LEADERSHIP DEFINITIONS BY SCHOLARS
The process of influencing an individual’s or a group’s actions in order to achieve a specific goal in a given situation is known as leadership (Hersey & Blanchard, 1988). Whereas, Schein (1992), has described it is the ability to step outside of one’s culture and able to begin more adaptive evolutionary change processes. Furthermore, Drucker (1996) has defined that a person who has followers is a leader.
WHY LEADERSHIP IS IMPORTANT?
Importance of leadership has led to a never-ending debate “whether leaders are born or made” for decades. As a result, numerous researches have been conducted focusing on leadership from a variety of perspectives, due to the importance of it on management and organizational behavior (Johnson et al., 1998; De Neve et al., 2013; Johnson et al., 2004). According to the study conducted by Mullins (2016) and Kouzes and Posner (2016), leadership is something which can be learned and nurtured. Other researchers such as Yukl (2019:194-200), has revealed some leadership traits which leads to its effectiveness and another survey has identified that both situational factors and individual traits determines leadership abilities (Stogdill, 1948).
HOW TO IDENTIFY A GOOD LEADER
It is a very well-known fact that people often tend to point out bad leaders, but the question is do we really understand or know how to identify a good leader?
A recent study conducted by Center for Creative Leadership (2020), revealed that integrity, communication, gratitude and empathy is important for both organization and individual and it can be a blind spot for the organization. Whereas, Koehn (2005), stated that employees value integrity as a business asset when interacting with leaders and it create a well-structured working environment for employees (Tulberg, 2012).
Goleman (2004), identified that emotional intelligence is an important skill set for effective leadership and it is a necessity to become a successful leader (Watkin et al., 2017). Furthermore, emotional intelligent leaders are able to inspire and persuade individuals by using their social skill in order to achieve organizational goals (Srivastava, 2013).
Kouzes and Posner (2007), has identified that leaders who practice shared values are more effective and also empathy is another essential skill that leaders require (Kirkpatrick, 1985). Thus, many organizations are encouraging different leadership skills within the employees in order to improve productivity (Burke and Barron, 2007).
MY JOURNEY AS A SALES OFFICER
The ever-changing global business environment has had a significant impact on my personal and professional life. As a reason my Individual needs, motivations, and definitions of satisfaction have also changed during past few years.
In the year 2017, after completing my bachelor’s degree in International Business and Marketing, I worked as a part time course coordinate in one of the colleges in Maldives. There I was given the opportunity, to travel to different atolls with the lecturers, set time table for the students and mainly coordinate with students and lecturers. That was the time I felt the importance of leadership. Later in 2018, I found a permanent job and started to work as a Sales Officer in one of the largest companies in Maldives. During my three years of work, I’ve learned a lot of new business strategies and have improved my performance. Company offered me the position of showroom supervisor in 2018, and when the sales division was restructured in 2021, they appointed me as showroom supervisor.
However, I was unable to accept the offer due to unforeseen circumstances. I’m currently on unpaid leave to finish my MBA, and my ambition is to work as a leader in a management position. This, I believe, is an excellent opportunity for me to learn and grow as a future leader.
Before attempting to understand others, it is critical to first understand one’s own personality and behaviors. According to Clawson (2006), as a leader’s potential develops, he or she must be able to understand one’s own behaviors. As a result, I must evaluate, identify, and understand my strengths and weaknesses (Yukl et al., 2019:217).
Myers & Briggs 16 personality test (MBTI)
Figure 6: MBTI result has identified that, my personality type is Assertive Campaigner (ENFP-A) and the characteristics involve extraverted, intuitive, feeling, prospecting and assertive.
Open-mindedness, observance, enthusiasm, excellent communicator, adaptability, and spontaneity are among my strengths, which explains why I was given the opportunity to work in a senior position. Overthinking, getting stressed easily, being highly emotional, and having trouble focusing are some of my weaknesses that explain why I misplaced the opportunity.
Identified role is Diplomats and Trait (intuitive, feeling, assertive and extraverted)
According to Luthar (1996), the ideal of democratic leadership is friendly, helpful, and encouraging participation and democratic leadership results in higher member satisfaction (Stogdill, 1974). Based on my MBTI roles and traits, the democratic leadership style is the best fit for me. However, I cannot overlook the significant disadvantages of this leadership style (refer to figure 8), which will reduce the team’s productivity (Gaille, 2018).
This personality awareness model has helped me to gain a better understanding of myself and how others in the fearless leaders group perceive me (Boxer et al., 2013). Fearless leaders input revealed that caring, friendly, helpful, observant and trustworthy is in my arena. On the other hand, I’ve discovered several significant blind spots that I was previously unaware of and that will certainly aid in improving my self-awareness. According to Eurich (2018), self-awareness is the latest management buzzword; because research shows that seeing ourselves clearly builds confidence and creativity. It also aids in the development of stronger relationships, more informed decisions, and effective communication.
FEEDBACK RECEIVED FROM FEARLESS LEADERS
As a result of globalization, businesses are increasingly looking for effective leaders (Dai and Li 2016). Hence, working with a diverse workforce is the greatest challenge, and it is critical to adapt culture, which will undoubtedly benefit me in the future (Magala, 2005). Based on the current scores (figure 10) I’ve received from team members; I need to focus more on maintaining and developing my attributes.
HOW I WOULD MAINTAIN AND DEVELOP MY ATTRIBUTES BASED ON TEAM MEMBERS FEEDBACK
SELF-AWARENESS AND SELF-DEVELOPMENT
After learning about different leadership styles and traits, I realized that in order to achieve my future leadership goal, I need to focus on developing my strengths and overcoming my weaknesses. It’s also critical to concentrate on my strengths rather than my flaws (Dweck, 2016; Buckingham, 2009). Hence, Adair’s Action-Centered Leadership Model can be used to better understand, improve, and balance key work life areas such as task, team, and individual leadership qualities (Zulch, 2014), as well as to understand how each action affects other areas (Mullins, 2016:316).
SELF DEVELOPMENT PLAN
During my three years of work experience, I have met a lot of great leaders and gained a lot of knowledge from them that I will be able to apply in the future. This MBA program, as well as the leadership module, provides me with a fantastic opportunity to learn and grow as a person and in my future career. In addition, course work one has provided the opportunity to learn more about cultural diversity and the significance of culture.
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