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Reflective Practice in Leadership Essay


Reflective practice is an essential part of human personality that enables a person to self-discover his inner qualities. This concept is meaningful to my professional and career destiny because it enables me to understand my talents and abilities. Therefore, I have gained insights my behavioural instincts and how they either favour or weaken my ability to excel in various leadership roles. More importantly, the reflective process allows me to use my intellect to set higher standards for myself in different engagements I am pursuing (Mackoff & Wenet 2001, p. 96).

As an aspiring leader, the reflective practice models I have been exposed to have made me understand the importance of behavioural as well as situational factors that make me a better professional. Moreover, I have acquired beneficial traits that allow me to motivate myself and other people I work with to enable them to actualise their true potential.

Experiential learning models have helped me to familiarise myself with relevant tools that provide benchmarks for leadership success and performance in various organisational environments. Therefore, through reflective practice, I am able to understand values which are meaningful to people that I am required to lead and how I need to adapt to make a positive impact (Donaldson 2008, p. 312).

Reflective practice allows a leader to use critical thinking skills to make a positive impression on people that work under him to encourage them to change their attitudes towards work processes. I have also learnt that organisational culture influences roles and relationships between various stakeholders in a firm. Moreover, the prevailing organisational culture in a firm directly determines the quality of performance a firm achieves from different processes. As an aspiring leader, the reflective process I have undertaken has made me realise that major organisational functions are directly influenced by a leader’s vision.

Self –Examination through Exchange and Interaction

Exchange and interaction are important factors that influence the manner in which a leader executes his responsibilities in a particular organisation. I have examined my personal behaviour and attitudes and realised that I do not share my thought and opinions with other people. According to Bass’ theory, behavioural and environmental factors allow a leader to exhibit positive qualities that inspire people working under him to register good performance.

He insists that personal traits make some people natural leaders and they are able to stand out in the way they organise different functions and resources in organisations they lead (Jones 2001, p. 56). In addition, he insists that other people exhibit leadership qualities during times of crisis. Lastly, he insists that people may choose to become leaders after acquiring different skills that make them capable of executing their responsibilities.

I believe that the transformational leadership theory applies to my personal as well as professional character and I intend to utilise it in my interactions with other workers I am required to lead. Janssen and Yperen (2004, p. 368) insist that employees’ goals influence the relationship they have with their superiors in an organisation. The leader-member exchange theory asserts that perceptions of an employee towards his superiors are influenced by benefits he gets out of the relationship.

This model has made me understand that I need to orient myself to the organisational culture and values cherished by my subordinates to enable me to have beneficial exchanges with my subordinates. Consequently, this will allow me to have better relationships with employees I work with because I will undertake various actions at the workplace which will increase their job satisfaction.

My own process of leadership will focus on mutual benefits that can be obtained from exchanges and interactions I have with my subordinates. This approach will allow me to come up with more effective strategies that improve employees’ competence to make them more effective in their duties.

I will use both mastery and performance orientation parameters to ensure all employees are responsible for their own performance using flexible work procedures (Bauer & Green 1996, p.1548). This will serve as an incentive offered to employees to make them more willing to take on more challenging tasks that help them increase their knowledge and capabilities. Therefore, employees will be able to cope with different challenges they face in their duties easily to help them succeed.

Outcomes of Reflexivity and Internal Processes of Learning

Reflexivity and internal processes of learning enable a leader to understand his inner qualities easily. I believe that having an open mind will prove crucial to my understanding because I will be able to learn about various factors in the environment I am working in to understand how they impact on performance. I have realised that I need to understand dynamics that directly influence organisational functioning to set higher performance standards without antagonising workers.

A participative approach will make it possible for workers to accept gradual changes in the organisation. I now understand that a leader needs to consult important stakeholders before effecting operational changes to make it easy for them to adapt. Therefore, in my personal reflections, I found out that interpersonal collaborations will be one of the main methods I will use to achieve positive results (Podsakoff & MacKenzie 1996, p. 265).

Internal processes of learning have allowed me to think more clearly about the goals I intend to achieve and their long term benefits to my career. They have made me understand the importance of setting different types of personal and professional priorities which guide me whenever I undertake different activities. The functional leadership theory has made me understand how to build and strengthen relationships with employees that I am working with (Zaccaro, Rittman & Marks 2001, p. 457).

This theory reveals the value of team management and collaboration and these concepts enable an organisation to achieve positive outcomes. As a leader, understand that my main responsibility is to assign employees’ tasks that allow them to use their creative instincts to enable them to discover their inner talents and skills. Therefore, this approach will encourage me to nurture and utilise the talents of various employees working under me to improve overall results.

A leadership approach that encourages interaction, exchange and learning creates a cohesive organisational culture that motivates people to work harder to improve their personal as well organisational performance. As a result, I understand that a leader needs to share his vision with all employees to influence them positively as they perform roles assigned to them.

More importantly, I have also learnt about the four main processes of team effectiveness which include; cognitive, motivational, affective and coordination functions. I have a better understanding on different workplace factors that impact on team performance. As a result, I know how to exercise leadership authority positively by planning specific outcomes that can be achieved through team work (Tesluk & Mathieu 1999, p. 210).

Leadership, Strategic Learning and Change Interventions

I have come to appreciate that for a person to become an effective leader, he needs to have followers that share the vision he seeks to execute. Since leadership is a concept that has multiple paradigms, I have realised that it is important to rely on evidence based practices to make important decisions. Evidence based practices help me to design and implement appropriate programs that are responsive to organisational needs. In effect, it has become important for me as a leader to take note of different stakeholders’ interests in the organisation and how they are likely to impact on long term performance. Yukl (2006, p. 207) insists that a leader needs to have self awareness by understanding how his skills and weaknesses either benefit him or weaken his abilities to lead.

Strategic learning processes allow a leader to take note of environmental factors that directly impact on performance in the organisation. In my reflective practices, it is important for me to process the information I receive more analytically using various meta-cognitive processes. Therefore, this has made me to realise the importance of organisational planning, coaching and problem solving to strengthen organisational performance.

Therefore, I have managed to encourage the employees I work with to use more than one approach to solve problems they are facing in their work stations to attain good outcomes. A participative approach makes it possible for all employees to propose generate new ideas which guide actions they are ready to undertake to attain good performance (Riggio 2002, p. 67).

The research I have done has made me realise that employees and other stakeholders are likely to resist change in a situation where they do not have adequate information about the vision and objectives a leader wants to achieve. I have realised that I need to constantly monitor all crucial organisational functions that need to change to bring about a strategic restructuring of all working systems to achieve better results.

Using the path-goal theory, I have realised a leader needs to set an environment where performance excellence is appreciated to ensure employees satisfy high expectations as they perform their duties in their respective workstations (Northouse 2004, p. 130). Consequently, this has made me understand that effective organisational change should focus more on people and not processes to encourage all stakeholders to align their personal goals to collective goals set by the organisation.

Strategic and Experiential Learning

Strategic learning processes that I have learnt about focus more on creative problem solving and critical thinking. By reflecting on creative problem solving tools, I have realised that leadership entails empowering subordinates to enable them see the advantage of working with their colleague to attain positive performance. More importantly, creative problem solving techniques should focus on people’s personalities, duties they perform and specific outcomes they are expected to achieve.

In my own assessments, I have discovered that creative problem solving works well in an environment where work support systems are well defined. This encourages all stakeholders to engage in positive thinking. Carnelli, Gelbard and Reiter –Palmon (2013, p. 102) insist that leaders should encourage their employees to share knowledge and information to enable them attain good performance in their workstations.

Organisational complexities require a leader to come up with more elaborate strategies which are appropriate for the environment an organisation operates in. Critical thinking skills combine theoretical and practical skills which are used to improve the performance of a particular organisation. In my own reflective assessments, I have been able to think about how critical thinking equips me with the skills I need to execute strategies I have set.

Therefore, it has made me think more about myself in relation to people and systems that surround me. Using the thinking skills model, I now understand the importance of formulating strategies, understanding challenges and exploring practical solutions to solve various personal and professional challenges I am facing (Puccio, Mance & Muddock 2010, p. 47). More importantly, the thinking skills model asserts that openness to new ideas allows a leader to explore alternative actions that can be used to attain positive outcomes.

Creative problem solving and critical thinking skills make a leader understand the need to assess a situation more accurately before making any conclusions. I know that a leader must take time to understand how change interventions proposed in an organisation will transform behavioural and operational systems that exist (Korsgaard, Schweiger & Sapienza1995, p. 71).

Additionally, my reflective assessments have made me realise that change processes work more effectively in an environment where workers are equipped with appropriate technical and analytical skills. These skills allow them to think use their creative instincts to analyse various situations they are facing in their workstations. Therefore, an effective strategic learning and change intervention model encourages all stakeholders in an organisation to use consultative techniques to solve different types of problems they face.

Personal Meanings and Mental Models

The reflection processes I have undertaken have made me to appreciate the benefits of critical thinking, creative problem solving, strategic learning and external support systems in leadership. These personal meanings have given me better insights on various leadership models and how they equip leaders with vital skills they need to execute their duties more effectively.

However at times, I have realised that creative thinking processes without a clear action plan make it difficult for a leader to attain the desired goals and objectives. A leader needs to influence those who work under him to share the same vision he has to enable them to attain positive results in the long run (Danzig 2000, p. 73). In some instances, establishing joint meaning out of various factors that impact on organisational stability is problematic.

Additionally, I have realised that managing personal and organisational dilemmas is a very challenging issue for many leaders. Using the five step dialectical solutions method, I have been able to acquire a clearer insight on how to come up with proactive solutions that address different types of challenges I might face in my work. This has helped to improve my analytical skills because I am able to prioritise specific actions I need to undertake to achieve positive results.

In essence, I now know that organisational systems may either support or hinder change management initiatives that a leader introduces (Jain 2005, p. 57). Therefore, I have developed a mental model that allows me to see various problems as potential opportunities which need to be harnessed to guarantee good results and outcomes in the organisation.

In my constant reflections, I have found out that a positive approach allows a leader to understand specific processes that encourage his subordinates to be open to change. More importantly, I have understood that people need to be challenged to take initiative for their own performance because this leads to self-discovery. It is important for a leader to use resources at his disposal more efficiently to organise various tasks for workers to perform.

All processes in an organisation should be designed in a manner that allows leaders to coordinate performance in different departments (Salas & Fiore 2004, p. 56). Ultimately, I have understood that open channels of communication serve as a crucial factor that encourages employees to propose innovative ideas to a leader which in turn improves organisational performance.

Diagnostic Work and Critical Feedback from Others

As a leader, diagnostic work allows me to find out factors and situations that need to be addressed to improve overall organisational performance. Lazzarini, Islam and Mesquita (2012, p. 211) insist that managerial attitudes have an impact on organisational performance. The diagnostic reflective process I have undertaken has given me an insight on managers’ self-interest and how this affects employees’ dedication in the workplace.

Therefore, this has made me to conclude that micro-management techniques have a negative impact in improving long term performance in the organisation. Leaders who fail to delegate responsibilities waste a lot of time on processes that are not beneficial to the long term stability of their organisations. In effect, this denies their employees a chance to exploit their talents in their workstations and this leads to negative results out of various tasks they are performing.

Strategic learning requires a leader to observe keenly various internal and external factors that are likely to impact on performance. Open and constant interactions between a leader and his subordinates encourage both parties to improve their understanding about wage structures, incentives and work systems. As a result, a leader can establish how these factors motivate employees to perform their duties.

Additionally, leaders need to listen more to the concerns of those working under them to find out various issues that affect organisational performance. Moreover, leaders need to rely on information they have collected from workers and other stakeholders to make good decisions that bring about positive performance in the long run (Western 2013, p. 76). Therefore, information sharing and open channels of communication make it possible for a leader to acquire new insights into various functions to find out how they benefit his organisation.

Another critical area that needs more understanding is integrity and ethical responsibility by leaders. Through feedback and establishing closer collaborations with subordinates, I have found out that leaders need to be more flexible to eliminate different barriers that hinder organisational success.

Additionally, I have realised that a corporate culture that emphasises on honesty, integrity and ethical behaviour establishes high standards of excellence which all workers are expected to abide by. As a result, a leader needs to encourage high standards of practice at work by motivating all employees to do more to achieve positive outcomes in their duties (Smith 2000, p. 122). This ensures that a leader removes all barriers that hinder an organisation from developing its strengths to enable it to take advantage of various opportunities in the industry.

Action Plan

My action plan focuses mostly on personal as well as professional factors that are likely to impact on learning. Therefore, I need to reflect on my personal goals to understand if they are closely aligned with broad organisational objectives (Densten & Grey 2001, p. 120). This approach will allow me to consider the interests of other stakeholders by responding to their needs to make them feel that the organisation values them. More importantly, I have realised that processes of interaction and exchange allow a leader to deal with various challenges that impact on organisational performance. This enables a leader to set priorities that define how various organisational functions will be performed.

I have also understood how to rely on creative problem solving and critical thinking skills to come up with proactive measures that address different challenges I am facing. Through knowledge sharing and team collaborations, I have discovered that as a leader, I need to inspire those working under me by encouraging them to share ideas so that they are more responsible for their own success. Moreover, I have also discovered that I need to understand how to assign appropriate responsibilities to employees who are directly under my supervision.

This approach allows employees to exploit their talents fully so that they register positive results in their duties. All these processes can only succeed in an environment that places stronger emphasis on learning, integrity and discipline to bring about positive changes (Phillips & Gully 2011, p. 81). Therefore, this reflective task has made understand the benefits of change processes in an organisation and how they encourage managers and employees to change their attitudes towards each other.

Personal Action Plan
Diagram showing Personal Action Plan


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