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Throughout my life, I’ve always been taught to focus on my weakness rather than strength. As a child, while I do get praises for all the A’s I have gotten on many subjects, the B on math was what my parents focused on as they had to immediately hired a tutor to turn that B into an A. Fast forward to when I’m in the work force, during annual review, while my supervisors also praises me on all the achievements and the positive attitudes I have at work, it was always more important to focus on the area that I can improve on. All my life, I’ve learned that in order for me to become a better person, I should focus on improving my weakness in order to turn that into a strength because a strength is something that I’m already good at, so there is no point to do anything more about it. Therefore, it was very interesting for me focus on analyzing my strengths for once because not only did I discovered that many of the traits that I see as a weakness turns out to be a strength, but I also found that it’s much more beneficial to focus on my strength and continue working on it then just focusing on my weakness.
According to Rath and Conchie (2008), awareness of own strength is needed in order to lead affectively because we lose self-confidence if we can only focus on our weakness; and self-confidence is definitely needed in our for our followers to not only have confidence in us as a leader but also instill confidence in themselves as well. Therefore, in order to gain more awareness of my own strength, SBLA was taken and my strengths are listed under four domains.
According to the SBL guide, leaders with strength in this domain are the people that work tirelessly to “make things happen” and they are the “go-to” person when things need to get done. The two strengths I have under this domain are achiever and restorative under this domain. As an achiever and restorative, I work hard and make diligent effort to achieve goals and accomplish as much as possible. I also work alongside others in order to establish relationships and serves as an inspiration and “rock” to other and because of this, people show appreciation and trust that I ‘ll be able to solve problems an put thing in order for them. I’ve been working at my job for four years now and I have always been known as the “go-to” person for everything. Whenever patients or staff has any questions, they always come to me first because they trust my ability to take care of everything. In fact, when the program development manager needed to ask the staff questions about how to improve the unit, they all directed her to me and it made her think that I was actually the program director (PD). Another reason that made me become the “go-to” person is because I work long and sometimes unpaid hours in order to get things done and if I see that others are struggling to finish their work, I usually volunteer to assist them in finishing their task. It is because of this that I ended up doing three positions on my own as rehabilitation aide, staffing coordinator and program secretary and it is also because of this that recently, they asked me if I would like to become the PD instead of a social worker of the unit after the graduation because they believe in my ability to make this a better and more functional unit that it is now. Although, I do appreciate my restorative ability and as an achiever, however, I do see the negative side of being an achiever and that is my inability to become satisfy of my achievement as I keep looking for ways to make bigger and better achievers and that is also one of the reason why I taken up three positions at the same time.
Influencing is being identified as someone who comes up with ideas, take charge and speak up for the benefit of the team inside and outside the organization (Rath and Conchie, 2008). Although I don’t have any strength listed in this domain, I do believe I have some of this quality and this is evident by my work as a staffing coordinator. When the PD continue to bring in admissions without acknowledging that there are lack of therapists to treat these patients and how burnt out the therapists are, I made it my duties to go to the PD and speak up for the therapists. I told the PD to stop admission and gained the approval from her to seek therapists from outside sources (which costs more money) in order to help out my fellow therapists. Since this gesture of mine only benefit the team inside the organization, therefore, I do believe that I don’t have the influencing quality in a broader spectrum.
Leaders with strength in relationship building have the ability to holds the team together and make them greater as a whole (Rath and Conchie, 2008). The two strengths I have under this domain are empathy and developer. Leaders who have empathy can sense the feelings of others, sometimes even prior to others recognize the feelings themselves; they respect the feelings of others and will attuned and positively reinforce the strength and achievement in others rather than their weakness. I believe that this strength of mine can be best shown through my internship as a bereavement counselor. Many times, I’m able to sense and recognize the emotions in my clients and there is always one emotion—anger that my clients failed to recognize for themselves but I’m able to sense it. While I do respect my clients for their frustration and anger and I do point it out to them and assisting them in recognizing and solving this feelings, I would also focus praise them for recognizing their emotions and how well they are doing amid all the strong emotions they feel
As a developer, I do good deed for the sake of others and I’m genuinely happy for the growth and development of others. Recently, a fellow intern becomes pregnant and for 3 group supervision in a row, she cried and expressed how difficult it is to deal with the grief of her clients while suffering from morning sickness. Seeing how much she was struggling, I offered to make more trips between offices in order to take over some of her clients. And when she finally feels better after the first trimester and how much more she feels empower now that her morning sickness is over, I was so happy for her that I gave her a hug and led the group in giving her applause.
Leaders with strategic thinking continue to learn, analyze information and assist the team in making better decision by focusing on the future (Rath and Conchie, 2008). As a learner in this domain, I have a great desire to learn and continue make improvement not only in myself but empower others to do so as well. When others tell me that I’m so good at doing one thing, such as staffing, I always tell them that I’m still learning on how to do things betters. At my field placement, I’m always learning new interventions and techniques by researching on my own and I share my findings so that others can benefit from it as well.
According to Craig and Gustafson (1998), PLIS is used to assess leaders’ ethical integrity; this is important because research has found a strong positive correlation between leaders’ integrity and employees’ job satisfaction. Through PLIS analysis, I scored as moderately ethical, which means I may engage in unethical behaviors under certain conditions. Looking over the questions in the assessment, the answers that placed me in the unethical category were because I care more about my fellow colleagues than the organization as a whole, which means that I would sometimes put my interests ahead of the organization’s.
During the strength bombardment exercise, I presented my partner a story about me reporting discrimination from my supervisor in group supervision to the manager at the bereavement department. While my partner provided me with a list of strength, such as empathy, caring, self-awareness, etc.; the one strength that surprised me the most was courage. I never seen myself as a courageous person; I reported this supervisor simply because I want to prevent this from happening to other present and future interns. Therefore, after this comment, I started to think back on other situations and I realized that it does take courage for me to stand up to a higher up, not only in this situation but when I stand up to the PD as well. I also realized that it definitely took courage for me to get back into graduate school.
According to Antonakis, Ashkanasy and Dasborough (2009), there are a strong connection between leaders’ emotional abilities and effective leadership; leaders with higher EI can more effectively develop collective goals, instill importance of work in others, generate and maintain enthusiasm, confidence and trust, encourage decision making and change and establish meaningful identity for the organization. Overall, my scores on the EI assessment are around the 3.5 range except a 4 in the self-regulation components, therefore, my personal competency score is 3.78 while my social skills is 3.38. I’m not really surprised on my score in the self-regulation, motivation, and empathy. I always know that I care a lot about the feelings of others to the point that I disregard my own feelings, and I’m also very aware of how my feelings and emotions will affect others, therefore, I’m really good at self-regulating myself and know allowing myself to show other that I’m upset or getting frustrated. For example, when others made fun of my accent, in order to not hurt their feelings by showing that I’m upset, I usually disregard it by laughing together with them. Therefore, it’s also not a very big surprise to me that I scored low on my social skills because many times I would chose to not initiate interaction with others, in order to avoid others any chances of making fun of me, either on my accent, my height or lack of knowledge in common things (I was once mock by others for not knowing what Antipasto is). However, while most of the components in the results doesn’t surprise me, my 3.6 score on the self-awareness category did surprise me because while I’m very aware of others’ feelings and how my emotions can affect others, I’m not very aware of our emotions. I also don’t have much self-confident and a strong sense of self-worth. One example of my lack of self-awareness is when it took my supervisor to show discrimination on three different occasions before I’m able to recognize how upset I was and how it has led to me avoiding making any comments during group supervision. As for lack of self-confident and sense of self-worth, I always think that I need to do more and better in order to gain recognition from others in order to feel confident which is one of the reason led myself to doing a 3 person’s job in the first place. My desire to do a 3 person’s job is also a sign of my lack of self-worth because I believe other people’s time are more important and valuable than mine, that’s why I should assist them in achieve bigger and better things.
Since I’m a little skeptical on my results from the EI assessment, I decided to ask 2 supervisors, 3 colleagues and my boyfriend to fill out the EI assessment of me. According to Vukotich (2014), 360 feedbacks are for individuals to receive an all-around performance feedback and compares to the individuals’ self-perception and the goal is for the individual to gain performance insights from different perspectives. I always believe that I am my own worst enemy and critics; therefore, I think the aim of 360 feedbacks is for me to recognize more on my strength instead of always focusing on my weakness. The results from the assessment of 2 of my supervisors and 3 colleagues are quite similar. I scored either a 4 or 5 in all the categories, which was surprising to me, especially in the self-awareness category. I never knew that I showed that much confidence and self-worth in front of others. I know that I always appear to be very confident especially on making decisions and clinically judgment, but the fact is, my supervisors and colleagues never knew how much research I put in before I’m able to make a decision, how long I contemplated for before I make a decision and how many times I second guess myself after making that decision. Although I scored myself the lowest in the social skills category but I’m not surprised that my supervisors and colleagues scored me high because I’m always very friendly and very caring towards them. I always listen to my supervisors and colleagues’ personal and professional concerns, and I would provide support, encouraging and any assistance I’m able to offer.
Due to the interesting results I got back from my supervisors and colleagues, I decided to have my boyfriend of 9 years complete this assessment because I believe that he knows me better than I actually know myself. The results from him corresponded with my own results, except he rated me much lower (score of 2) in self-awareness, which is very interesting as it is the complete opposite of how others perceive me. However, I’m not too surprise by his rating on my lack of self-confidence and self-worth because he’s the person I express these things to on a day to day basics and he’s the only one who will see me cry when I’m beating myself down because I don’t want my emotions to affect others.
Although people sometimes believe that a certain personality trait or strength is needed in order to become a leader, according to Low (2010), there is no evidence that any particular personality traits will make a good leader. Looking into the literature of leadership, one will find that different leaders possess different traits and characteristics. Through different assessments, I was able to gain a better idea of what my strengths are as a leader. However, I do believe that there are strengths of mine that are unidentified, as well as strengths that I would like to have; these will be discussed in Table A. The summary of my net core strengths will be discussed in Table B, and my developing and augmenting strengths will be listed in Table C.
Through this analysis, I learned two very interesting points about my strengths. First were the differences between how I perceive myself and how others perceive me. I never realized how much of a mask I actually put on in front of others by presenting myself as confident while I am actually not. Although in some ways this is deceptive, I still see it as a strength in leadership. This “fake it until you make it” attitude is sometimes necessary in order for others to have confidence not only in me but also in themselves. Another interesting point I have learned is balance. For example, while empathy is a great leadership trait, too much empathy can definitely hinder a leader, because when one focuses too much on the feelings of others, they sometimes disregard their own. This is the same as being an achiever; while having the drive to achieve is good, if one continually strives to achieve without feeling a sense of accomplishment, it will drive their confidence level down. Therefore, finding a balance between each leadership strength is very important, because if I do not, a strength of mine can become a weakness in the end.
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