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Leadership can be defined in many different ways and have different meanings to different people. My definition of a leader is someone who can gain followers without using force, and with the use of motivation. A leader is someone who is passionate about what they do and wants to spread this passion with a group of people who share a common goal. To me leadership isn’t about focusing on what I want and then getting people to help me do it.
I want everyone’s voice from the group to be heard. A leader should care about followers and treat them with respect. As a leader I have big goals and will help motivate my followers so we can all achieve those goals together. To help identify which leadership theory best resonates with me I thought about my personality type. In my true colors test I tested very strongly towards gold, which I think suits me very well. Like other golds, I am very organized, rule-orientated, and straight-forward.
Aside from being gold, my next highest tested color was blue.
I also think the color blue is an accurate description of who I am; I care about other people’s emotions and will often put them before myself. This color combination is very odd, but I think accurately describes my leadership style. Like the golds, I like to set different goals for my people to follow and help everyone get each little task done so we can all handle the big goal together.
On the other hand, I also care very much about the people I am serving and like to try my best to motivate and inspire them in any way possible. Learning these things about myself in class is what helped me define myself as a transformational leader. By understanding that I am very goal orientated but also care about others’ emotions, I found that transformational leadership perfectly describes my definition of a leader and the type of leader I strive to be.
Transformational Leadership Theory was created by Bernard Bass and focuses on vision, shared values, and beliefs. A transformational leader wants to bring about a significant change in the community, and does so with constant motivation. “Transformational Leadership: Becoming an Inspiring Leader” written by the Mind Tools editorial team, lists four basic steps in becoming a transformational leader. The first step is to create “an inspiring vision of the future.” In this step of the process, it is the job of the leader to come up with the big goal they want everyone to share. The next step is to “motivate people to buy into and deliver the message.” This is where a lot of the motivation begins in being a transformational leader.
The leader must motivate and inspire followers towards the shared common goal. Step three is to “manage the delivery of the vision” by giving followers set goals every day that will eventually lead up to the big final goal. This also requires lots of enthusiasm and attention to your followers so that everyone is highly motivated and prepared to reach the long-term goal. The last step in becoming a transformational leader is to “build ever-stronger, trust-based relationships with your people” (Transformational). To me, this is the most important step of becoming a transformational leader and is why I like to think of myself as this type of leader. In this step you really focus on the people. I believe that every leader should take the time to make sure that their people are happy and on the right track to reach their own goals. As a leader you should build trust with your followers and gain long term relationships with them as well. Transformational leadership is all about having lots of passion and dedication towards your cause, which is why I believe this is the leadership theory that resonates best with me. When I find something that I am interested in and really care about, I quickly build a strong passion towards it.
A great example of this is demonstrated by my passion for cancer research. My grandpa died of leukemia and my grandma is a breast cancer survivor. They are my motivation for participating in Relay for Life every year at my school. I find people who have this same passion with me and we all join our school’s relay team together. I set the standards for my friends by raising lots of money and receiving lots of local donations. I then use this to motivate them to do the same and to reach their own goal. In addition to showing leadership in Relay for Life, I also act as a transformational leader through the LEAD scholars Knight-thon team. As I became interested in Knight-thon I soon fell in love with the cause and built a strong passion for what it’s all about. Officer positions opened up, I quickly responded, and soon I became our team’s motivational chair. I have already raised over $200 and use this to motivate my teammates to start reaching towards their own goals too.
Relating this back to the steps of being a transformational leader, I have already set my vision and motivated people towards my vision. Now to manage the delivery of the vision, I am motivating all of my fellow team members to reach their own goals, which all contributes to our goal as a team. Overall, “through the strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders are able to inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions, and motivations to work towards common goals” (Cherry). Leadership is all about having passion for what you do, and using that passion to motivate and inspire others to do the same. With that being said, I believe in everything transformational leadership is about and use it to help guide myself as a leader. I love to build connections with my followers and to help motivate them all towards the same common goal. I love having passion for what I do and using that passion to help others reach the same goal as me.
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