What comes to mind when I think of leadership is reaching a common goal or a desired outcome through collaboration, communication, and delegation. Some instances where I have witnessed these three elements of effective leadership was through the service fraternity I am involved with called Alpha Phi Omega. As Alpha Phi Omega members, we are expected to reach a certain amount of hours in different categories: service, leadership, and fellowship. Whenever the Vice President of Service, Vice President of Leadership, or the Vice President of Fellowship saw Alpha Phi Omega members struggling to get their respective hours, they actively made the effort to reach out in order to resolve any issues. If this communication hadn’t been made by the leaders, there would have been no resolution or accommodations set up for the struggling Alpha Phi Omega members. Furthermore, I saw elements of collaboration and delegation during my time spent on the Service Committee within Alpha Phi Omega. This intimate committee was formed by the Vice President of Service in order to directly foster collaboration on service event ideas. During the committee meetings, the Vice President of Service would also delegate roles to committee members for upcoming service events, such as Autism Awareness Week for example. This delegation was a helpful tactic for both sides— it was beneficial to the VP of Service because it lessened the amount of work she personally had to do and it was beneficial to the committee members because it gave us a sense of inclusion, importance, and responsibility within the fraternity.
My results for the Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire went as follows:
Trait Emphasis: 18
Ability Emphasis: 19
Skill Emphasis: 19
Behavior Emphasis: 16
Relationship Emphasis: 18
Process Emphasis: 19
After completing the Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire exercise, I realized how the lines separating each of the different leadership emphases are not strikingly distinct. I found it challenging to align my leadership identity with one particular emphasis for this reason, which is why I have three emphases tied as my top— skill emphasis, ability emphasis, and process emphasis.
I was surprised by the extent to which I agreed with certain aspects of the varying emphases— as a matter of fact, I did not disagree with a single statement on the questionnaire! I came to realize that I believe in aspects of leadership which may seem inherently contradictory. For instance, I believe in the concept of natural-born leaders, but simultaneously, I believe that leadership is something that anyone can improve on.
My results show me that my beliefs on leadership are primarily a mix of the ability, skill, and process emphases. Concerning the ability emphasis, I believe that for some people, leadership innately comes easier to them by having qualities like charisma and confidence. However, leadership ability can be developed through consistent effort. Concerning the skill emphasis, I agree that learning and training can eventually transform anyone into an effective leader. Concerning the process emphasis, I accept the idea of leadership being an interactive dynamic with the followers as well as an influential relationship between the leader and followers.
One downside of the questionnaire which was mentioned in class is how generalized the statements are. Because leadership methods differ depending on the case, it was difficult to answer the broad, blanket statements regarding leadership.