Lecturer: Essay Example
Leadership in Context
On reflection, this term has provided me with significant opportunities to develop my leadership skills and to reflect on my key personal skills. In summary, I learnt that developing effective leadership skills does not just occur as it needs planning, to be worked at and to be adjusted continually by investing in processes that facilitate its improvement. This paper explores a self-assessment of leadership skills, current strengths and weaknesses as a leader, possible implications, improvements and action plan to improve on key skills.
Personal definition of leadership
From a personal perspective, leadership comprise the processes and activities that show how an individual influences others towards a particular course or to achieve a certain objective (Makhdom & Ghazali 2003). Practical scenarios throughout this term have however enlightened my understanding that leadership can be defined using a range of perspectives dependent on the context, including school (Isaacs 2003). In my view, an effective leader within the context of school, classroom or discussion group has to be a confident decision-maker, effective communicator, time manager, great mentor, highly organised, relationship manager and resilient.
Self-Assessment of strengths and weaknesses
I submit that among my key strengths lie in effective communication skills. A review of the way I participated in group works, adjusted to new environments and made friends during the 11 weeks of these term, shows how great communication skills manifested themselves as my key leadership strengths. This is reflected in the ways in which I am highly assertive and sociable. In the group works, I have been perceived as a highly straightforward individual whose intentions cannot be misconstrued. This has always allowed me to influence the group members towards a course. Essentially, I can talk, interact, listen and negotiate with the group members.
I have great coaching skills. This is indicated by the manner in which I have often actively mentored my friends or team members, specifically by leading them through formulation of project ideas, as well as achieving their project goals. On reflection, I have numerously displayed this skill by explaining, demonstrating and offering each of my group members an opportunity to display and gain experience through the 11 weeks of the term.
I also have great organisational skills. This is based on the manner in which I have led my group in undertaking effective scheduling of project tasks, which have often been completed in time. As the team leader, I have often ensured that the team maintains a detailed weekly scheduling that details the due dates of group projects and assignment.
Additionally, I am an effective relationship manager. Having held various leadership positions throughout the term, it is clear that I have strong interpersonal abilities, in addition to the capability to keep long-lasting positive relationships in the hope of ensuring positive outcome of group projects. Indeed, the ability to initiate strong relationship with the group members has manifested itself as one of the ways in which I have consolidated team-play and friendly working environment, favourable for completing group projects successfully.
Based on personal reflection, it is clear that among my weakest leadership skills is time management. Although I can readily submit that I am an organised leader, I face difficulties in prioritising tasks or activities, since I am an impatient person. This has often been disastrous on personal level, since I always want to finish multiple tasks at the same time. It has often paralysed my capacities to work effectively, since the outcomes of the tasks have been poor. At group level, my group members have always complained that I pressure them a lot and that I should learn to be patient.
I also have poor resilience, as I have always failed to bounce back after an upsetting event. Besides, I get easily discouraged or upset whenever I put too much effort on a task while the resulting outcomes become disappointing. My group members have always complained that I like hanging back to the past. Poor resilience has posed as a barrier to undertaking complex tasks with unpredictable outcomes (Moran 2011).
Time management is a key area I consider improving. On a personal level, I have always faced difficulties in choosing between engaging in social activities and studying, which has significantly affected my grades. Although I need to attain high grades, I also need to achieve other social goals. Hence, I believe that effective time management skills can offer me the opportunities to balance between academic and social activities.
Poor decision-making is also an area I would consider improving, as it significantly affects my leadership qualities. In addition to impacting my readiness to manage my time and to focus on the most important issues, it has portrayed me as an indecisive person and a poor problem-solver. Hence, I believe that improving in this area is critical.
Implications of the Skills
Poor decision-making and time management skills are likely to affect my academic performance, leadership skills and long-term career goals. These have affected my overall engagement with the areas that I should prioritise in, such as prioritising in academic work to improve my learning outcomes. Poor decision-making skills will enable me to be resolute and more focused. It will further augment my time management skills, as I will be able to make decisions on areas to prioritise on.
During the next three months, I expect to achieve better time management and decision-making skills. The two areas are aimed at improving my leadership skills and overall grades.
In order to improve my time management skills, I will develop a schedule of activities that should be undertaken during the day. In the list of day-to-day activities, I will prioritise on the most important activities of the day and give less precedence to the less important ones. Academic-related activities will be accorded importance and will take a greater amount of time (Paul & Stroh 2004). Those that are not important will either be eliminated or listed at the bottom of the list. In addition, I will commit myself to self-discipline and restraint to ensure that I comply with the work schedule in the next three months. At the end of each week, I will carry out an assessment to check the extent to which I complied with the schedules. At the end of three months, I will carry out the final assessment to check whether the performance of my group has improved and whether I have improved in my grades.
In order to learn decision-making skills, I intend to become more analytical within three months. In order to attain this, I will begin by creating a checklist of the social and academic issues before finally listing their pros and cons during the first week. Decisions I plan to make will be based on those that are most likely to present better teamwork, team performance and improved academic results (Milkman et al. 2008). At the end of each month, I will undertake self-appraisal. I will focus on establishing whether I made independent decisions after detailed analysis or critical thinking without having to involve external influence. Essentially, the assessment at the end of three months will be confined to the checklist created in the first week.
An effective leader has to be a confident decision-maker, effective communicator, time manager, great mentor, highly organised, relationship manager and resilient. As analysed, my leadership skills need to be reconfigured if I have to be an effective leader and to attain higher grade. Of the qualities, I lack effective time management and poor decision-making skills. Hence, I expect to improve the two weak areas in the next three months if I have to fully transform myself into an effective leader.
Isaacs, A 2003, Resiliency and the Individual Demographics of School Leaders: Making a Difference in the Quality of Educational Leadership,» Journal of Research in Education Vol. 22 No. 1, 128-135
Makhdom, H & Ghazali, M 2003, «Towards a Substantive Theory of Leadership, Negotiation and Decision Making of Leaders,» International Journal of Innovation and Business Strategy, vol. 2, pp.1-8
Milkman, K, Chugh, D & Bazerman, M 2008, How Can Decision Making Be Improved? viewed 24 May 2014, http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/08-102.pdf
Moran, D 2011, «ACT for Leadership: Using Acceptance and Commitment Training to Develop Crisis-Resilient Change Managers,» The International Journal of Behavioral Consultation and Therapy, Vol. 7, No. 1, 68–77
Paul, M & Stroh, P 2004, «Managing Your Time as a Leader,» Reflections, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1-13
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