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A personal evaluation of strengths is a tool that must be understood to effectively lead people. An effective leader must know how to reach goals by motivating the team. There are many strengths that translate to leadership styles used to motivate teams. Identifying and using a formal Leadership style will aid in becoming an effective leader. Using one’s own strengths while leading comes natural for most. Weaknesses need to be mitigated with actions to gain results. The purpose of this paper is to explain the exploration and evaluation of my personal leadership style, explore leadership strengths, identify weaknesses and in turn set timely goals for accountability as a leader.
According to the Clifton Strengths Assessment, success is dependent on five signature themes that can be used to identify strengths to improve overall personal performance. Clifton Strengths assessment is something that I completed a few years ago as well as for this program. I compared my results and they were very different. I believe that my strengths have changed due to professional development, leadership experience as well as maturing my emotional intelligence. I was not surprised by my findings. My top five strengths in order are significance, command, responsibility, focus and input. I have always wanted to be significant. I am not sure if I was that way by nature or by child hood circumstance however, since a young age, I wanted to be recognized for my accomplishments. I thrived as a young mother, wife, business owner and then currently as a registered nurse leader. I used my independence to quickly move up the career ladder in Nursing, by becoming a young leader. I really thrive on achievement and recognition. In my professional life, I enjoy being recognized for my success. Working is a pleasure for me and I spend a lot of time focused with my professional responsibilities. I am proud when people respect me and enjoy my network of like minded individuals.
From a young age, it has felt natural to take charge. Command is easy for me. I was a latch key kid, that had a lot of personal responsibility by age 6. As an adult, I feel well versed in taking charge of situations. I use command to have a bit of control over the way something can affect me. I am quick to form opinions and make decisions. When I encounter conflict, I quickly confront the situation for a quick resolution, so that I can move forward timely and not look back. Honesty and clear expectations are strong values for me. I like setting expectations with teams and clear goals with a plan to execute. Honesty is my best policy. I have been known to have been called bossy at times but I am usually the first to volunteer and have a real go for it attitude. I live by the code that I am only as good as my word. I take responsibility extremely serious. I am the first to jump in first, but when I make a promise to deliver or commit to a deadline, that is hard and fast for me. I do not make excuses. I can not accept loose ends. When I have a goal, I must deliver. I have been known to take on too much responsibility from time to time.
I am extremely focused in my life. I often create check lists, revisit them, and prioritize daily. I do this both in my personal and work life. I am always trying to be the most efficient that I can. I really am proud about my time management and ability to accomplish so many things daily. I do not do well, when there is no purpose. I have to always be working towards something. Sometimes I steer away from activities that are not directly heading towards my goals. Input is the fifth identified strength. I consider myself well connected with a network of professionals and life experience. I enjoy traveling to many places, asking a lot of questions and volunteer to try things that I have never done. I use these experiences to make quick to make personal connections when interacting with people. It is a networking technique and ice breaker. I believe people can relate to me when I use this technique. Understanding and exploring all five Clifton Strengths significance, command, responsibility, focus and input, will help me in my action plan develop as a leader moving forward.
The definition of leadership that resinates with me is, a dynamic process, they mobilize to accomplish extraordinary goals, they use five practices: model inspire a shared vision, challenge, enable others to act, and encourage the heart (Aalateeg, 2017). It is important to note that everything is constantly changing. Goals, projects, company interests must change to stay relevant. Teams must be cohesive and adaptive to the greater goals of the organization. Transformation leadership style has been linked to increased job satisfaction and reduce attrition, it is a way to increase strength and relationships between the teams to higher standards. A transformational leader must lead the group into personal, professional development that aligns with the organizational goals. A transitional leader must have the employees interests and their acceptance to motivate the team to work toward the organizational goals.
My personal strengths directly relate to Transformational Leadership. Three that will be discussed are relationship building, honesty and and self reflection. There are many challenges with developing relationships. I spend time to get to know my coworkers, let them know that I care as well as value and respect them. According to Rolfe, relationship building is based on the leader acknowledging accomplishments, including them in decision making and giving them a voice are key to Transformational Leadership. Using the input strength as identified by Clifton, I effectively use my data base of relatable experiences to get to know people and build relationships. In turn I gain trust and can use this to motivate individuals towards the organizational goals, by working on forming task groups and committees. It is important that the people feel included in the decision making process and feel heard by a genuine ear that is open minded to their point of view (Rolfe, 2001).
Honesty is my best policy. Leaders must make difficult decisions that are in line with the organization’s strategic plan that aren’t always the popular choice to the team. It is usually part of the greater good for the organization. The impact to the team can sometimes not be in their perceived favor. It is important to collaborate and develop a plan within the parameters of the decision, with the team. This is when the leader must be honest with the team (Rolfe, 2001). Using honesty, and sharing pertinent details, will gain trust, foster open collaboration and important that this is done by sharing honest. Using the Transitional Leadership style, team collaboration based on leader honesty can help motivate the team to move towards the organizational goals.
Lastly, self reflection is one of the most powerful strengths. Leader self reflection helps me identify, where I stand with the goals and strategic plan of the organization. Transformational Leader visions must be recognized and aligned with the organization. Having an understanding of the reconciliation between where I stand and the organization will allow me to be lead effectively using the Transformational Leadership style. I can use this reconciliation to mitigate the differences between the organizational strategic plan and my own to lead the team towards the greater organizational goals and not my own.
With strengths, must come weaknesses. My own identified weaknesses include, being perceived as bossy, take on too many responsibilities and lack of structure in my leadership style. Being bossy is a weakness that is directly opposite of what a Transformational Leader is. Transformational Leaders are team builders, encouraging the team to be empowered to create change and grow professionally. But bossiness can destroy the leader, organization and the team. Bossiness and imposing the leader’s own views repeatedly, sabotages the organizational goals, demotivates people and decreases job satisfaction. Taking the command lead is important for Transformational Leadership, but must bossiness must be mitigated in order to be effective.
Taking on too much responsibility is something that I am very familiar with. I know that I have a hard time saying no. Transformational Leaders must delegate for success. They must build teams that are invested in the organizational goals. Preferred is the shared leadership concept, which is in line with Transformational Leadership. Controlling and micromanaging will destroy the leader and staff (Kerfoot, 2013). Taking control or all responsibility without delegation prevents group contribution. Great things can happen with there is team synergism. The third identified weakness is lack of structure for the team. According to Kerfoot, teams thrive with a team structure. A structure promotes democratic and participative planning by a trusted group, close to the Transformational Leader. This is a leadership tree which encompasses the Leader and group that manages the vision in turn reaches the greater team who are on the front lines.
The improvements of Leadership effectiveness will be dynamic and revisited by me as often as needed in the future. The weaknesses above discussed: Bossiness, taking on too much responsibility and lack of team structure are destructive to the Transformational Leadership effectiveness. Bossiness will not get me far in leadership. Instead of ensuing my ideas and direction, I must become part of the team. They need to view me as part of the group. I must work beside them to truly lead them. I need to understand their ideas and share common values, concerns and experiences.
Taking on too much responsibility will lead to fatigue and burn out. The work load must be delegated and the delegation is a very important action to improve my personal leadership effectiveness. I need to share the work load and have a better work life balance. By enlisting energized, accountable individuals, whom are working towards the goals of the organization, the pressure and stress of carrying the weight of all the projects on my shoulders will be relieved. Creating a team structure is an organizational tactic that leaders use to prevent being overworked, highly efficient and rewarded. Leaders who are too busy working are not free to complete the highest level tasks in turn damages team performance. The tasks and workload must be organized and assigned for maximum team productivity.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and bound to time. For the purpose of improving my leadership ability, I have decided to move forward with 2 short term SMART goals. The first goal is to create a team structure. This is a critical piece to the success of a Transformational Leadership team to move towards organizational goals. I will measure the progress of the structure by comparing it to similar leadership structures within my organization. This goal is attainable because, it is a tool that will enable the team to delegate tasks and responsibilities that are directed towards a common goal. The goal is relevant to my position as a manager, so I can set clear expectations of all team member roles to keep the team moving towards unit organizational goals. I will accomplish this goal by October 1.
The second SMART goal is to better understand the department work flow, so that I can have advanced knowledge when participating in unit change. To achieve this, I must work along side the team until I am comfortable with the processes. I will measure this by properly articulating the processes learned to the Charge RNs on the unit. This is attainable because, I will spend several hours until I feel comfortable with the processes. The goal is relevant to my job as the Manager of Operations. I will accomplish this goal by November 1.
Team structure is key for team performance. I will meet with my Director to obtain a copy of the umbrella of responsibilities for our Department. I will discuss with her and outline the responsibilities into a tiered leadership tree that cascades responsibility through the chain of command. This will include levels for Director, Manager, Two Clinical Supervisors, 4 Charge Nurses and an Educator. Once the structure is built, I will have a meeting to educate the team of the new structure. I will then implement and monitor. As a Manager of Operations, it is very important for me to understand and speak to the unit processes. To better understand the processes, I will start with shadowing the Charge Nurse and then work along side the team until I feel comfortable and can properly articulate the processes. This will be a coordinated effort between the team and leadership on the unit for success. I will ask questions, read policies and familiarize my self with unit culture.
Strengths are innate qualities that come natural. A better understanding of personal strengths will aid in the development of becoming and effective leader. More importantly, understanding innate weaknesses and how to mitigate the challenges, that come with weakness, is quite important. Significance, command, responsibility, focus and input are my 5 Clifton strengths that I use in my Transitional Leadership approach. Using, relationship building, honesty and and self reflection, to lead people is natural for me. The exploration of my weaknesses, being perceived as bossy, take on too many responsibilities and lack of leadership structure, helped me to realize what my leadership challenges are. In conclusion I will work towards 2 SMART goals developed from the exploration of these strengths and weaknesses, using Transformational Leadership principals.
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