Leadership in My Life
My first impression of what qualities leadership entails was a belief in oneself, initiative to action, outspokenness, moral rights, the ability to lead by example, and humility. Also, a leader has to have total confidence, but over the past few months. I discovered a lot more than all those qualities and that it takes a lot more to become a good leader. I learned a lot about myself that I never knew before and I am more assured in my abilities to lead. My leadership experience relating to my academic, personal and professional life has taught me a lot about leadership, and also now that I think about it, my dad is a real leader and he has taught me a lot about life. Throughout the paper, I will relate a lot of my leadership experience regarding my academic, personal and professional life as well as my current and future leadership goals. Now I am aware of the concept of leadership in all aspects of what I do in life, I never thought that the simple things I do like being organized or helping others can be considered as leadership traits. I think knowing about my leadership style, teamwork, goal setting, ethics, diversity, conflict, and organization will help me become a better leader. I believe I am a better person and leader than before when I didn't really put a lot of emphasis on becoming a leader. My experience has helped me realize the potentials I have to become a future leader. I am a big believer in that being a leader can help make a difference in the community and at work and hopefully someday in the whole world.
My leadership experience helped me to understand what leadership is about. The first concept of leadership to me was to understand my leadership style. Before my experience, I never thought about my leadership style or even knew that there were different types of leadership. I think my leadership style is best described by the combined style of pacesetting and coaching because I was exposed to the pacesetting style a lot by my dad who was very professional and expected good things from people. The pacesetting style is not the best way to be a leader because some people are not capable of exceeding in everything they do and you have to accept that they are not as good and hope that they can improve in the future (Maxwell, p. 39-42). My dad is a great person and everything, but the pacesetting style of my dad has made him an unpopular manager around the employees. I took account that I will not be like him and have everyone dislike me all the time. So I decided to lead with the pacesetting style, but also with the coaching style. I would take the best parts from both styles and model my leadership after it.
When I lead or do something, I would always do my best and expect other people to do the same as me and give it their all every time. If they cannot do what I want then it's fine because I will not just get rid of people for not being up to my standards right away. I think it is mean thing to just fire them rather than giving them time to get better and eventually does what I ask. I will try my best to help in any way possible and I want them to know that I care about them and that we are friend's also not just leaders and followers. Now that I know about these leadership styles, I will try my best to apply them in my work and personal life more to help me to become a better person and a better leader also. I have many goals that I would like to achieve over the next five to ten years in the areas of education, career, and my personal life. Five years from now we will be entering the year of 2015. Three weeks from now I will be completing my first year at the _______ which puts me half way through obtaining my [Name of degree]. On January 9, 2011, I will graduate from the ____________ with my [name of degree]. In January of 2013, I will graduate from the _________ with my Bachelor of [name of degree]. I would like to obtain my master and doctor degrees in a shorter time frame than usual so that I can work on my personal life goals that I will not be able to work on while completing my educational and career goals. I have decided this shorter time frame because Randy Pausch said in the Last Lecture "Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things? You may have causes, goals, interests. Are they even worth pursuing?" (Pausch, p. 118). Randy Pausch's this statement has inspired me.
After graduating with my [Name of degree] I will begin looking for a job in a local job market so that I can gain some firsthand experience there. I would like to have a better feel of what it is like to work with the firm before my first year of the job. I feel that the benefits of working as an employee with leading skill are important to my success. After some time it's my goal to seek for a permanent job. Ten years from now we will be entering the year of 2020. I want to continue working as a manager throughout this time and I want to continue my education while working. "Take a time out. It's not a real vacation if you're reading email or calling in for messages." (Pausch, p. 110) That's why I have set my goals in order to utilize my time in the best way. My leadership experience in professional life helped me to avoid conflict as much as possible and hope that it would just go away in the future. The reason for this is that I did not want to put all the effort into fixing the conflict and I was not really comfortable with confronting people about what is wrong because my experience is really good at confronting people on what the problem is. My experience of leadership would confront me all the time on whatever was wrong and that has made me resent him a little bit because he would always tell me what to do and how to do it and I did not want to be told what to do or what I did wrong all the time. So I was always skeptical of confronting people because I thought it would make people resent me. Now after what I learned many things from my leadership experience in professional life, I know it's best to confront the problem head on so that it gets done and over with and I do not have to think about What if I did this or that? Confronting the problem is easier said than done, but it is actually scaring me that I am actually doing it in my life. I just had this big conflict with one of my close friends at college and it was getting to the point where our friendship was dangling on a string and I finally had the courage go to talk to the person about what was wrong and how it could be fixed the right. It took a lot of work but the results were worth it because we are friends again. I am glad that I did confront the problem because being a leader is never easy and you have to gain experience to help you later on. Three months ago I would never confront the person and probably lose my friendship and now I know it's best to confront the problem, not avoid it.
It is sad to say that I never really have experienced diversity much until I came to professional life, where there are many different ethnic groups (Malphurs, p. 147-153) because I came from a small town where it is a predominantly white community. I never really thought that diversity could be a problem for leaders to experience, but I was wrong. With a big firm, there are a lot of different cultural and religious differences that could affect the leader when working with a group. Truthfully I was not really to handle diversity when I came to the professional life, but I know that for me to become a good leader, I need to experience it firsthand. My leadership experience has taught me to be open to different ideas or opinions and that there is no one right answer for everything. Being a leader, you have to open minded, because, with all the diversity, you are going to have conflict among others on what is right or wrong and how to handle it in a certain way that is good for everyone involved (Maxwell, p. 4-9). I think that diversity could benefit us because a lot of people have different creative ideas and we can always learn something about one another. Diversity can make or break a group and good leaders know how to handle the different types of problem arise from different views. It was easy for me to lead back in high school or weed pulling because there wasn't that much diversity among the group; everyone had the same religion and the same belief, so it wasn't hard at all, but in college you are exposed to a lot of it and you have to believe that even though people are different they still have good ideas to offer. I can honestly say that I am more open to different cultures now than before. I am more aware that my thinking may not always be right and for me to become a good leader, I need to keep an open mind and not judge people based on cultural or religious beliefs.
A good leader knows the importance of teamwork (Miller, p. 23-28). In the past, I thought there were not many elements that could contribute to the success of the team. All I knew was that we just needed to do our parts and come together later to do our project, there was not a leader or any planning at all, but now I know that for the team to succeed, teamwork is crucial. The first step for the team is to agree on a leader. The leader needs to set goals for the team and see that it gets accomplished in time. Being the leader of a group is a hard task and I think that the leaders need to keep the team members in line, keep them all happy, and keep them on task. The success of the leader depends on how well the team does and if the team fails, the leader is responsible for the failure. I know that I cannot always be the leader of the team, because there are times where I have no idea what we are doing or if I am capable of doing it well, so I am always open to follow whoever I think is competent enough to be the leader of the team. Then I can learn from the leader and in the future apply what I learned from following to leading a team. Also for the team to effective, I think that the leader should have a good relationship with their follower. Leaders have to communicate with everyone and get a feel that they are on the same page as everyone else. I think working in a team; it is a must that people feel comfortable with each other to trust and work with one another to complete the task. If the team is on different pages or conflict arises, the goals then will be harder to achieve and if that happens I think the leader of the group should confront the problem and resolve it before it jeopardizes the entire group. Overall I think an effective team is when team members share a sense of purpose or common goals, and each team member is willing to work toward achieving these goals.
Another thing I have become better at in my leadership journey was to set feasible goals for myself. Before my leadership experience, I've been taught about the importance of setting goals for me, but I never really took that seriously because I was young and naive and thought that I could do whatever I want, whenever I want. I got through high school just fine without setting goals for myself, because in high school teachers and counselors baby you on what you have to do and when to do it by, but when I got to college I was independent and I thought I could only get by in college by what I did in high school. I was very wrong and I knew that I would have to starting setting goals for what I have to do and when to do it by so I do not get caught off guard and be ready for whatever comes. My leadership experience has taught me and shown me the ways in which setting goals step by step makes it easier for you to accomplish things rather than just doing it without any planning. Goal setting is an important quality for a leader to have (Maxwell, p. 4-9), because that means you have a sense of plan and you know what you need to do in order to complete the goal. I never would have thought that I would ever set goals for myself, but I know for me to become a good leader, I must learn how to set goals for myself. From now on I will do the best I can to set goals for myself, like writing a paper ahead of time or how to pay off my college loan over time.
As I progress in my leadership journey. Early on in college, I was so unorganized that I literally could not find any of my homework or how I would lose my paper and money all the time. My room was dirty and I hated cleaning so I was really frustrated all the time. The one event that triggered my need to be organized was the first leadership presentation for the class. I was unorganized and I ended up doing bad. So I knew then that to be a good leader, you have to learn to be organized. A person is not born with organization skill, but what you learn through experience. Leaders have to organize goals or plans for everything, you cannot just wing it on whatever you do. I believe that you will do better organized than none at all, and it is a proven fact that being organized will help you is more successful in life. A leader must have the organization skills in order to lead smoother (Malphurs, p. 147-153), if a leader does not have it then he/she will have a tough time managing his/her goals. I am so glad that I have become more organized; I can find my stuff easier now and I don't have a hard time keeping track of my stuff every day, so hopefully in the future I can apply my skills to being a good leader. The obstacle that I can see in my life is that I may not be able to find a local job. I know several people who have been out from organizations and have not been able to find a good job here. In order to overcome this obstacle I have to follow the statement of Randy Pausch, "You can always change your plan, but only if you have one. I'm a big believer in to-do lists. It helps us break life into small steps." (Pausch, p. 108). It means that my family will need to be behind me on this because we may have to move to another city or state in order for me to find a job.
I will have to make a much more conscious effort to stay focused on my school work especially if I want to graduate in the time frame I have set for myself. In order to overcome this obstacle, I will have to be very organized, have a schedule set for myself and everything that needs to be completed in order of importance and be aware of the fact that my personal goals and my time will be on hold until my educational goals are completed.