My Personal Leadership Philosophy
The concept of leadership is incredibly complex and has no simple, singular definition that applies to everyone. As we discussed extensively in our first session, leadership is situational, and individuals are able to embrace the role of a leader when the opportunity arises if they are well equipped with the experience, passion, and skills necessary. There is no template to design the ideal leader, and this is what makes the concept of leadership so difficult to understand. In my opinion, this lack of a “leadership protocol” that works in every situation makes the job of a leader even more impressive and important.
I believe observation and emulation are important learning mechanisms. As a result, I have taken a lot from the leadership tendencies of the people I interact with the most in this world: my parents. Both of my parents hold leadership roles in their respective professional careers. While they approach situations with extremely different methodologies, there are definitely some commonalities in their leadership techniques that I have observed and come to appreciate. Combining these observations with my own experience in leadership roles, I have narrowed down the countless traits of leaders into three key characteristics:
Visionary: a leader must be able to see the bigger picture, to not let small setbacks stop them in their quest to accomplish the ultimate goal.
Collaborative: a leader must be willing to work with their team and effectively communicate with other members; they must be open-minded, willing to accept new ideas and implement them.
Inclusive: one of the primary responsibilities of a leader is to be able to make their team members feel comfortable in their roles; a team can only be productive when all members feel safe enough to be able to share their opinions; disagreement and discussion should be welcomed.
Activity 1.3 Impressions
My results for the Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire were as follows:
Trait emphasis: 15 // Ability emphasis: 13 // Skill emphasis: 18 // Behavior emphasis: 12 // Relationship emphasis: 15 // Process emphasis: 14
I do believe that the questionnaire, in general, was effective and in-line with my self-perception. I tended to agree with the leadership skills section of the chapter much more than the behavioral section. While I do believe that each of these characteristics play a role in effective leadership, it was interesting to see to what degree I valued them on a daily basis. The only issue I had with the questionnaire was the lack of context. As I mentioned before, leadership is incredibly situational. I am sure that in some situations, I would emphasize leadership behavior over leadership skills. I think my emphasis on each of these categories would fluctuate based on my environment, experience, passion, drive, and team members.
I do find it surprising that my relationship emphasis was not higher. I agreed with much of which was written in the chapter about leader-follower relationships. I believe that followers/team members are just as important as a leader. Each person plays a role and fostering these relationships is essential in creating an effective team. I honestly thought that this would be my category of most emphasis.
Thinking About Leadership and its Relationship to Practice
I think it is incredibly important to factor in one’s leadership philosophy when thinking about their actions as a leader. Depending on what they emphasize/deem necessary, leaders will act in different ways. Again, as I mentioned before, it is situational and impossible to predict. Leaders will prioritize certain agendas and act upon them. However, it is important to realize that each of the core characteristics of a leadership philosophy will play a varying role in their actions.