The research and development of a personal philosophy of leadership deeply intrigues me. Leadership is a powerful aspect that can represent the bad or good in a person. When I think of leadership, I think of the people in my life who have accomplished a great deal to help others is a good thing. I do not feel that I have accomplished the leadership status, in a sense of people who are following or looking up to me. I believe that leadership comes over time; It comes by recovering the mistakes you commit while making things better. When I think about all the leaders in the world, I noticed that all of them have their own values and ways of accomplishing greatness in their life. It is essential to have my own personal beliefs and values before becoming a leader to others. Strong leadership and leadership skills are a critical part of progress, achievement and growth for personal, team and organizational effectiveness. Core leadership values such as excellence, collaboration, self-respect, competency, creativity, wisdom, honesty and integrity resonate within me that is responsible for guiding the path I take in my current role as well as in the continuation of my leadership journey. I strive to keep these values as part of both my personal and professional life while continually reviewing and updating them in that journey. They form the foundation of my personal leadership development as well as an informal leader and as a member of a team. I truly believe John Maxwell. He stated, "To add value to others, one must first value others" (Inc.com). In this paper, I will discuss my personal leadership philosophy in details while explaining ways I dealt with decision making and challenges.
In analysing the idea of what leadership is, I tried to evaluate what was most important to me in becoming a leader. I asked myself, what shapes a vision? What are the qualities that comprise a leader?Leadership according to Northouse (2015), “is a complex, multidimensional process that is often conceptualized in a variety of ways by different people. Some of the most common ways of looking at leadership are as a trait, as an ability, as a skill, as a behavior, as a relationship, and as a process. The way you think about leadership will influence the way you practice leadership” (p.10). A self reflection is
Following is the definition of leadership i.e. being generated from my thoughtful reflection of the leadership of the organization:
Leadership is not about a title. It is simply about more than having followers; and it is not achieved by just following a few principles. Leadership is a complex at its core and it is having the courage to make the right choices – not just the popular ones, engaging others in a vision, and empowering followers to pursue a shared purpose of achieving a positive, lasting impact on the individuals associated with it.
Perhaps the most important step in becoming an effective leader is to understand and determine one’s core values. Human needs are an important part of human nature. Values, beliefs and customs differ from country to country and group to group, but all people have similar needs. A leader must understand these needs because they are powerful motivators. The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1996), explains that once people who have their basic needs met, become much better workers. They are able to concentrate on fulfilling the visions put forth to them, instead of consistently worrying about how to make ends meet.
Honesty, integrity and self-respect are considered as vital aspects towards self-management and self-leadership. “People who adhere to a strong set of principles and take responsibility for their actions are exhibiting integrity. Leaders with integrity inspire confidence in others because they can be trusted to do what they say they are going to do”(Northouse p. 26). According to me, honesty in personal growth and self leadership reflects the performance of the employees as well as leaders and continually. If objectively this process is repeated then necessary changes can be made. Holding integrity as a core value means making sure that every inward reflection and outward interaction as a leader or team member incorporates a comparison with established personal values. In this context, honesty and integrity contribute to the development of self-respect, which is important for sustained credibility, influence and growth in leadership.
Assumptions are thoughts generated unconsciously or naturally (Duplass &Ziedler,2002) and they are used as simplified ways to support decisions made on a daily basis (Ruggiero,2004, p. 94-95). There is a list of assumptions for my personal philosophy development, that include the following aspects. Leadership opportunities are open to all levels within an organization or team. It is also practiced in an informal or unassigned leadership form, from the middle that can have a very positive impact on teams and outcomes. Values are given back to the growth of the profession while providing back to profession. My skill sets and knowledge may change and expand over time, but the core professional skill set I possess will not change. Another assumption I believe in, is that leadership competencies can be learned and developed whereas some may think individuals may appear to be born leaders. I also, support Douglas Mc Greyor’s assumption of Theory Y discussed by Northouse (2015), that work is as natural as play and rest. People will exercise self-direction that they are committed to the objectives. I believe that commitment to objectives is the function of the rewards associated with all my achievements. I am capable of using my abilities to solve any organizational problem, and I do have potential.
Positive leadership is based on part on openness, honesty, fairness, transparency, equal opportunities and vision. My previous department leader was truly the best leader I have ever reported to. I think I have adopted his charismatic leadership style and at times his transformational style. The charismatic qualities include, being driven, passionate, taking personal risks to achieve the common goal and having high performance expectations. Whereas, the transformational qualities include, always emphasizing cooperation, daily coaching and mentoring of others, articulating a clear and appealing vision and encourage the team to serve others. I remember him best displaying his leadership abilities of easing our fears during a challenging time of the organization restructuring because of the bad economical financial situation of the country. Poor leadership involves poor communication, lack of transparency, favouritism and closed-door style of leadership. I once experienced being under the leadership who had a laissez-faire attitude in which he visited the office twice a week, called in sick half the time and made no attempts to resolve issues in the office. He just caused harm to the organization, eventually the company closed.
According to me, strong personal leadership traits and relationships with subordinates are the key aspects to strong leadership and team growth. From experience, one of the ways to build trust as a leader is to display a good sense of character. Character is the disposition of a person, made up of beliefs, values, skills and traits. I believe that effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it, they habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values. Leaders should have distinguishing qualities such as forward-looking, competent, fair-minded, courageous and being straightforward.
The purpose of the leadership is to improve the ability of the individuals and teams while optimizing work and volunteering processes in order to contribute to excellence in outcomes. The power of a leader keeps the organization’s employees engaged and motivated. Leadership is aligned with organizational objectives along with the skills of subordinates and partners with employees while achieving employee, team and organizational objectives. Fiedler has defined leadership as a "process of influencing others for the purpose of performing a shared task" (Fiedler, 1968, p. 362). Implied in, this definition is the idea that one person--the leader--motivates and directs members of the group to reach some shared goal. A strong leadership is therefore important for the effectiveness, performance and relationship of teams.
Practicing and modelling core values that encourage others to do the same established respect. Demonstrating trust, reliability and respect contributes to credibility. The leaders’ actions and goals may not always genuine in nature. Employees, peers and other subordinates have to understand this that sometimes it may not follow the interest of the organization and people. However, consistent following is important, as is the nurtures, support and direct the teams. If a leader does not consistently back up their talk with actions, credibility will be a challenge. As per my understanding, good leaders must genuinely believe in the organization and the people they lead and work with. They must be actively involved in bringing about change that will support that belief.
Leaders are affected by their experiences, which can influence their leadership style and actions. However, they can also be influenced or shaped by the environment in their organization and its resources, political and economic scenarios.Leadership behavior is shaped by both internal and external factors. I believe that a leader must possess and cultivate certain traits that make it more likely they will excel. The leader must make the decision to utilize or cultivate those traits to expand their leadership influence. I have made a conscious decision to take on leadership responsibilities from within my team while others on my team prefer to take a more passive follower role. I have taken the decision for a formal leadership role if that becomes something I desire. The combination of my experiences, the skills and qualities I possess or have chosen is to develop and specific decisions and commitments will all contribute to my style and success as a leader.
It is very important to work in an organization that has the same or very similar values and vision as an individual have. It is the first thing that I look at when choosing to apply or work with an organization. For becoming a great leader, I believe one must have values of integrity, responsibility, humility, an open-mind of diversity/differences, family and love, a charismatic leadership attitude, and communication. My goals and objectives along with organizational goals will help me in becoming a great leader as well as creating values to the organization and self-development.
Northouse, P. G. (2015). Introduction to Leadership: Concepts and Practice, 3rd Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781483324166/
The 100 Best Leadership Quotes of All Time. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/the-100-best-leadership-quotes-of-all-time.html
Duplass, J. A., &Ziedler, D. L. (2002). Critical thinking and logical argument, Social Education, 66(5), 10-14. Retrieved May 30, 2007, from InfoTracOne File.
Ruggiero, V. R. (2004). Beyond feelings: A guide to critical thinking (7th ed.) Boston: McGraw Hill.
Fiedler, F. E. (1968): Personality and situational determinants of leadership effectiveness. In D. Cartwright and A. Zander (Eds.), Group Dynamics. (3rd Edition.) New York: Harper & Row, p. 362-380
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