MY PHILOSOPHY OF LEADERSHIP Christine Harris Byrd In my own definition, leadership is an attitude, not a position or routine, and not based on one certain formula or method. It is based on one’s experiences and personal values, and therefore no two leaders will never be the same. There are only a few characteristics that categorize them together. Leaders are those whose actions reflect their heart. They inspire themselves and others in a way that creates a chain reaction of positive events, thoughts, changes, and of course, attitudes.
Whether their attitude affects a whole society or one single person, they are a leader because they genuinely care for the well-being of others and live according to their own principles. Most importantly, a leader is one who does not settle. They are always striving to grow as an individual, learn more, accomplish more, and challenge the norm. Based on my personal experiences it is prevalent that I will become more of a transformational leader versus being a transactional leader. So much of my growth has been based on inner-challenges and the influence of other leaders.
I agree with the concept that stresses the importance of “powerful personal characteristics” and using your talents and skills to help and influence others. I have a fiery personality, which means I become very passionate for what is important to me and let my emotions dictate how I think, feel, and act. Most distinctively I believe that the main purpose of our actions is to aspire for happiness. One cannot truthfully portray leadership if his actions do not make him happy. To put it simply, I believe that being a transformational leader is a lifestyle.
Never does one reach an end point or master the skill. As they strive to transform others, they too continue to grow. There are five main components of my personal leadership philosophy. The first and foundational component on which it is built on is “hard work. ” An important part of having a leadership attitude is by illustrating your words through tangible actions. Rolling up your sleeves and diving in or “going the extra mile” establish both credibility and respect. In my experience, hard work can also come in the form of a weakness.
I am most content when I can just put my head down and work, but I have learned that when working together with others, I have to be conscious of other’s opinions and pace. I believe that it also means that one has to be resilient because the harder you work and the more times that you put yourself out there, the higher the chances are that you are going to fail. The difference between someone who succeeds and someone who does not is how one reacts to the situation. The second component is to be a “forever student. ” John F.
Kennedy defined this perfectly when he said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. ” Whether we are working in our area of expertise, teaching someone else, or simply living there is always room for improvement. I believe that everyone has a story to tell and by listening we are exposed to a new perspective that changes the way we see things or strengthens our standing beliefs. This also ties in to the idea of not being an individual who settles. Being curious, asking questions, and purely just listening are some of the most essential habits a leader can have; they are the spark plug for creativity.
Components three and four are closely connected. To “be happy” and “have passion,” as previously mentioned, are two characteristics that are naturally intertwined with our personalities and functional needs. Often time’s leaders struggle with their conscious over taking the path that they are expected to take and the one that makes them happy. In a society where “time is of the essence” we as leaders must prioritize. Happiness is the key to what makes each of us tick and passion is the special ingredient that creates determination, energy, focus, and a servant heart.
I know that I am going to have more respect and admiration for an individual who is steadfast and passionate, regardless if their beliefs and priorities align with mine. The fifth and most personal component for me is to “take risks. ” Every situation we approach in life involves some sort of risk. Every decision, experience, action, goal, and emotion has both a positive and negative outlook. The final lines of a quote that has become my personal motto can best define this component: Risks must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person, who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, and is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn feel, change, grow, love, or live. Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave, he has forfeited freedom. Only a person who risks is free. As individuals who continue to strive for that leadership attitude, we have to be able to throw all cards down on the table, and continue to do it over and over if we ever expect any gain or satisfaction. Of course as the most challenging component, it is also the most important.
Ultimately is all boils down to the question of “did I give everything; do everything that I possibly could to make the outcome positive? ” If so, then regardless of the outcome, you have shown positive leadership. The leadership theories that best describe my personal philosophy are servant and authentic leadership. The life-changing experiences and memories that have had the most significant impact on my life are the ones that challenged me to become a better person and that came from the kindness of others.
I have seen firsthand how hard work, learning, happiness, passion, and taking risks can change one’s purpose in life and have learned that when we surround ourselves with those components and others who share them, it creates a positive chain reaction. I value the opportunity to live based on my personal values and firmly believe in leadership that is modeled to serve and benefit from each other. I have always believed that effective leadership encourages everyone to participate in the decision making process.
The effective leader is one who can clearly articulate the vision of the organization to all stakeholders in a meaningful and accessible way. The simplest way to describe my personal belief about effective leadership is that , “the (leader) needs to model what management researcher Robert Greenleaf called servant leadership- a philosophy that encourages collaboration, trust, foresight, listening, and ethical use of power and empowerment. ” (Krajewski, 2004). My mission is, as a leader and a follower, to empower those around me to use their natural alents to assist the organization as well as themselves. I believe that the foundation of effective leadership is personal integrity. My actions will serve as an example for others and will be based upon honesty, respect and fairness. I will keep my word and will treat people fairly and with respect for diversity and the rights of each individual. I will trust the members of my team to make sound, ethical decisions and I will guide and support them. I also aim to develop, through example, a learning community among my co-workers. As a leader, my goal is to be a collaborator.
Everyone has something unique to bring to the table. It is my hope that they environment that I co-create encourages awareness and cultivation of this authenticity. DePree (1989) defines leadership as follows: “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. ” References: . De Pree, Max. The Art of Leadership. New York: Doubleday, 1987. Leadership . Krajewski, Bob. . In Their Own Words. Learning From Urban Schools Pages 14-18. March 2005 | Volume 62 | Number 6
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