An effective leader must have a plan for success. This includes a personal plan of growth as well as a professional plan for improvement. This paper will attempt to highlight my personal strengths and weaknesses as leader, identify the areas needed for improvement, and identify the leadership skills and practices that I will use to become an effective leader. This paper will also give an outline of the goals that I consider a priority and a timeline for this development. The overall result will be an inclusive leadership plan of development that I will use to grow myself as well as any organization that I work for in the future. The assessments in the text allowed clear insight into areas pertaining to my leadership skills. Each assessment challenged me to look within and theorize how I currently handle or would handle different situations. Each scenario highlights real world applications that exhibit the type of leader that I desire to be. This is mostly done by exposing my areas of strengths and weaknesses in my leadership abilities.
An effective leader should be able to draw on his or her strengths to better lead their subordinates. I am able to identify many areas where my strengths are. For instance, I am highly organized. Organization is a key aspect of being an effective leader. I have always found it easier to manage my day when I have a to-do-list that I follow. This allows me to clearly the see the tasks that need to be completed for the day. Following the list gives order to an otherwise chaotic situation. My subordinates will be able to look to me to provide clear instructions on the day’s tasks that need to be done. This can include giving meeting agendas, personal goals and follow up emails. This type of organization will keep goals and tasks in line. I will apply this same type of structure in the organization that I am leading. Employees will respond better when working with a leader that provides clear instructions. This can range from providing meeting itineraries to giving follow up emails that ties together all the information presented.
Having tangible and well organized material can help others to work towards the same goals. I will work with my subordinates to formulate and achieve their personal goals. Other strengths that I exhibit include being structured, responsible, articulate, task-oriented, determined, confident, effective planner, visionary, and possessing the ability to manage resources effectively. Being structured allows me to set parameters that we can all work within to achieve the overall company goals. Structure builds bonds and a sense of cohesiveness in the workplace. This type of unity will be necessary for the success of the organization. We can all work towards common goals if clear goals are outlined for everyone. The other strengths will all work together as well.
Combining these skills will allow me to have followers that are knowledgeable and eager to embark on the journey to achieving the company’s goals. This will involve utilize my resource management skills effectively as well. This simply involves fully using the resources I have in a healthy way. Each one has something different to contribute and I should embrace and encourage these differences so that each one will feel that they are valuable. These positive attributes will enhance the work relationship that I have with my subordinates because they will see that they are following someone who is knowledgeable and capable of leading. It is my hope that these same qualities I posses will be mirrored in those that I lead in order to secure the success of the organization that we represent.
Through reading the text and completing the assessments I was able to find my weaknesses as well. Knowing and acknowledging my weaknesses can only serve to make me better in my position. I am able to see the areas where work is needed so that I can lead effectively. Some of the areas where improvement is needed include expanding administrative skills, working on interpersonal skills, and improving self-confidence. Because I tend to lean heavily on tasks and less on relationships I may find it difficult to enlist the trust of my subordinates. I have issues with relating to them on a level beyond a work relationship.
It has been difficult in the past to keep those lines clear and maintain that position of authority without sacrificing getting to know them as an individual. This is an area that I will work to improve on. The text highlights a personal style of relationship-oriented. This refers
to connecting with people rather than seeking out tasks (Northouse 2012). Lack of self-confidence can be a result of not be as knowledgeable in certain areas. The feelings that others have more training or education that I have leads to feelings of anxiety which translates in displaying a level of lower esteem for myself. This preconceived notion that others are superior and I am sometimes inferior can be the reasoning behind my interpersonal skills as well. Areas for Improvement
Any good leader should be able to outline areas where improvement is needed. This will allow me to work to better myself so that I can be effective in leading. I have been able to identify several areas where improvement is needed in order for me to be a successful and effective leader. These areas for improvement include: communication skills, interpersonal skills, confidence, focusing on relationships and not just tasks, and improving technical competence. Communication skills are necessary to get important information across to my subordinates. Often times the main source of office conflict is miscommunication. As a leader I should be able to clearly articulate important information that I need to get across to my subordinates. This can be in the form of writing or verbally.
Regardless of the method of communication it should be clear and well thought out in an attempt to keep down confusion and to ensure that all team members are on the same page. Interpersonal skills are people skills (pg89). This simply refers to the way that I interact with others. I must step outside of my comfort zone in order to strengthen these skills. A sincere approach must be made to highlight the person more and the task less. Each member of the team should be made to feel as if they are important. This comes with being in touch with my own feelings so that I am able to relate to the way that others are feeling as well.
The text refers to this insight as social perceptiveness. Social perceptiveness is being aware of what is important to others, how they are motivated, the problems they face, and how they react to change (pg 89). Technical competence involves having specialized knowledge about the work we do and ask others to do (pg88). This is vital to being an effective leader. I must know and understand everything about the organization before I envision change and set goals for followers. Being flexible and varied in my knowledge will aide me in improving in this area.
Goals for Improvement
Now that my strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvements have been outlined I can set goals for myself to expand on my strengths and work on my weaknesses. In the same manner that I will set goals for my followers I must set goals for myself as well. I have elected to focus on five main goals that I can work towards to develop my leadership skills. These goals include: improving communication skills, improving interpersonal skills, improving confidence, improving technical competence, and focusing on relationships more and tasks less. These goals are based on the areas of weakness that were exposed. Improving my communication skills will require me to first analyze how critical communication is to the success of my organization. There are several forms of communication. I will find myself utilizing a combination of communication avenues. One essential one of primary use will be verbal. My goal is to ensure that I am always well armed with knowledge so that I can always provide clear, concise, and correct information when questioned.
I will work hard to articulate clearly what my expectations are so that goals can be easily met by others. Achieving this goal will involve assessing possible communication barriers. These barriers can include non-verbal communicators and misinformation. I can remedy the uprising of these potential communication pit falls by carefully wording written text such as emails, memos, and letters. Spell checks are essential to this as well. I can have someone listen to my speeches and also proofread my works before I issue them out to the team. A lack of communication skills can greatly hinder any progress that my team may make. I will also work on giving receptive non-verbal ques. I must be aware of my tone when speaking to others to ensure they are receptive my instructions. To improve my interpersonal skills I will establish an open door policy so my followers will feel comfortable talking with me about matters that concern them. I must show that I care about them beyond the physical labor they provide to the company.
This goal coincides with the other area for improvement which is focusing on relationships and less on tasks. I must step outside of my comfort zone and find the necessary balance to ensure my followers feel valued. This can be done by simply engaging in non-work related conversations. I can also make small gestures such as recognizing their birthdays. These small steps will work towards improving the relationships that I have with followers. Improving confidence will be a challenging one. My goal is to improve in this area is a direct result of my goal to improve in my area of technical competence. My lack of confidence generally stems from not being as knowledgeable as I should be in all areas of my organization. There are feelings of apprehension which influences the manner in which I interact and convey information to others. I will work hard to study all areas of the organization. I will take special care to know the inner workings of the company.
When I am unsure I will ask for assistance. I can challenge myself to take additional courses that will provide much needed training to assist me in expanding on my knowledge in all areas of the organization. An increase in information can also be generated from manuals or attending seminars and meetings. I can take what I have learned and apply it to my job. When I am approached with a question from my followers I can confidently give an answer and feel assured that it is the correct information. To prepare for meetings where a speech is necessary I can boost my confidence by having notes or PowerPoint slides to display my information.
Being prepared in this way can help to alleviate any anxiety I might feel while giving my presentation. This change and growth to be a better manger will be ever-present. According to Marken, “If you want to build loyalty to you and your organization, your products and your goals, you have to constantly refine your leadership talents” (1999).This shows that this process will continue throughout my entire leadership career. I can take steps and set goals, but I must be willing to put in the work to be a better communicator and leader. This will keep my organization successful and will allow me to promote the skills of my followers.
Timeline for Development
My time line for this level of development is one year. I currently have the advantage of working under an amazing leader whom I know will nurture my plan for success. I will begin by taking each goal and setting individual time frames for them. Although most of my goals are intertwined I will want to take special care to follow an individualized plan for each. I would like to begin with what I view as the most difficult weakness to overcome. This weakness would be in the area of relationships. I would like to start formulating deeper relationships within the first few months of my leadership. The communication goal will be followed almost immediately. I view the others as being ongoing. I know that the skills will not make a complete change overnight, but I am willing to put in the required work to improve in each area. These improvements should be met before I am charged with the task of leading. I want to be well versed and properly trained in all areas before taking on that responsibility. I know that much will be learned in a hand on environment but I am striving to work through each issue before I am placed in charge of a team.
Most Effective Leadership Skills and Practices
There are several leadership skills that can be instituted in my day to day life to ensure that I am an effective leader. There were a few that appealed to me the most because I feel that they are very important skills for any leader to have. These skills are as follows: managing people, managing resources, problem-solving skills, and planning. Each skill can be implemented to ensure that I am properly leading my team to achieving its goals for the organization. Managing people requires patience and hard work. Each team member is unique. They each bring unique skills and varied personalities to the organization. By knowing and understanding this I am able to put each member in a position where they can work to their fullest potential. This provides self satisfaction and success for the company. I can work with each member to formulate an attainable goal that proves profitable for all involved in the process. Managing resources is a valuable skill as well.
The company looks to me to not be wasteful. I must be mindful of the resources that are available to me and utilize them a way that is productive to meeting the goals that I have envisioned for the group. This will come from properly monitoring supplies and work output. This can come in the form of finding other resources to get tasks completed within a particular time frame. According to the text, resources can include people, money, supplies, equipment, space, or anything else deemed necessary for the organization to function properly (Northouse 2012.) Being wasteful is counterproductive to achieving the organization’s goals. Effective planning is an important skill that can be instrumental in being an effective leader. Having a clear plan can enable me to manage my followers and resources more effectively. Planning will be a starting point for each task that I tackle. I can begin by knowing what it is that I want to achieve. This is also referred to as visioning.
Visioning is a metal model of an ideal future state (pg 109). Creating this vision will allow me to formulate a plan for everyone involved. Each team member can play an active role in planning the goals for the company. Written goals can be made and displayed as a daily reminder to each team member. I will work to ensure that the goals are unified. This can be deep hindrance to the growth of any organization. “ For an organization to be successful, every individual in the organization must think in terms of what each group values and how the impact of the decisions they are about to make, or actions they are about to take will have on various groups and this impacts maximizing organizational value over time” (Morris, 2000). Effective planning and communication can alleviate this disorder.
The best leadership practice to implement would be one that combines the leadership styles of authoritarian and democratic. The approach that I take will be dependent upon the readiness level of my followers. Each team member may need different directions if any. I must assess their levels and manage them accordingly. This is the only way to ensure that the goals set for each member can be attained. I will also monitor work performance and provide feedback in areas of strengths and weaknesses.
An effective leader will be able to realize that everyone is different and therefore my leadership style must be flexible. This paper has presented a detailed leadership development plan. I have outlined my areas where improvement where needed as well has highlighted my strengths and weaknesses. In doing this I was able to identify goals and a timeline for achievement. It is my hope that by completing this assessment and formulating a plan that I am able to fully institute it and become an effective leader that any organization or company would be happy to employ because the team will be well led.
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