Leadership from the Inside Out

To truly understand myself as a leader, I must first understand who I am as a person. By taking the time to reflect on myself it gives me a greater understanding of how I interact with other people and the world around me.

For example, when completing the survey on emotional intelligence I discovered two areas which I need to increase my own awareness. I often feel awkward in social situations and I am not the type of person who is going to approach individuals that I do not know or invite myself in to a conversation. Additionally I often fail to pick up on the subtle cues that others may be giving that would provide me with insight into their wants or needs. As a leader it is important to be comfortable with interacting with others and to possess the ability to pick up on not only what others are saying, but what they are not saying. I have always been rather introverted and I must seek opportunities that will challenge me to step outside of my comfort zone and interact with people socially. The more interaction I have with people the more experience I will get in picking up the subtle cues that others give off.

I also discovered that I have an extremely low trust of others. I realize that the level to which we trust others is often a result of past experiences, and I must remain aware of my potential to be too distrusting. When a person is distrusting of others it means they often expect the worst from others, and this may actually result in my focusing on things that would support my desire to not trust rather than to remain open to more positive experiences. This lack of trust at times manufactures itself in the form of control issues and my inability to give up control of tasks to others. As a leader, it is important that I be able to relinquish control to others as needed and to allow others the freedom that they require to complete those tasks without being a micro-manager.

In the survey on procrastination, I had a very low score. As a leader I think it is good to be a task and deadline oriented person. Being able to complete tasks or to make decisions in a timely manner is vital to leading a productive team. However, I need to ensure that I am not so task oriented that I fail to be people oriented. I need to ensure that while progressing towards the goal that I recognize opportunities to highlight the ideas and contributions of team members while providing them with positive feedback and constructive criticism that ensures their continued commitment to the project. If I fail to also be people oriented while being task oriented I may not be fully engaging team members.

My attitude towards achievement is that successful people should be rewarded. People who work hard tend to be the people who enjoy success and they should be able to reap the benefit of their work. On a personal level knowing that success of achieving final outcomes often comes with rewards is sufficient, but as a leader, I need to recognize that members of my team may require additional motivation along the path to achieving those final outcomes. As such, it is my responsibility as a leader to recognize and meet the needs of the members of my team.

Through assessment of my leadership skills, my strengths and my weaknesses I have been able to recognize that by improving the gaps in my own skills that I will benefit not only myself, but the organization that I work for and the individuals I work with.

Being a good leader requires me to recognize the necessity to engage in continual reflection of myself to recognize opportunities for growth and development in response to changes in myself and in the dynamics of the organization or team environment, and to utilize those opportunities for personal and professional growth. Doing so will ensure that I do not become stagnated and that I instead remain a dynamic and effective leader.

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