The following Personal Leadership Development plan outlines my current strengths and challenges in regard to leadership characteristics, a specific SMART goal and a plan to achieve it. I determined my focus by rating my proficiency in leadership characteristics with a table that outlines my traits. I then analyzed my leadership characteristic proficiency in terms of my insights from EBS University’s Social Styles Assessment, George Manning’s Personal Analysis of Leadership exercise and various sources from throughout the course. While doing so, I investigated how my social style and communication styles impact how prepared I am to lead a team. After that, I created a goal based on how I see my future self. Next, I considered how specific course content has helped me address my challenges thus far, determined milestones outside of the course that are going to help me succeed and outlined the steps I need to take to complete the entire goal. Finally, I determined how to measure my success.
Social Styles Assessment
Table 1 illustrates how well I embody leadership characteristics. According to my results from the assessment designed by EBS University (2018), I am a perfect balance of the four leadership styles: amiable, driver, expressive and analytical. The facets I utilize from the amiable and driver styles are, respectively, concern for others and vision. The two facets are highly functional in tandem. Since I have a high concern for others, I prioritize establishing trust with my team members (EBS University 2018). As Patrick Lencioni (2002) illustrated in his book through the character Kathryn, I cultivate bravery in team members by focusing on establishing a sense of trust as it supports everyone feeling safe to be vulnerable (Lencioni 2002). I then facilitate conversation that challenges team members to determine each person’s strengths and how they can be developed. I also embody Kathryn as she implemented the theory that, insofar as a leader creates the opportunity for employees to ask questions and express opinions, she will be rewarded with their creativity and commitment (Lencioni 2002). Consequentially, others buy into my vision. Additionally, according to my Personal Analysis of Leadership, I am willing to delegate duties to others which gives team members a sense of ownership in the project (Manning 2014). From there, my conviction encourages others to continue being invigorated by the vision (Manning 2014). Evidently, I multiply my leadership effectiveness by guiding teamwork (Manning 2014). While leveraging strengths helps me to achieve my goal, I also need to address challenges that limit my leadership proficiency.
My difficulties stem from exhibiting specific traits from the expressive and analytical styles. My tendency to be spontaneous creates conflict with others who are motivated by predictability and a sense of security (Manning 2014). Leah Georges (n.d.) reminded me to take a more individualized approach to each situation and adjust if needed to meet others where they are at. However, while adjusting my own behavior, I need to be gentle with myself as my analytical tendency to be self-critical leads to low self-confidence. It makes it hard to gain respect from others. My tendency to be self- critical also results in me struggling with letting go of what needs to be given up in order to move on, which is a necessary part of moving along in the stages of change (Manning 2014). Clearly, I need to address my challenges in order to move forward.
Although, in the midst of my growth process, my high concern for others does positively contribute to having quality communication. Since I am focused on other people, I am observant of their nonverbal cues in difficult conversations. The same concentration contributes to my strength in demonstrating genuine interest by nodding and verbally reciting the speaker’s content (Lyon n.d.). I am also strong at giving genuine positive feedback that is specific to a person’s behaviors (Forward Focus n.d.). With my strengths in mind, it is also important to understand my challenges.
My lack of self-confidence restricts my charisma that is crucial to influence people (Manning 2014). The lack of self-confidence is objectively evident in difficult conversations, as I struggle to place my finger tips together instead of nervously rubbing my hands together (Lyon n.d.). Further, due to my lack of ability to be detail oriented, I decide what others are saying as soon as I gather the main idea. Then, I interrupt people and finish their sentences for them. Additionally, due to my instability, I have a reactive tendency as my emotions escalate during difficult conversations. It is challenging for me to implement Solomeh Diaz’s (n.d.) advice to detect that I am becoming aggressive and take a pause. Lencioni’s (2002) character Kathryn modeled it well by waiting to handle moments of truth face to face, selecting a difficult conversation space at a place that seems to make people slow down, trying not to overreact, taking a breath and smiling, being calm and confident, choosing words carefully, asking questions if caught off guard, clarifying, and continuing to speak in a measured tone. My learning goal addresses my shortcomings in communication amongst other elements.
Focusing on my personal development is going to prepare me well to lead other people. In a year from now, I see myself being a quality leader who has a high proficiency in specific leadership characteristics. I want to increase my ability, resilience, stability and self-confidence. In terms of ability, I see my future self as detail oriented. In terms of resilience, I see my future self as patient. In terms of stability, I see my future self as responsive rather than reactive. In terms of self-confidence, I see my future self as someone who supports herself. Insofar as I enhance my proficiency in the four leadership characteristics, I will be equipped to lead a team.
I created a SMART goal focused on achieving milestones that will improve my proficiency in the four leadership characteristics as a prerequisite for successfully leading a team. My SMART goal is to achieve milestones in the next 12 months that will improve my ability, resilience, stability and self-confidence so that I can effectively lead a team to create a quality, functional website of my writing portfolio. Strengthening my ability by becoming more detail oriented is going to empower me to better connect with my web developer, as people with the analytical-dominant social style tend to gravitate towards professions in the computer programming arena (EBS University 2018). While delegating tasks to the web developer, I need to take time to answer all of their questions about structure and guidance (EBS University 2018). Additionally, having resilience will empower me to overcome obstacles, which may be interpersonal or related to production logistics, as well as maintain a positive attitude and not give up. Considering that employees experience an attitude trough as a natural part in the stages of change, I need to be able to lead my team through the difficult time period by modeling positive actions and being patient (Manning 2014). Additionally, being stable will enable me to build rapport and trust with my team which is vital to maintaining a sense of safety in a group dynamic (Sinek 2014). I will be able to stay grounded in the face of difficulty and serve as a reliable anchor that the rest of my team can turn towards when issues arise. Finally, self-confidence is going to be crucial to have respect from the team while making key decisions and recognize my capability to succeed.
The material in the second half of the course also supported me in closing the gap between where I currently am and where I aim to be. For instance, to become more detail oriented, I used the course as a great opportunity to thoroughly understand how to have a sound incentive program. My attention to detail affirmed my logic in closely studying the topic as I learned that poorly devised incentive plans run the risk of decreasing moral which causes productivity to plummet. For instance, if the incentive program is too rigid, it may cause employees to fear authority and feel anxious or overly guilty about making mistakes and restrict innovation. Instead, a quality incentive plan establishes direction and clarity of assignment insofar as the management team asks how it can help employees do a great job. From there, it determines new performance objectives, quality standards, and completion dates. Essentially, it provides the foundation on which individual and group performance can be developed (Manning 2014). My detailed understanding of the material confirmed my decision to keep collaboratively creating and reviewing incentive programs as milestones in the plan.
While interacting with team members, in order to be more responsive rather than reactive, I need to see resolving conflict as a challenging opportunity to put everything on the table in a strategic manner (Dubrin 2007). The discussion about teamwork and conflict helped me learn how to air my own and other people’s grievances in a calm manner. I found the way Lencioni’s character Kathryn distinguished tension from conflict particularly useful. Tension continues to be in the air insofar as leaders are afraid to have difficult conversations (Lencioni 2002). Instead, having conflict at team meetings creates a shared, safe space for ideas to be brought to the surface.
In order to be more self-confident, the stages of change discussion helped me learn how to be supportive to myself and empathetic towards my teammates throughout the process of any sort of necessary adaptation. From the get go, Jason Clarke (n.d.) suggested to be upfront about the change by communicating about it with the team before implementing it as it’s a strategy to lessen anxiety and speed up acceptance. Additionally, he recommended holding space for the negative, interesting and positive perceptions of the change. He also emphasized the need to establish a strong sense of purpose and outline ways to change how the employee is contributing to the purpose so that the change directly impacts them. These tactics are going to support me thrive through the attitude curve and stay in the project.
In order to become more patient, my final tool from the course is the advice from Simon Sinek (2016) to simply focus on staying in the game. Stability is so important considering that leadership is an infinite game. The objective is to use stability to keep the game in play. I have already experienced this as part of my training to complete the half marathon. I found that, insofar as I focus on my breath keeping me alive in the training sessions, I can keep playing the game to achieve my milestone. According to Sinek (2016), it’s the leaders that organize their resources and decision making around the infinite contest that frustrate and outlast their competition. My next set of milestones in Table 2 is going to put me in a well-equipped position to handle all sorts of curveballs that may be thrown at me once it is time to officially step into the leadership role. Until then, in order to achieve my end goal, I simply need to stay on track. Then, as I gain experience as a leader, I will view failure as the opportunity to begin again, only more educated (Manning 2014). While I did not yet meet my personal learning goal, I see myself achieving it. I look forward to applying all types of lessons to grow along the way.
Measurement of Success
The initial self-analysis section of the plan taught me that, insofar as I address the leadership characteristics I need to improve upon, I can effectively guide a group of people in any sort of project. Considering so, in order to achieve my goal, I need to achieve 100% of the milestones. Insofar as I thoroughly complete my milestones, I will effectively lead the project team. The quality of my leadership will determine the quality of my website and achievement of my overall goal.
The focus of this paper was to leverage self-awareness to plan how to achieve a specific goal in the future. Through Table 1, I clarified I am highly proficient in vision and concern for others, have medium proficiency in resilience and ability, and have low proficiency in stability and self-confidence. From there, I analyzed Table 1 based upon the social style assessment from EBS University. My results indicate that I am a perfect balance of the four personalities. Being able to utilize facets across multiple styles is better than having a singular style in that it empowers me to have two traits from different styles working in tandem which enables me to resonate with a wide range of individuals. However, without a dominant style, considering that there is also potential to clash with a wide range of individuals, it is essential that I dive into my self-knowledge so that I can fully address my challenges. That said, I also noted how the insights from the Personal Analysis of Leadership exercise are useful in the context of my personal learning goal. Additionally, I learned that observing nonverbal cues in others is a useful strength that I hold that stems from my high concern for others. At the same time, the communication skills I struggle with are due to my lack of proficiency in the self- confidence, ability, and stability leadership characteristics. I learned that the way I communicate with individuals matches up with my strengths and room for further development in my leadership style and informs my proficiency in the leadership characteristics. That said, my current nonverbal and verbal facets are insufficient; however, following my plan and achieving my goal is going to result in a changed status to sufficient. I appreciate that the course provided the opportunity to identify the gaps between where I am now and where I want to be, as well as contained content that supported me in beginning the process of doing so. I learned it is crucial for leaders to constantly be looking for opportunities to achieve personal growth milestones so that they can effectively lead their teams for the long run.
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