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Thyressa Williams’ Leadership Interview Essay

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Updated: Jun 18th, 2020

Interview Summary

The leadership interview was conducted on Thyressa Williams. Miss Williams is a labor organization leader whom I have had the privilege of interacting with in the past. I met Thyressa Williams when we were working together on a special project a few years ago. In addition, Miss Williams has mentored me in the past. The interviewee has several admirable qualities, including her passion for labor organizations. My interview with Miss Williams focused on several aspects of leadership. The interviewee answered all the questions that I presented to her with utmost sincerity. Through the interviewee’s answers, I was able to gather useful insight into leadership and correlate the information I got with course materials. Williams’ interview consisted of a wide range of questions, most of which were personal in nature.

According to Williams, leaders should have the capacity to appreciate and respect all people. This respect should not be relative to a person’s economic position, social standing, or gender. The interviewee admits that she took up her current leadership position because it provided her with a platform for improving the stature of the labor movement. The interview revealed that the genesis of her leadership was because her colleagues started treating her as a natural leader. Eventually, the interviewee applied for her current leadership position following the insistence of her colleagues.

According to Miss Williams, most leaders fail because they do not understand the scope of leadership. The interviewee suggests that the scope of leadership spans further than the leader and involves team members. Therefore, consultation is the key to successful leadership, according to the interviewee. The interviewee recognizes that as a leader, she should be more confident so as to improve the perceptions of both her juniors and her superiors.

When the interviewee was asked about the early life experiences that might have influenced her leadership, she said that her position as a firstborn child in a family of five was quite helpful. One of the most important aspects of leadership, according to the interviewee, is the ability to recognize and acknowledge talent amongst the people a leader is working with. The interviewee claims that she is now able to delegate several duties to other people, something that was a problem in the past. According to Miss Williams, her mentor usually challenged her to face her fears while she mostly provided her mentee with technical know-how. The interviewee usually keeps track of her trade by familiarizing herself with new trends through personal contacts and current literature. The interviewee also recognizes that the work that she does has a positive impact on society.

Miss Williams’ definition of courage is that it is an individual’s ability to move away from his/her comfort zone for the sake of others. The interviewees’ hope for the future encompasses policies that are free of political or personal influences. When Miss Williams was asked about the main difference between management and leadership, she reckoned that the former is inflexible while the latter is more flexible. In the course of her job, Miss Williams enjoys the achievement of set-goals while she detests having to dismiss employees. The interviewees’ parting shot was that her career would only come to an end once she stops having fun.

Reaction to the Interview

The interview by Thyressa Williams highlights, among other things, the leader/follower dynamic of leadership. As a leader, Williams is able to embrace flexibility for the sake of her followers. Flexibility is a method that is applied by all astute leaders. According to Miss Williams, when a leader embraces flexibility, he/she is unlikely to fail. On the other hand, the interviewee claims that most leaders fail because they do not value the input of their followers. Seeking input from followers does not undermine the position of the leader but strengthens it. According to Williams, the success of the leader/follower dynamic is evident when the follower’s buy-in to the vision of a leader who respects and values their input.

A leader’s flexibility should be accompanied by other traits such as courage and effective communication. On the other hand, followers should exhibit professionalism, collaboration, and utilize their talents for the benefit of their leaders. In the interview, Williams recognized that the most important ‘nugget’ of leadership is the need to acknowledge and respect the skills and talents of followers. In addition, the interviewee sees the need to acknowledge the contributions of followers privately and publicly. Leadership experts also show interest in situations where leaders and followers interact. According to these experts, the situations that foster leader/follower interactions should be nurturing, well defined, and they should accommodate high expectations (Northouse, 2013).

The older theories of leadership disputed the notion that leaders can only be natural, and they cannot be ‘made.’ However, modern theories of leadership, such as the constructivist theory, provide a deeper analysis of modern leaders. For instance, the interviewee acknowledges that she has acquired leadership qualities after assuming her role as a leader. Furthermore, the interviewee acknowledges that she is still in the process of acquiring more leadership qualities. This interview also diminished the idea that leadership is more of a position than a title. Miss Williams informed the interviewer that most of the initiatives that she undertakes involve the efforts of her whole organization. In addition, the interviewees’ position as a leader is mostly defined by her input to the labor organization rather than her leadership title.

After interviewing Miss Williams, it is now clear that the most important aspects of leadership can be learned. This realization is in line with most personal theories of leadership. Most of these personal theories assert that effective leadership is achieved through learning, activity modification, and real-world experiences. The interviewee professed that she talks to young people and reads current literature on leadership in order to improve her stock.

According to the social learning theory, even leaders can reduce their error-instances by observing the actions of others. Consequently, all leaders require to be mentored at some point. The interviewee revealed that she had been both a mentor and a mentee. According to Williams, her mentor guided her through her fears. On the other hand, she taught her mentee some technical aspects of leadership. According to the social learning theory, errors are minimized or eliminated when individuals use the experiences of others to teach themselves. In addition, through Williams’ interview, I was able to learn a few things about leadership. For instance, I have always assumed that leadership positions can only be ‘fought for,’ but the interviewee informed me that she was nudged into her current position by her colleagues.

Another great aspect of leadership is the ability to impact change in an organization. Thyressa Williams goes about this task by finding satisfaction when her organization improves. In addition, the interviewee realizes the need for acknowledging the tools that can move an organization forward; her followers. According to the interviewee, good leadership includes followers or employees whose input is valued and recognized.

Furthermore, Miss Williams claims that her goal is to change policies in order to align them with the needs of society. This organizational change is the key to good leadership. As a leader, Williams tries to change the situation of individuals using her organization.

Some of the leadership traits that the interviewee claims to use in the course of her duties include confidence and humbleness. In addition, the interviewee claims that her grasp on work-related matters prompted her accession to leadership. Therefore, Miss Williams’ versatility is her claim to top leadership. Most leaders have a wide range of traits that cement their leadership positions. However, every leader has a particular set of traits that stand out both to him/her and to his/her followers. Several leadership theorists dispute the notion that there is a specific set of traits that makes up effective leadership (Nielsen, 2005).

From this interview, I was able to recognize the importance of the leader/follower dynamic in leadership. The interviewee, Miss Thyressa Williams, reiterated the importance of her followers during her tenure as a labor organization leader. The leadership experience of individuals is enhanced when the skills and talents of followers are recognized. In addition, the reading materials for this course have indicated that leadership can be ‘learned’. The interview cemented the notion of ‘learned leadership’ when the interviewee revealed that she is still ‘learning’ to be a leader. The interviewed personality is also a prolific mentor who strives to enhance the plight of modern workers. In addition, Miss Williams’ is dedicated to her work-input as opposed to her position as a leader. The interviewees’ attitude is a mark of true leadership.

References

Nielsen, J. (2005). The Myth Of Leadership: Creating Leaderless Organizations. Palo Alto, Ca: Davies-Black Publishing. Web.

Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership: Theory And Practice. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications. Web.

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