Names

Reflection paper

Titleof Assignment

PersonalStrengths

Asa Leader

Hittet. al (2015), defines leadership as the process of giving generaldirection and influencing people to pursue a particular goal.Remarkably, according to VIA survey of character strengths,leadershipis my paramount strength. This means that I possess the ability topersuade and influence others to follow a particular course ofaction. According to Keirseytemperament sorter – II, an online tool for assessing one’spersonality, I am a guardian.The Keirsey sorter describes guardians as individuals who tend totheirresponsibilities and duties seriously.

Thisdescription correlates with drive,one of the components in Hitt etal’s(2015) list of key leadership traits. As a leadership trait, drive isassociated with ambition, tenacity, persistence and initiative. Itentails gathering the will and energy to forge ahead in the face ofinsurmountable turbulence. Hitt et.algoes on to conclude that drive is a critical element in leadershipmainly because it helps leaders create a vision and immersethemselves in attitudes which are aimed at achieving their vision.

Asa guardian, I am highly dependable and trustworthy, and rather thansit on the fence and give directions, I am the first to roll upsleeves and get my hands dirty. If I were to relate these personalitytraits to contemporary literature on leadership, it may perhaps, besaid that I exhibit a form of leadership style known as servantleadership.This style is associated with a leader’s ability to value, developand build the people around him or her. As a servant leader, myconceptual skills and foresight are well developed and most of mydecisions are carefully analyzed and guided by wisdom.

Beinga guardian, I am keen on following rules and maintaining cordialrelations with others. This is borne out of realization that loyalty,teamwork and discipline are the pillars of team success. Thewillingness to stick to rules and to foster healthy relationshipswith others means that I possess one more critical leadership trait –integrity.This means that I always put a lot of emphasis on truthfulness andhonesty while ensuring that there is a match between my words andactions.

Asa team member

Accordingto Hitts et.al,(2005),effective team members possess five key behavioral characteristicsthese are cooperating, coordinating, communicating, comforting andconflict resolving. WhenKeirsey temperament sorter – II,merges with Briggs-meyers personality indicator to provide a deeperevaluation of personality, I get categorized as a supervisor,inspector, provider and protector. One of my key strengths as asupervisoris that I am effective at organizing people in order to get thingsdone. This is what Hitts et.al,describes as coordinatinggreat team players actively manage the group’s tasks in order toensure that they are carried out efficiently and harmoniously. Suchmembers keep the team focused on the end results, they collect andincorporate each member’s gains to create a coherent, whole endresults.

Oneof my distinct behavioral traits as a provideris that I enjoy working with teams in order to achieve greaterresults within the available time. This is what Hitts et.al, describesas cooperatingand it means that effective team members prefer to work together asopposed to performing in isolation. In this case, they shareresources while working on their adaptive skills to enable themaccommodate the needs of their peers in the team. Asa provider,I a warmhearted, cooperative, always focusing on bringing harmonywithin my surroundings. I am also keen on studying team members,establishing their individual needs and going out of my way tofulfill those needs. Drawing a comparison between these traits andHitts et.al’slist, it can be said that as a team member, I am good atcommunicatingand comforting.Communicating entails transmitting information freely, efficientlyand respectfully in order to avoid arousing animosities and negativeemotions within the team. It also involves listening actively to teammembers. Comforting, implies that I put a lot emphasis on helpingteam members maintain a positive psychological state. The way I dothis is by showing empathy, offering psychological comfort andelevating the team members levels of confidence and self-worth.

DevelopmentalAreas

Asa leader

Accordingto Keirseytemperament sorter, guardianstend to focus more on serving others and catering to the needs ofothers. Of course, in order for us to co-existent harmoniously withothers and get the most out of interpersonal relations, we have toshow some degree of selflessness, generosity and empathy. Being aguardian, the challenge here is, however, knowing when my behaviorconstitute genuine acts of service to others and when they turn intoreckless acts of pampering grown up followers. Followers who areaccustomed to seeing their leader bending too low to fulfill theirmost trivial needs are more likely to lose faith in the leader’sauthority. In this case, I have to acknowledge the fact that learninghow to put in check my unlimited empathy and expressions ofselflessness are areas that I need to work on.

Beinglabeled a supervisor– as per Keirsey sorter – implies that I am forceful in executingplans. As an inspector,I am quiet, serious, someone who takes pride in ruthlessly instillingorder, and organizing tasks at home, work and in social settings.Again, it is common knowledge that every leader requires some degreeof control in order to work effectively. There is, however, somedanger in taking assertiveness to an extreme level because it isbound to attract rebellion from subjects who may consider me asoverbearing. Such followers are likely to get demotivated because Iam always stepping in to fix things or do their work on their behalf.For this reason, this is a developmental area which requiresattention.

Thirdly,as far as leadership is concerned, the guardian personality issynonymous with limited vision. Guardians spend far too much timemingling with their subjects, attending to their issues, catering totheir most trivial needs we – guardians- just don’t know when tolet go and let our followers take charge by delegating and empoweringthem. The repercussions of these are that a great deal of valuabletime gets sacrificed to issues which are unimportant. An effectiveleader has to demonstrate some degree of detachment from hissubjects. This way he or she is able to create time and focus on newopportunities, resolve problems, brainstorm ideas and gain a grip ofwhere the organization and plans are headed. Therefore, knowing howto minimize the amount of time wasted on trivialities and focusingmore on the big picture is my other critical development area.

Asa team member

Fora team to achieve success, members have to work together toward thedesired goal. Unfortunately, most teams are unable to work as aunited front. Almost always, the main cause of this state of affairsis the endless strife and dysfunction which are initiated by memberswho happen to be poor team members.

Asa guardian, there are positives things to be said about me as a teammember. At the same time I also possess personality traits which maybe detrimental to team dynamics. One such personality trait is mycompulsion to dominate others. Being a guardian, I am likely to tryand impose my will on the team by seizing control over every area ofthe team activities. I tend to do as many tasks as I can whiledisregarding the support and input of my teammates. I am possessiveof my work and rarely listens to my teammates suggestions. Thedownside to this my thirst for control is that it creates apathywithin the team while weakening cohesion among the team members.Thus, as far as team dynamics goes, one of my main developmentalareas is unlearning this side of my personality.

Second,is my unwillingness to embrace change. According to Keirseytemperament sorter, we guardians are cautious to matters concerningchange besides lacking confidence in building new skills. We arealways ready to do whatever it takes to maintain the status quo,despite knowing that change is a healthy and inevitable part of teamgrowth and success. Such resistance tends to result in lower teammorale, lessened efficiency and chaotic work environment. If I am tokeep my team away from the aforementioned, I must learn to embracechange.

Third,as per VIA survey of character strengths, I suffer an absence of zestand curiosity. Zest refers to one’s ability to approach life withenergy and excitement. Curiosity, on the other hand, is concernedwith an individual’s ability to embrace experiences for what theyare. It entails finding fascination in various subjects and ineveryday situations – both ordinary and extraordinary. As a teammember, lacking these two traits may result in lack of enthusiasm inthe team’s objectives and in the members’ ideas of how to steerthe team forward. When this happens, I may turn out to be the team’sbiggest liability, the weak link that results in the team’s demise.Turning these weaknesses into strengths must, therefore, become apart of my priorities.

Mymission statement

Mymission is to work with others and improve lives of people whom Icome across. My choice of mission is guided by my personality,strengths, values and interests. As a guardian i am highly dependableand trustworthy. Going by the VIA survey, I am a warmheartedindividual who focuses on creating harmony in the surroundings,someone who takes their time to study others and understand theirneeds and subsequently goes on to do what it takes to satisfy thoseneeds.

Leadershipphilosophy

Myleadership philosophy is “Results through productiverelationships”. My philosophy is borne out of the realization thatleaders attain tremendous results, when they build healthyrelationships with their subjects as opposed to merely focusing onworking harder. As a leader, I have to build coalitions and keyrelationships with critical entities within my camp, because theseare the ones who will serve as my agents. They will beresponsible for managing communications, quelling dissidenceand selling my vision to my followers. The key factors guiding myphilosophy are the results of personality surveys and strengthsanalysis, a careful study of situational and trait theories ofleadership as outlined by Hitts et. al, my life experiencesand the impact that various people – parents, friends, colleagues,coaches and historical figures – have had in my life.

Incrafting my leadership philosophy, first I had to reflect on whom Iam and where I have been and the influence of various events andindividuals on the person I am today. Beginning with a focusedself-reflection on important experiences, the crafting of myleadership philosophy served as an opportunity to examine andarticulate my views on leadership, my assumptions and personalbeliefs about individuals, leader-follower interactions, my purposeas leader and how I aim to actualize my mission with people andthrough people. This process of creating leadership philosophyfurther afforded me the opportunity to explain mutual expectationsthat exists between the team and myself.

Throughpersonality evaluations, I did realize that creating and maintaininghealthy interpersonal relations is one of my main strengths. As aguardian I always value engaging in clear rapport, I am quick to showempathy and ever willing to listen when required to do so. In thesame measure, it occurred to me that some of the people who have leftthe biggest mark in my life did so because they had exceptionalinterpersonal skills. A case in point is my uncle who rose throughthe ranks to become a respected environmentalist and a socialactivist. My uncle always used to tell that without the support offollowers, a leader is nothing. One of his favorite quotations wasthat “if you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walkfar, walk with others”.

Thenthere were the history books, awash with stories of ordinary men andwomen who have changed the world through extraordinary deeds. The onestory which, however, made the greatest impact on my life is that ofthe 18th century U.S president – Thomas Jefferson. Morenotable is Jefferson’s willingness to appreciate diversity and hisefforts at promoting an inclusive leadership. He never got weary ofreminding his allies that regardless of the many divisions prevailingat the time – both political and ideological – those in rivalcamps were also people of principles, people who loved their countryand who deserved respect from his camp just as much as his campdeserved theirs.

Takingall the above into consideration – personality evaluations,personal experiences and the impact of others – interpersonalrelationships inevitably, came out as the main driving force in mylife. Subsequently, my leadership philosophy had to be built aroundthe virtue which I value most, the one which constitutes the largerpart of my personality – and this is productive relationships.

Personaldevelopmental goals Reflectingon my life, it is remarkable how far I have come and the person Ihave grown up to be. Again, I do realize that I am not done withgrowing, learning and improving. Just like everyone else, I am stilla work in progress. Various dimensions of my life such as family,leadership, team and social roles may be impressive, but they arestill far from perfect.

Asa leader there are various areas of my personality and skills which Iwish to develop further. One of those areas is increasing myknowledge. Ordinarily, ambitious leaders never quit learning for theycannot afford the luxury of sitting around and parading obsoleteideas and skills to forward thinking followers. With this in mind,one of my key objectives is to draw a list of the knowledge areas andskill sets which are needed in my area and then seeking ways ofobtaining them through conferences, mentorship and classroomsessions. Additionally, I am also seeking new and more effectivemeans of inspiring my team members to pursue their personal and teamgoals. It is my belief that involving members in planning team goalswill heighten their sense of self-worth and commitment, and hencetheir enthusiasm in new team projects. My third goal is pursuingbetter strategies for managing my workload. In this case, I will seekto delegate tasks, prioritize issues, ignore distractions andshunning unrealistic demands. All these are long term goals which Iintend to consistently work on for the next two years.

Asa team player, I need to loosen up and start embracing flexibility.Active teams regularly deal with dynamic conditions and therefore endup creating change on their own. In this regard, I have to realizethat effective team members are those which are consistently firmwhile remaining open to members input. At the same time, I need tounlearn the negative art of cherry picking projects simply becausethey seem easy. My final goal is to support my team by giving honestfeedback and extending help to those who need it. And while pursuingall the above, I will strive to maintain a positive attitude. Apositive outlook on life is not only refreshing but also goes a longway in helping team members to remain focused and productive. What isrequired for these goals is slight modifications of attitudes andbehavior. These are therefore short term goals which I intend toactualize in less than a year.

Iconsider the above goals to be SMART – specific, measurable,attainable, realistic and timely. They are specific in the sense thatthey focus on just a few, direct and precise issues. What makes thegoals measurable is the fact that each goal can be broken down intoseveral milestones and specific metrics introduced to track successattained at each milestone. For instance, increasing my knowledge –as a goal – is measurable in the sense that i will begin byevaluating the kinds of knowledge I intend to gain and proceed tobrainstorm on the types and number of initiatives I need to engagein, in order to gain knowledge. Such initiatives may includeattending seminars, reading books and enrolling for short courses. Tomeasure my progress in this case, I may focus on the number ofseminars and conferences attended each month as well as aggregatingall the new topics effectively learned in each seminar or conference.

Eventhough challenging, none of these goals will compel me to overstretchmy capabilities, neither do they require skills and attitudes whichare not part of my personality. All these makes my goals attainableand realistic. They are timely because I have set a timeframe foreach.

Summary/ClosingComments

Untilnow, I have always thought that I knew all there was to know aboutmyself. The personality and strengths surveys which I undertook inorder to write this essay, are however, a clear proof that there is agreat deal that we do not know about our personality and character.Even more interesting is the realization that these traits –whichwe may not be aware of – determines the roles that we assume asleaders and as team members, and how we end up fairing within thoseroles. It was once said by the great philosopher Socrates that themost important thing in life is “knowing thyself”. The validityand reliability of Keirsey and VIA surveys may be scientificallyquestionable, yet what matters most is the fact that both tools andsimilar others, helps us reflect upon who we are and what works bestfor us as distinct individuals.

References

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ReflectionPaper. The assignment of the Essay

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