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Personal Leadership Profile Essay

The following pages consist of information about Leadership; I will have to admit I knew nothing about leadership and the many perspectives and ideas about Leadership and how to be an effective leader. I selected a Leader to study who is known as an effective leader and has made a difference in the world. Our world would not be the same if he had not made those choices to change his world that he lived in. I knew very little about the man that is known for his “radiant smile” and desired to know more about what caused him to be known throughout the world.

I had only heard that he spent years in prison and became the first Democratic President in his country. Throughout these pages you will read the analysis of my chosen Leader’s style of effective leadership through six perspectives: trait, behavioral, situational, and constitutive which includes two theories of transactional and transformational leadership, and global leadership. I have also included a comparison of my leadership style with this “Great Man” in each of the six perspectives. Before comparing myself, I thought, I could never stand in the same room with this man, and now I am comparing myself to him.

To my amazement, there is a significant learning experience that one can gain in comparing yourself with someone great like this man. I found out who I am, who I want to become and what improvements need to be made to become an effective leader, no matter how big or small our leadership role is, in this world, in our sphere of influence, “We are all Leaders”. I have concluded this paper with a personal leadership profile and a plan of leadership development that I will continue until I have become an effective Leader and have made a difference in my world, in my sphere of influence, in a positive and significant way.

Personal Leadership Profile The goal of my project is to examine the leadership qualities and practices of my selected leader and to also examine myself through a range of leadership perspectives. In the following pages I have examined six perspectives on leadership. I will conclude with a Personal Leadership Profile and a leadership development plan for myself. The name of my selected leader is Nelson Mandela. He was the first Democratic President in South Africa.

Before going into my research, I knew very little about Nelson Mandela, I noticed when great leaders were talked about his name was always included. What I do know, is that he was a leader in Africa and he spent 27 years in prison. I have also read many of his quotes that give me the impression that he has changed Africa and the world. One of his quotes that I paraphrased into my own words and I can relate to is when he said: I always look at the positive side of things versus the negative; being positive is always looking up towards the sun, and to keep moving forward.

There have been many trials when my faith in people was tested, but I did not despair or give up. When you give up you become defeated. (Mandela, N. 1995) I am also an optimistic person and look at the good in all things versus the bad. When you look at life through a positive lens you tend to live life in a positive way. In light of the definition of what effective leadership is, as I am learning what type of leader Nelson Mandela is, I see that he did help achieve the common goal. He influenced South Africa to continue to fight against injustice.

Throughout his time in prison he was still leading, this was a process of leadership that he led inside prison walls for 27 years. I believe this was an immense part of what made him effective as a leader, because he never gave up the fight in what he believed in; freedom against segregation also known as apartheid, for his people. The influence that he exercised over his followers was a positive process of developing trusting relationships with not only his followers but also with his enemies.

His relational process of leadership was transactional this type of social exchange uses followers in a more active role with the potential for influences going both ways. According to one of this week’s articles the transactional leadership model draws attention to the social exchange, or the “transaction” that happens between leader and follower. This type of leadership uses followers in a more active role with influences going both ways (Hollander, E. P. 1992). Nelson Mandela’s used his personal power which consisted of referent power and expert power.

He was respected and admired and had much knowledge and skills in dealing with people. My thoughts on the ethical point of view of Nelson Mandela’s leadership style would be linked to my own ideas about what constitutes ethical behavior. This is complicated because there are a variety of accepted philosophies for making ethical decisions as (Ciulla, J. B. 2005) states: utilitarian, rights, justice, common good, and virtue. In the case of Nelson Mandela his ethical leadership would fall under justice and the rights of his people that were taken away through apartheid.

The Traits Perspective As I studied this perspective, I learned that the term “natural born leader” is not just an expression but an absolute truth. As I researched Nelson Mandela and compared his traits to the Five Factor Model I believe some of these traits are placed in Leaders at birth or even at conception and others are learned. The Great Leaders that we study were born for the purpose of making a change to make the world a better place or just the opposite, to bring harm to humanity an example would be Adolf Hitler.

As I researched Nelson Mandela and his upbringing in Africa I was amazed what I discovered about him and the culture he grew up in. Nelson Mandela was born into segregation, also known as apartheid. His culture helped shape him into the Great Leader he is today. He was born in a small village in South Africa in 1918, into the Xhosa-speaking Thembu people. To this day, he is often called by his clan name “Madiba. ” In his clan he belonged to royalty and often listened in on the Leaders of his clan, this is where he learned by listening and watching (Mandela, N. 995). As I analyzed Mr. Mandela’s personal traits using the “Big Five” P. T. & L. , I see that he carries the qualities and strengths of the “Big Five”. I don’t understand why Neuroticism was in the Big Five because it shows that the score is Low for effectiveness. Nelson Mandela does not seem to carry any part of the definition of neuroticism which is a personality trait characterized by instability, anxiety and aggression, he seemed as though he was fearless and was often looked upon at times of distress or fear.

He was indeed fearful but he never showed his fear. He is Extraverted which helped him to become social, highly respected and loved by many throughout the world. He was a revolutionary full of wisdom, he was well educated in which he attained from his college education in law, this gave him the ability to open the first black law firm in South Africa. His educational background helped him to effectively lead people in the fight against apartheid through a legally formed African National Congress (ANC).

He was also open to experiences; his 27 years in prison taught him patience, endurance and developed him into an effective leader. In the area of conscientiousness his choice to overthrow the government through violence was not a responsible choice, but was highly effective; his reasoning was to get the attention of the government as he was standing up for the rights of his people. He once said: When people are not given the right to live a life that is just, honest and fair, he has no choice but to break these laws that are unjust.


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