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A Report on My Leadership Experiences: Reflection and Evaluation

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Leadership starts with getting to know ourselves and understanding our latent capacity. This includes finding out about our inclinations and styles and the manner by which this affects all parts of our lives, especially, the manner in which we work with and lead others (Carter, 2013). Self-realisation is important for any individual and is a potent leadership quality. When you start reflecting about yourself it helps to build emotional self-awareness and is the foundation of strong character, purpose, and authenticity. Its only when I take the time to question myself and understand who I am, not who the world thinks I am, that I am ready to lead. Knowing who I am, requires an accurate understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, values, beliefs, motivations, and desires. This report will reflect and evaluate two leadership incidents that occurred, outcomes learned from higher officials and my ability to lead. Also, lessons from my family and my previous work situations that have helped me embrace qualities to enhance my professional experience.

Parents, teachers and the society play a pivotal leadership role during our childhood. Their impact on our lives is eternal and passed on to multiple generations that follow. An important leadership skills that they possess is the ability to comprehend the reality of what is going on with both the person and the process through active and engaged listening and it does not stop with listening alone, an appropriate action is followed which contributes to an atmosphere of trust. There is a connection between parents and transformational leaders, transformational leadership gives advancement estimations to subordinates, so they can be free and skilled to arrive at self-acknowledgment with significant levels of moral quality, and it additionally advances care for counterparts, place of work, and general habitat. Moreover, parents are similar to leaders who lead, encourage, move, direct, assumes culpability, and are worried about their child, whose future is exceptionally reliant on them. It is the same reliance of children towards parents as a subordinate’s towards a superior.

We learn and develop leadership qualities from our parents such as self-esteem, planning, problem-solving, decision making, risk taking, zest, compassion, sociability, motivation, determination, integrity, effective communication, team building, emotional stability, responsibility, respect for others and self (Field, 2019). My familial situation urged me to awaken the leadership qualities in me and lead my family, after my elder brother moved out of our home in unexpected circumstances.

We are a family of 7, my parents and 5 siblings including me, stayed together. The incident took place a few years before I got married, my dad’s company had labour issues and hence he lost his full-time position but took up temporary jobs to provide for our family. My elder brother also started working right after school to help him out. Since our family’s income was low, making ends meet proved a constant struggle. So, as the second born I was also compelled to find a job after my diploma, in order to give my younger sibling chance at a proper higher education. We had just managed to move into a slightly bigger two-bedroom rented house, as my brother’s income was a great support and quite substantial. We were so dependent on his income, that he put us in a tight spot by leaving the house suddenly, my parents were devastated because we had just moved in based on his assurance, we hadn’t even paid the first month’s rent yet… and he had abandoned us. The sister after me, seeing us struggling decided to look for a job as well. So, we as a family decided that atleast our youngest sister fulfil her dream of becoming a nurse. We encouraged and registered her in a nursing college, by taking a high interest loan towards her studies and my younger brother was still in school. I was forced to take the lead and give my family a good life, I had to encourage myself to be emotionally stable and to make the right decisions while also comforting my parents and siblings. We succeeded as a team in the end. All of us 4 siblings managed to graduate and we have a nurse in our family, all the while working tirelessly to stay afloat and still live with happiness and dignity.

The Path-Goal Theory is about how leaders inspire subordinates to achieve objectives. It underlines the connection between the leader’s style, the qualities of the subordinates and work setting (Northouse, 2013). My parents and I were under immense pressure because of my brother’s unexpected decision, leaving my family devastated for lack of a contingency plan. My aunt motivated me and my family and I was directed to lead. I became a supportive leader, for my parents and siblings, with the goal to help my siblings have a better future and create a peaceful and happy life for parents. I had to overcome my insecurities, take up new challenges and create a relationship based on trust and reliability with the hope of a better tomorrow. My siblings worked hard alongside me and we cleared all of our loans. I brought stability to my home and my parents were and still are living comfortable lives. I was able to identify how corporates experience similar incidents. Subsequently, situational approach to leadership relies on the present circumstance and which sort of leadership and techniques are most appropriate to the job at hand, the best leaders are those that can adjust their style to the circumstance and take a gander at signs, for example, the kind of job, the type of gathering, and different elements that may add to taking care of business (Northouse, 2013). This situation taught me to handle pressure, to motivate, be responsible, accountable, flexible in adapting to change and situations, to be determined in achieving the goal by working together as a team and most of all to be courageous.

The aspect that differentiates learning organization from other associations is the dominance of certain essential order. The five that Peter Senge recognized are supposed to join creative learning associations. They are frameworks thinking, individual expertise, psychological models, building common vision and team learning (Kleiner, Smith, Roberts, Senge & Ross 2011). Watching my sister and I working tirelessly towards the improvement of our familial situation proved to be motivational for our youngest siblings to step up and share the responsibility. Even though I was the leader, I did not make all the decisions, I always involved my parents and siblings, so that we could collectively learn from each other’s unique work situations aided by the incomparable experience of my loving parents. We communicated openly to each other in a way that built trust and were ready to accept feedback to achieve the best outcome (Dirks, 2000). I learned the importance of communication and trust in organizations and witnessed in my work experience how communication and trust play a very vital role.

I joined a start-up renewable energy company located in Chennai (India) in 2008, it was here that I developed my knowledge in formation of new teams, how to apply experiences into leadership opportunities, and geocentric methodology. It was an open plan office, affiliated to a German and Chinese company. My duties entailed making travel plans, administration coupled with general HR activities. Even though I had prior experience in another company, it was at this company that I was exposed to team building and team work, working with a diverse group of people, I had the chance to test my individual strength, morals, values and positivity. Since I was heading the administration, I unravelled many things that were against the company’s policy and addressed it with the top management, after attempting to resolve it with the people concerned directly, without any change, this caused a lot of problems for me, but I stood my ground, stuck by my values and was true to myself and the company. When, I knew that it was not a place for me any more I quit. My cultural background also became a reason for prejudice at my workplace because I was an Anglo-Indian and in their interpretation of my culture, assumed they could take advantage of me, but I stayed strong and proved them wrong. The idea of having an open plan office was to remove barriers of interaction with each other and with top management, but it also had some disadvantages, where one had to put up with a lot of noise and distractions, which at times didn’t help one to focus on our work. I was called the `iron lady’ by my co-founder but to the others I still was a very reserved person.

According to Galbraith, & Webb (2013), the five stages of team development are: “ forming, Storming, norming, performing, and adjourning” the initial stage represents conflict and contradiction among the individuals about their jobs, stage two is group advancement, described by intragroup conflict, the third stage connections and togetherness is created, when the team is completely functional is termed the performing stage and lastly break up of group. Part of my responsibility was to arrange a two day tour for our head office staff and family, I had to make all arrangements required along with the coordination of the Head of HR, it was a memorable event for all of us. Initially there was a lot of struggle in terms of getting people’s consent, a lot of conflict arose when deciding about a venue. I had to work with different teams to ensure that everyone was satisfied with the agenda that we formulated. Finally, we had all head office staff visit our biomass plant, along with their family members, following a day tour to a nearby hill station. We arranged a lot of fun activities to make every one feel comfortable and have a happy tour, the feedback we received post the programme was positive. Initially, I felt little difficulty in answering everybody and at times was a little conflict, but my personal capability to motivate people, solve internal conflict and eagerness to achieve the goal, made it possible in getting them all to work towards the agenda and everything went well as planned without any delays because everybody cooperated and made it a success and hence a memorable time for the entire team.

In the recent years, the expanding number of mergers, joint endeavors and strategic collaborations bring individuals from unique societies and various sorts of associations together. Hence, in the twenty first century leaders have gotten increasingly worried about managing variety in the organizations (Yukl, 2001). Workplace diversity is the range of differences among people within an organization. Our company was an exceptionally diversified organization, operating in a domain with individuals who thought differently, from various backgrounds and experiences, and who were capable of dealing with issues from very different perspectives yet work successfully together as a `team’. There was a Board of directors with chairs filled by members with various profiles with connections in other countries for their business. This gave me the opportunity to experience working with a diverse group of people and since it was a start-up company, everyone was like family. However, as the company started to expand, people who were employed from the beginning took advantage of that familial freedom and corrupted it, which gave rise to conflict and an eventual division started to occur among the once close-knit team.

In New Zealand, my experience so far, has been different. Though I have extensive experience in the corporate world dealing with diverse individuals, multi-nationals and uniquely challenging situations, I struggled initially when I reached ‘The land of the long white cloud’. Thankfully, EIT arranged for an orientation programme for the students, which helped us gain clarity and provided comfort to troubled nerves. The curriculum includes group assignments that help us work with different people, collate ideas, inorder to bring out the best in our reports, as well as recognize individual merit and effort as well. Therefore, while individual talent is highly appreciated, it also motivates people to successfully work in groups, which again is equated to a reward. I am surrounded by the same ethic at the place I presently work as well. Responsibility is delegated to all; effort is rewarded and bias is extinct. This truly is a very friendly, warm and welcoming society.

Leadership is only a little about yourself and alot about those individuals around you. You need to search within yourself to make an external impression. One needs to understand that to continue being recognized as a leader, one needs to continue procuring it (Jooste, 2004). Learning is a continuation in the scale of life by which we can increase our individual improvement proficiently as well as personally too, likewise leadership founded upon learning could enable outstanding success to the organization and hence the society as a whole. 

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