There are many types of leaders in the world. Some lead loudly and draw the attention of many. I am not that type of leader. You will not find me standing in front of thousands using a megaphone to be heard. Instead you will find me standing amongst the group leading in a more companionable manner with my sleeves rolled up as I work alongside those that are following my directions. If I am not willing to tackle a task myself, then I will not ask another person to tackle it for me.
My earliest memories of myself as a leader can be traced back to my involvement in Girl Guides of Canada where I began as a Brownie and continued in Guiding until I was a leader of my own unit of girls. It is from these experiences that my leadership skills were born and nurtured and my perception of what a leader should be were formed. In simplest terms I learned that leading is about guiding a person along the way to meeting his/her goals in a manner that allows that individual to experience personal growth.
As a leader it is my responsibility to provide team members with clearly defined goals and the steps required to achieve those goals. If I want someone to climb the tallest tree they will have more success at achieving the task if I provide them with the ladder to get there and if I am willing to hold the ladder for them while providing them with the support and encouragement that they require as they progress to the top. Being a leader is about recognizing the strengths of each member of the team and building upon those strengths. It is about giving credit where credit is due and recognizing the contributions that each member of the team has made in achieving the goal rather than taking all the accolades for myself.
Every member of a team must bring something to the table that makes that team better equipped for facing the challenges that they may encounter along the way. The leader is an integral member of the team. My skill set as a leader is expansive and shaped by my personal experiences. Living abroad in a foreign country has allowed me to gain valuable firsthand experience with working with people of varied cultural backgrounds and beliefs and has resulted in a greater understanding of myself and others. It has also provided me with the opportunity to improve my interpersonal communication skills and to recognize that body language and tone often influence the message more than the words that are used to convey it. I recognize that the concept of respect is different across various cultures and that awareness of cultural expectations improves communication.
I am skilled at analysing information that I have received and then organizing that information into a useable format that is easy for others to understand. I recognize that despite careful planning unexpected circumstances may present themselves and I am capable of quickly and spontaneously engaging in creative problem solving and to provide ideas and solutions while adapting the plans to reflect the change in circumstances.
In my interactions with others I am both tough and fair. I expect each member of my team to contribute to their full potential and to take responsibility for his or her own actions. In the process I will do what I can to support each team member in reaching his or her potential, and will provide feedback that recognizes individual strengths while pinpointing areas for improvement while providing suggestions on how to achieve that improvement. As a leader I also recognize that there are times when decisions must be made quickly in a reactive manner and then reflected on later. If I have made the wrong decision then I am not afraid to accept responsibility for that decision and to analyze my own actions to determine what other courses of action could be taken if facing a similar situation in the future.
Those that work with me can expect me to be loyal and dedicated to the organization. I strive to improve myself through educational opportunities that increase my own knowledge and increase my versatility within the workplace, and to then share that knowledge with my co-workers.
Being a leader requires quickness in thought and the ability to take action. A great leader does not merely lead the team, but is a member of the team and provides direction from within the ranks.