Do I possess the traits and behaviors associated with leadership? If not, can I now learn how to be a leader at this stage of my life? What kind of leader am I? Is that the kind of leader I want to be? What do my superiors, co-workers, friends, and family think of my leadership style and ability? Why am I sometimes uncomfortable talking about myself as a leader? Working my way through the text, interviewing colleagues, and checking into other resources, I can form a personal picture and embrace a personal theory about my own leadership style and ability. I may have stirred up more questions than I am able to answer but the process has been a fascinating insight to self-discovery. The end result is a desire to try something a little different, in regards to my leadership style at home and at work. My favorite leadership theory is that of transformational vs. transactional leadership. But first, I want to quickly look at leadership qualities. Trait theory evolved from the very same question I had as to whether or not leaders are born or made. If leaders are born with certain traits then should I be evaluating myself for these traits? If there are none, should I quit or look for further evidence that these traits can be learned? I decided to do a little of both. The text identifies several characteristics of leaders. (Kreitner) My own list of leadership qualities includes the following: strong morals, credibility, clear vision of goals, strong communication skills, high level of commitment and constancy of purpose. It appears that I’m leaving a plethora of traits out and I’m sure I have overlooked a few. I have lumped several traits together, such as good stewardship would go into the “strong morals” category, for me. Likewise, strong communication skills, in my schematic, would include: active listening; clear, concise writing style; and, public speaking skills. (I realize that one may perhaps be a very good leader without being a very good public speaker. However, this is my list.) Are these traits inherent? Can they be learned? Personally, I believe it is possible that they are both. For example, communication skills seem to come naturally to me. However, I have had to study, learn and practice, practice, practice writing and public speaking. Another area of leadership discussed in the book and in class is the concept of “Transformational vs. Transactional Leadership.” Although neither of the two styles is “right” or “wrong” and certain situations may benefit from either, or both, I identify most with Transformational Leadership. This has been confirmed in two of my three interviews. I am not a formal leader at my place of employment. I do not have a management position nor am I responsible for evaluating the performance of any co-workers. However, as an office manager, I have found myself in a position to informally lead, inspire, motivate and guide my coworkers towards company goals and objectives. Thus, I interviewed my supervisor about her views of my leadership style to the extent that she has observed it. Her response was that I “focus heavily on charisma and creativity.” She has observed that I frequently “use humor to influence people.” She also found that I tend to use visual and auditory stimuli to get people’s attention, explain things in meetings, etc. She had no suggestions for improvement. I also polled XXXX, publisher of XXX magazine. XX currently serves as President of the Board of Directors, XXXX. I met XX while I was serving on the interim Advisory Committee to the XX. XX shared with me that he felt I had “natural leadership ability” and strong communication skills. I asked him what he meant by “natural leadership ability” to which he responded with references to charisma and humor but, he also added that I was “good at maintaining that wit and charm while keeping the discussions on point and the meetings productive.” He also had no suggestions for improvement. I would agree...
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