizations (Neck & Houghton, 2006). Consequently, self-assessment is an essential instrument since it enables leaders to analyze their strengths and weaknesses, identify potential areas for improvement, and create actionable and relevant plans for development (Lawlor & Hornyak, 2012; Peters & Haslam, 2018)).
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Self-assessment and reflection can also be necessary for developing a personal leadership philosophy to guide leadership practices and goals (Benson, 2015). In the present paper, I will seek to reflect on my leadership profile, evaluate it based on transformational leadership theory, and define goals and actions needed for me to develop my leadership potential.
The first theme that emerged from the assessment is Learner. According to Gallup, Inc. (2012a), people who are talented in this theme have a desire to learn and improve continuously. Consequently, education and on-going self-development are of great importance to me. I also derive value from mastering skills and becoming an expert in a specific subject. I believe that learning is vital to leaders because it can support their continuous personal and professional development.
By fulfilling my desire to learn, I could become better at leading others through building the skills and abilities required to become a successful leader (Aalateeg, 2017). For example, by reading more about leadership styles and their application in practice, I could transform my leadership for the better and become more effective in my job. At the same time, I could also use my drive for learning to develop communication, motivation, conflict resolution, and other relevant skills that could enhance the performance of my team and the work environment in my organization.
The second theme that my assessment highlighted was Intellection. This means that I like to think and enjoy activities that are cognitively stimulating, such as solving puzzles, analyzing problems, and creating solutions (Gallup, Inc., 2012b). It also means that I am an introspective person who values their alone time because it offers me a chance to delve into my mind and think about various things (Gallup, Inc., 2012b).
This quality is also significant to leaders because it can help them in fulfilling their duties. Problem-solving skills are essential for leaders, and high cognitive abilities that can be developed through continuous thinking and learning can also assist in analyzing and navigating many difficult situations (Burns, 2012). For instance, this quality can make me more effective at making important decisions during crises, as well as at finding solutions to problems that affect my team and the organization as a whole.
The third topic that emerged from the assessment of my strengths was Achiever. According to the description, Achievers like to work hard and have substantial stamina when it comes to performing their duties (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). They also find pleasure in keeping busy, meaning that action excites and motivates them (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). As an Achiever, I am good at giving advice to others and often take up new initiatives to exercise my talents and achieve new heights (Gallup, Inc., 2012a).
Still, there is a particular share of concentration in my pursuits because I am more interested in some fields and activities than in others, which makes me selective while choosing where to devote my time and efforts (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). While reading the description of this theme, it occurred to me that it might be related to entrepreneurship since it entails starting new, exciting projects and working on them relentlessly until specific goals or plans are fulfilled.
I believe that being an Achiever contributes to my leadership profile since it motivates me to work together with my team rather than merely managing them. By being an integral part of projects, I can get closer to the people I lead and connect with them so that we can achieve excellent results together (Kellerman, 2007).
Context is one of the themes that were evident in my assessment. People who score high in this theme refer to the past for information about and insight into current situations (Gallup, Inc., 2012b). By exploring the history and the past, they can identify the blueprints required to understand the world and conditions that surround them (Gallup, Inc., 2012b).
By studying the context, these people can generate novel ideas and solutions by creating a framework and putting knowledge into perspective (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). For me, learning about the past is indeed crucial because I believe in history repeating itself and think that by understanding past events, I can acquire knowledge of specific patterns and facts that would help me today. In relating this theme to leadership, it becomes clear that reflection on the past affects me as a leader in two ways.
On the one hand, it supports my development as a leader by encouraging me to look at my past actions and analyze them to improve future responses. For instance, if there is a conflict in my workplace, I can reflect on my actions in a similar case and use these lessons to solve it successfully. On the other hand, this ability can also support me in building my leadership capacity by learning from prominent leaders of the past and analyzing their actions in context.
Lastly, the theme of connectedness emerged as one of my strengths. According to the report, this means that I believe that things are connected to one another (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). It also suggests that I have strong convictions and values that guide me through life and that I value people above things (Gallup, Inc., 2012a). These characteristics are important for me as a leader because they influence my views and behaviors.
While looking into a problem or a situation, I tend to see patterns that drive my decisions and solutions. At the same time, I have a strong moral compass and strive to act ethically to live up to my own standards. This can help me in choosing what is best for my team while also solving problems successfully (Mostovicz, Kakabadse, & Kakabadse, 2011). For instance, in a delicate situation, I will be able to make a decision that is both ethical and effective.
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Personal Leadership Strengths
The leadership theory I chose for the evaluation is transformational leadership. Based on this theory, my first key strength is my high emotional intelligence. Transformational leadership is rooted in treating followers individually and understanding their needs, and this strength allows me to do that more successfully (Khan, Nawaz, & Khan, 2016; Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). For example, I can easily connect with people and support them, thus learning more about them and their needs.
Another vital strength of mine based on this theory is my strong ethical values. Scholars argue that transformational leadership has a prominent ethical dimension and encourages both leaders and followers to contribute to the greater good (Bass, 1999; Khan et al., 2016). In my position as a leader, strong ethical values help me to choose between alternative decisions in challenging situations.
Finally, my capacity for reflection is also a strength based on this theory. For example, it assists me in defining directions for improvement, identifying critical values and goals, and analyzing the environment to motivate change. Transformational leadership is highly concerned with development, and reflection is an essential capacity for leaders who wish to apply this leadership style in practice (Bass, 1999; Brown & Reilly, 2009; Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987). By building on these strengths, I could improve my leadership and become more successful in my role.
Personal Leadership Weaknesses
The first weakness that I can note based on transformational leadership theory is that I sometimes lack focus while evaluating directions or opportunities. When thinking about potential decisions, I see too many options, and it can be hard for me to choose one. Transformational leadership entails setting a clear vision and maintaining a sense of direction in myself and my team, and thus this characteristic can affect my leadership negatively (Bass, 1999; Khan et al., 2016).
Another weakness that I have identified is that I often focus on the outcomes of the work instead of the process or its effects on people. In an effort to achieve organizational goals, I can push myself and my followers too hard, leading to exhaustion and decreased motivation. Based on the transformational leadership theory, leaders should strive for a balance between meeting shared goals and fulfilling employees’ needs (Khan et al., 2016; Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). Hence, this characteristic of mine disagrees with transformational leadership theory.
Lastly, my third weakness related to transformational leadership is that I tend to separate myself and my goals from my team. While I set goals that I want employees to complete, my own goals rarely match them, which leads me to disengage from the team. In transformational leadership, the emphasis is on the shared vision and goals, which requires overcoming this weakness (Bass, 1999; Khan et al., 2016).
Recommendations for Personal Leadership
In order to overcome my first weakness, it would be useful to practice prioritization. For example, if there are too many opportunities, I could prioritize them by benefits that they offer to me, my team, and my organization. This would help me to narrow down the vision and set clear goals that are beneficial for all parties involved, thus contributing to my application of transformational leadership (Bass, 1999).
The second practice that would be helpful for me is continuous self-assessment. While working on a project, I should take breaks often to analyze whether my needs and the needs of my team are being met. This would aid me in focusing more on the people than on results and finding the balance between productivity and people’s needs as required by transformational leadership theory (Khan et al., 2016; Kuhnert & Lewis, 1987).
Finally, I would also try to engage in goal-setting from the perspective of shared goals. As explained by Khan et al. (2016), shared goals are crucial to transformational leadership, and this practice would help me to become closer to my organization and my team.
Goals and Actions
The first smart goal I would like to achieve is practicing reflection for one hour daily. This goal is important to my leadership since it is connected to my strengths, and more reflection time will allow me to make better decisions and engage in more self-development. I will measure the progress using timers to track the time I spend thinking without distractions.
The goal is attainable because there are tasks that I could do quicker or delegate to allow more time for daily reflection, and it is also relevant to my role as a leader since it would support my personal and professional development. I will accomplish this goal by the end of the year.
The second smart goal for me is to become more organized in my work so that I can engage more in self-development and allow myself enough rest to avoid exhaustion. I will measure the progress using a habits tracker where I will record habits such as maintaining a sleep schedule, keeping the desk clean, recording tasks on a timetable, and more. These habits will help me become more organized without taking up too much time, which is why I think that this goal is attainable. It is relevant to my work as a leader because I have a lot of duties that necessitate organization skills. I intend to accomplish the goal within three months.
In line with my first goal, I will begin setting aside time for reflection at the end of each day. I will remove all distractions so that I could devote proper time to my thoughts and set the timer to avoid doing anything else during these periods. I will start at just ten minutes and increase the time gradually until I reach one hour. I believe that this action will contribute to my goal since it will give me time to think about my goals, development, and other critical areas where I need reflection.
For my second goal, I will start by evaluating my current routine and compiling a list of habits that would make it more organized. This will help me to narrow down the focus of my actions while also allowing me to track my progress toward the goal. Once the list of habits is complete, I will start recording them in my habit tracker, seeking to fulfill them daily.
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