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Leadership Profile

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In this assignment I will attempt to examine the leadership and managerial aspects of my most recent role as a leader, assessing my key strengths and most pertinent areas for improvement. As I examine my core strengths and areas for development as a leader I will incorporate what I’ve learned personally from the first three weeks of JWMI 510 – Leadership in the 21st Century. This paper will conclude with a plan for leveraging and further developing my strengths and, more importantly, how I will cultivate my areas for development as a leader.

Although I don’t carry a traditional leadership title at my current company, I somehow always find myself in the role of a leader. I suppose it stems from my upbringing as a child of a retired Army Master Sargent who saw fit to ingrain in me the behaviors and discipline that are conducive to being out front, catching the vision first and needing to feel that those around me are on board as well. As an individual contributor I often times have had management responsibility for limited resources or have simply been called on to lead initiatives that involved a team of peers, vendors, and technical resources. I say all of this to underscore the fact that I have a definite purpose for being a proud student of the Jack Welch Management Institute. In the following pages I hope to convey the level of value I have already experienced, and the plan that I have initiated to become the consummate leader that alludes many of us in the corporate world.

Leading, for me, has always been the undercurrent to what I do on a daily basis. From early on in my career as a recruiter, managing a desk set of four, to the years as a recruiting manager responsible for the efforts of small teams of highly effective recruiters in the fast paced, often volatile, technology industry. The last ten years of my career has been in an individual contributor role as a Staffing Consultant to the Services division of Microsoft Corporation. This role has afforded me the opportunity to lead others in many highly visible positions – as Compliance Champion for the Services Staffing team, Diversity Site Lead over five affinity groups on the Las Colinas, Texas Campus, and as Business Intelligence Champion for the Services Staffing team, just to name a few. Interestingly enough my mantra over the years has been to focus on continual self-improvement, gathering nuggets of insight from world renown business leaders like Ken Blanchard, John Maxwell and Jack Welch.

Through the first three weeks of this course I have been reminded of some previously learned concepts and introduced to others that have literally opened my eyes to what I already imagine will be a clear path to increased effectiveness and value as a leader. The Disc Management assessment helped set the stage by defining my inherent leadership style as Si. (Everything Disc Management Profile, 2014) This style is characterized by its bent toward collaboration, encouragement and support. I was encouraged by Jack’s statement in the book Winning as he pointed out that “leadership is not just about you – it’s about them”. (Welch, Jack, Winning, Chapter 5 – Leadership). These readings confirmed for me what I feel are my core strengths as a leader – collaborating, engaging team members, driving the vision home and celebrating the results.

I have an innate ability to build rapport quickly and through that rapport start on a fast track with team members to build trust. I gave an example in one of our discussion threads of a specific time when I demonstrated my leadership ability. It was an instance where I lead a team of recruiters in our Services business segment in an effort to revamp our entire recruiting process to fall into compliance with a set of forthcoming government regulations that were eventually going to be mandated. The timeline was very tight and the stakeholders were numerous. By binging all of the team together and educating them on current stat, the tenants of the OFCCP, and the impact non-compliance would have on a company of our stature, I was able to get our entire team to buy into the vision of our future state and quickly get behind the effort to bring our practices into compliance. The Disc Assessment also called out some potential pitfalls to watch for as well, most notably, my tendency to avoid conflict.

In my assessment it was called out that being forceful with others and pushing for results would be challenging for me. I do tend to avoid conflict and confrontations that I think may damage relationships. However I am aware that the key to building strong relationships is building them around trust through candor and transparency. (Welch, Jack, Winning, Chapter 2 – Candor). Having conflict avoidance as my greatest weakness is sure to limit my ability to develop as a leader if it’s not addressed. As Bill Conaty pointed out on in his video clip from week 3, “candor comes first, trust comes later“. Bill also stated that great leaders have an “uncanny ability to balance a passion for business with compassion for people” (“Bill Conaty Shares Essential Rules about Leadership”, Week 3, Video). So with Jack Welch’s eight essential rules as a backdrop – relentlessly upgrade your team, instill the company’s vision, exude positive energy, establish trust and candor, make gut calls, probe and push and drive to action, inspire risk taking and don’t forget to celebrate – I have identified a clear path for my initial stages of development as a leader.

Of these eight rules I believe I have a good start at excelling at the first three and clearly have an opportunity to develop the next four – candor, making gut calls, probing and pushing and inspiring risk taking – that directly relate to my tendency to avoid conflict. In my self-prescribed leadership development curriculum my plan is to get laser focused around my greatest weakness – conflict avoidance. To kick start this effort I have decided to employ the model outlined in the book Crucial Confrontations, where the model calls for me to first work on me – by ensuring I have a complete understanding of what the conflict is, determining what the issue is and deciding whether it’s worth confronting.

Secondly, confronting issues with safety – remembering to ensure mutual respect and mutual purpose as I confront team members. Lastly moving to action – staying focused and flexible and agreeing on a plan and following up. (Patterson, Kerry, Crucial Confrontations, 2005). The next step in my leadership journey will be focused on emotional intelligence and building an arsenal of leadership styles to draw on at will. In Daniel Goleman’s
article “leadership That Gets Results”, he referenced research that proved the most effective leaders had an uncanny ability to move seamlessly between six leadership styles that he identified as being coercive, authoritative, democratic, pacesetting and coaching. Over the next several weeks my goal, is to establish a baseline of competence in these areas.

In conclusion I truly believe that my journey to becoming the consummate leader and equipping myself with the knowledge and tools to effectively lead an “A” team of highly effective recruiters in a world-class HR function is well within reach. Armed with the knowledge that I have gained and will continue to build on throughout this curriculum, coupled with practical applications in my current role, the sky is the limit on what I can achieve.

Bill Conaty Shares Essential Rules about Leadership (Week 3, Video) DISC Management Assessment (Everything Disc Management, 2014) Goleman Daniel, “Leadership That Gets Results” (Week 3, Lecture 3) Patterson, Kerry, Crucial Confrontations (2005)

Welch, Jack, “What Great Leaders Do: Eight Essential Rules” (Week 2, Lecture 3) Welch, Jack, Winning, Jack Welch with Suzy Welch. – 1st ed. (chapter 2 – Candor) Welch, Jack, Winning, Jack Welch with Suzy Welch. – 1st ed. (chapter 5 – Leadership)

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