Personal Leadership Philosophy

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My Personal Leadership Philosophy

My definition of leadership

My father once told me that, “everything we do— be it in academia, at work, social or family life—we are guided by principles, beliefs and values that collectively form our ideology of life.” I believe that every leader, to a certain extent, is shaped through her individual personal experience. Although in some cases, we may not realize to what extent our personal assumptions and beliefs shape our ability to lead or be led.

In my opinion the term leadership is a very broad and various definitions are given by authors. One definition of leadership is that it is “ the process of developing and communicating a vision for the future, motivating people and gaining their commitment and engagement”. (Armstrong & Stephens, 2004:5) Lumby& Coleman 2007:1 ( as cited in Lumby & Morrison,2010:6) define leadership as “the conduct of emotions, thought and actions which are designed to influence others in a chosen direction”. I agree with the above authors on their working definition of leadership. Both definitions focus on an important element , people. One cannot lead without followers. My personal definition of leadership is that it is the power to influence individuals through communication, motivation and trust to perform tasks to achieve a specific goal.

I believe that there are certain core values that an effective leader should have, which I will discuss in detail. My personal leadership philosophy will also discuss the role of a leader in an organization, and the characteristics of an effective leader. As well as leadership theories.

Personal Leadership Philosophy

My understanding of the concept leadership, is that it involves, planning, organizing, directing and controlling. An effective leader achieves the above through communication and interpersonal relationships that take into account each individuals’ strengths and weaknesses.

Leadership is about custodianship and responsibility for the people you lead. As a custodian I believe it is the duty of the leader to take care of their followers, in that there is an intrinsic obligation for an effective leader to identify and nurture individuals’ talents in pursuit of a shared vision and goal. It is about helping people grow by challenging them, but not by micromanaging or marginalizing them.

Core values

Personal characteristics

In my perspective there are certain traits that are common amongst effective leaders which are informed by a number of factors. These include my childhood experiences at home and school, experiences at workplaces such as doing temporary jobs and working at community radio stations.

This leads me to identify and discuss these characteristics:

Self awareness

I strongly believe that an effective leader is one who knows and understands her own personal strengths and weaknesses. Such knowledge enables the leader to appreciate what is possible and impossible to attempt on their own e.g. is there a need for teamwork or not.

From my work experience, a leader who is ashamed of her weaknesses, tends to shun advice from sub-ordinates, which is counterproductive and leads to strained relationships within the organization. An effective leader knows when to seek help in areas they are not particularly knowledgeable, through delegating capable staff or brainstorming sessions. I feel that a self-aware leader displays characteristics that are invaluable to an organization. In that they are aware their values, principles and assumptions may differ from those they lead, and therefore ensure that their prejudices do not affect their judgment when dealing with followers.

I believe that self-awareness is an important in a competent and effective leader. As a self aware leader appreciates and analyses feedback, both positive and negative. Therefore I feel that to truly be self-aware a leader needs to be honest with themselves and their followers....
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