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My Leadership Experience

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My first impression of what qualities leadership entails was belief in oneself, initiative to action, outspokenness, moral rights, the ability to lead by example, and humility. Also, a leader has to have total confidence, but over the past few months. I discovered a lot more than all those qualities and that it takes a lot more to become a good leader. I learned a lot about myself that I never knew before and I am more assured in my abilities to lead. This class has taught me a lot about leadership, and also now that I think about it, my dad is a real leader and he has taught me a lot about life. Throughout the paper I will relate a lot of my leadership experience back to him and also the readings and activities in class.

Now I am aware of the concept of leadership in all aspects of what I do in life, I never thought that the simple things I do like being organized or helping others can be considered as leadership traits. I think knowing about my leadership style, teamwork, goal setting, ethics, diversity, conflict, and organization will help me become a better leader. I believe I am a better person and leader than before when I didnÂ’t really put a lot of emphasis on becoming a leader. This class has helped me realize the potentials I have to become a future leader. I am a big believer in that being a leader can help make a difference in the community and at work and hopefully someday in the whole world.

The readings and discussion in class helped me to understand what leadership is about. The first concept of leadership to me was to understand my leadership style. Before this class, I never thought about my leadership style or even knew that there were different types of leadership. I think my leadership style is best described by the combined style of pacesetting and coaching, because I was exposed to the pacesetting style a lot by my dad who was very professional and expected good things from people. He would demand the most from everyone and he expected them to do it the way he does and if they canÂ’t then they are gone. The pacesetting style is not the best way to be a leader, because some people are not capable of exceeding in everything they do and you have to accept that they are not as good and hope that they can improve in the future.

My dad is a great person and everything, but the pacesetting style of my dad has made him an unpopular manager around the employees. I took account that I will not be like him and have everyone dislike me all the time. So I decided to lead with the pacesetting style, but also with the coaching style. I would take the best parts from both styles and model my leadership after it. When I lead or do something, I would always do my best and expect other people to do the same as me and give it their all every time. If they cannot do what I want than its fine because I will not just get rid of people for not being up to my standards right away. I think it is mean thing to just fire them rather than giving them time to get better and eventually do what I ask. I will try my best to help in any way possible and I want them to know that I care about them and that we are friends also not just leaders and followers. Now that I know about these leadership styles, I will try my best to apply them in my work and personal life more to help me to become a better person and a better leader also.

Before this class, my favorite way of dealing with conflict is to avoid it as much as possible and hope that it would just go away in the future. The reason for this is that I did not want to put all the effort into fixing the conflict and I was not really comfortable with confronting people about what is wrong, because my dad is really good at confronting people on what the problem is. He is not afraid to do and he will anything to make things right through any means necessary. My dad would confront me all the time on whatever was wrong and that has made me resent him a little bit, because he would always tell me what to do and how to do it and I did not want to be told what to do or what I did wrong all the time. So I was always skeptical of confronting people because I thought it would make people resent me like the way I resented my dad.

Now after what I learned in leadership class, I know its best to confront the problem head on so that it gets done and over with and I do not have think about “What if I did this or that?” Confronting the problem is easier said then done, but it is actually scaring me that I am actually doing it in my life. I just had this big conflict with one of my close friends at college and it was getting to the point where our friendship was dangling on a string and I finally had the courage go to talk to the person about what was wrong and how it could be fixed the right. It took a lot of work but the results were worth it because we are friends again. I am glad that I did confront the problem, because being a leader is never easy and you have to gain experience to help you later on. Three months ago I would never confronted the person and probably lose my friendship and now I know its best to confront the problem, not avoid it.

It is sad to say that I never really have experienced diversity much until I came to college, where there are many different ethnic groups, because I came from a small town where it is a predominantly white community. I never really thought that diversity could be a problem for leaders to experience, but I was wrong. With a big campus there are a lot of different cultural and religious differences that could affect the leader when working with a group. Truthfully I was not really to handle diversity when I came to the U, but I know that for me to become a good leader, I need to experience it first hand. This class has taught me to be open to different ideas or opinions and that there is no one right answer for everything. Being a leader, you have to open minded, because with all the diversity, you are going to have conflict among others on what is right or wrong and how to handle it in a certain way that is good for everyone involved. I think that diversity could benefit us, because a lot of people have different creative ideas and we can always learn something about one another.

Diversity can make or break a group and good leaders know how to handle the different types of problem arise from different views. It was easy for me to lead back in high school or weedpulling because there wasnÂ’t that much diversity among the group; everyone had the same religion and the same belief, so it wasnÂ’t hard at all, but in college you are expose to a lot of it and you have to believe that even though people are different they still have good ideas to offer. I can honestly say that I am more open to different cultures now than before. I am more aware that my thinking may not always be right and for me to become a good leader, I need to keep an open mind and not judge people based on cultural or religious beliefs.

A good leader knows the importance of teamwork. In the past I thought there were not many elements that could contribute to the success of the team. All I knew was that we just needed to do our parts and come together later to do our project, there was not a leader or any planning at all, but now I know that for the team to succeed, teamwork is crucial. The first step for the team is to agree on a leader. The leader needs to set goals for the team and see that it gets accomplished in time. Being the leader of a group is a hard task and I think that the leaders needs to keep the team members in line, keep them all happy, and keep them on task. The success of the leader depends on how well the team does and if the team fails, the leader is responsible for the failure. I know that I cannot always be the leader of the team, because there are times where I have no idea what we are doing or if I am capable of doing it well, so I am always open to follow whoever I think is competent enough to be the leader of team.

Then I can learn from the leader and in the future apply what I learned from following to leading a team. Also for the team to effective I think that the leader should have a good relationship with their follower. Leaders have to communicate with everyone and get a feel that they are on the same page as everyone else. I think working in a team, it is a must that people feel comfortable with each other to trust and work with one another to complete the task. If the team is on different pages or conflict arises, the goals then will be harder to achieve and if that happens I think leader of the group should confront the problem and resolve it before it jeopardize the entire group. Overall I think an effective team is when team members share a sense of purpose or common goals, and each team member is willing to work toward achieving these goals.

I think having the right ethics is one of the most challenging values to live by in life for anyone. I always thought that I have good enough ethics to be considered a good person, but to become a good leader I need to be rid of all temptations to do the wrong things. I honestly believe that sometimes we are all creatures of greed. Everyone wants to take the easy way out or do what is best for him or her and leave everyone else behind. One of things about being a leader is putting others before yourself and I think that leaders have a tough time deciding what is right or wrong, because the decisions they made could affect a lot of people. A perfect example of how good people abandon their ethics was on Tuesday when we played that one trading game.

Everyone was tying to make him or herself better and hoping to win the 50 dollar gift certificate. People in the star group cared more about winning than anything else, they were afraid to lose their status and eventually the chance of winning the prize. They started to make all these rules that will only benefited themselves and did not let any other people have a chance. Then, when the star group started to make all these rules, the square group started to come up with their own evil plan to prevent the star group from winning. This game shows how easy people lose their ethics when there is a prize involved and how everyone is greedy and wants the prize for themselves. No lie now, I honestly did not care about the reward at all from the beginning, because I had no need for the reward at all; I don’t even like shopping at the bookstore anyway. So I was actually trying to help out other classmates that wanted the 50 dollars.

I was so glad that I was not in the star group, because with the decisions they made, they were essentially making everyone else dislike them for being greedy. I am sorry for saying everyone is greedy and I know not everybody was doing it, but the idea was to benefit him or her more. I was pleased with how I acted in the game, how I did not really want what is best for myself, and how I hoped everything was a level playing field. Probably a few years ago, I would definitely do what I can to win that gift certificate. I think with my maturity as I grew, I also have developed a good ethics that will hopefully make me a good leader in the future.

Another thing I have become better at in my leadership journey was to set feasible goals for myself. Before this class, IÂ’ve been taught about the importance of setting goals for yourself, but I never really took that seriously because I was young and naĂŻve and thought that I could do whatever I want, whenever I want. I got through high school just fine without setting goals for myself, because in high school teachers and counselors baby you on what you have to do and when to do it by, but when I got to college I was independent and I thought I could only get by in college by what I did in high school. I was very wrong and I knew that I would have to starting setting goals for what I have to do and when to do it by so I do not get caught off guard and be ready for whatever comes.

This class has taught me and shown me the ways in which setting goals step by step makes it easier for you to accomplish things rather then just doing it without any planning. Goal setting is a important quality for a leader to have, because that means you have a sense of plan and you know what you need to do in order to complete the goal. I never would have thought that I would ever set goals for myself, but I know for me to become a good leader, I must learn how to set goals for myself. From now on I will do the best I can to set goals for myself, like writing a paper ahead of time or how to pay off my college loan over time.

My last topic will be my organization skills as I progress in my leadership journey. Early on in college, I was so unorganized that I literally could not find any of my homework or how I would lose my paper and money all the time. My room was dirty and I hated cleaning so I was really frustrated all the time. The one event that triggered my need to be organized was the first leadership presentation for the class. I was unorganized and I ended up doing bad. So I knew then that to be a good leader, you have to learn to be organized.

A person is not born with organization skill, but what you learn through experience. Leaders have to organize goals or plans for everything, you cannot just wing it on whatever you do. I believe that you will do better organized than none at all, and it is a proven fact that being organized will help you be more successful in life. A leader must have the organization skills in order to lead smoother, if a leader does not have it then he/she will have a tough time managing his/her goals. I am so glad that I have become more organized; I can find my stuff easier now and I donÂ’t have a hard time keeping track of my stuff everyday, so hopefully in the future I can apply my skills to being a good leader.

I am so glad that I am taking this leadership class at college. I learn new things about myself that can help me out in life later on. Leadership is a very important quality that is needed in order to lead a successful life in this world. I am believe I am on my path to leadership now that I know my leadership style, my ethics and goal setting. I am also better at working in teams and handle diversity better. I went from avoiding conflicts to confronting them head on. This has helped me to improve my relationships with my friends, family, classmates, peers, and others around me. I think from what I learned in this class, not only have I gained more skills and knowledge that will enable me to become a leader, but I will also be a better person. Ultimately, I think leadership is from the heart, you can learn all these theories and skills, but you make the decisions based on how you feel and what you think is right. I hope this class will help me in my business career in the future.

Works Cited

Coleman, D. (2000, March-April). Leadership That Gets Results. Harvard Business Review, 78-90.

Hanson, P.G. & Lubin, B. (1986). Team Building as Group Development. Organizational Development Journal, 28-30.

Hughes, R., Ginnett, R, & Gurphy, G. (2002). Leadership: Exchange the lessons of experience (4th ed). Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.

Johnson, D.W. & Johnson, F.P. (1987). Joining together: Group theory and group skills. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.

Kidder, R.M. (2003). How good people make tough choices. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kouzes, J.M. & Posner, B.Z. (1989). Leadership is in the eye of the follower. The 1989 Animal: Development Human Resources, 223-239.

Lencioni, P.M. (2002). The five dysfnctions of a team: A leadership fable. San Franciso: Jossey-Bass.

Weeks, D (1992). The eight essential steps to conflict resolution: Perserving relationships at work, at home, and in the community. Las Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.

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