Leadership Development in Personal History

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Introduction

Leadership development is an important process that enhances the capability of an individual to assume effective roles. My parents, friends, and world leaders’ experiences and mentorships shaped my leadership. I was obliged to go through a phase of self-discovery to grasp my strengths and flaws and qualities. During this time, I discovered that I was not perfect and that my flaws were necessary because they shaped my identity. I, like other people, have suffered grief and loss, as well as a variety of joys in my life. Each of these factors is important to me since they all contributed to developing my personality, nature, and identity. Therefore, I now see the significance of my self-discovery path and welcome the pain, loss, and happiness I have endured because they have taught me to value other people, accomplishments, losses, and goals.

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Self-discovery

I discovered that I am a good communicator by riding horses. Horses usually have instincts and respond to stimuli within their surroundings. According to Binks (2019), When riding a horse, one has to align with each other so that every command will respond appropriately. The precision of command from small movements in my hands and legs enabled me to send clear messages to the horse. The first time riding a horse, I was afraid due to negative experiences regarding people and horses. I learned to communicate effectively with the horse to avoid faults that could lead to injuries. After several weeks of training, I was able to ride and communicate with the horse.

Riding necessitates regular communication between the rider and the horse. As a rider, I always ask questions, checking to see whether the horse is listening. There should be stillness between requests, particularly when the horse responds (Smith & Larochelle, 2019). This period of silence will persist until the next request. I learned that silence is an important communication strategy because it assures the horse acts correctly. A leader’s communication should follow the same pattern and strive to hear from the audience. In addition, a competent leader must communicate, express their point of view and provide direction, but not so much that they overburden and overwhelm their team. When everything is going according to plan, an effective leader cannot ignore the power of silence. Excessive instruction is just as bad as insufficient instruction.

A Mentor

Several people have mentored me, which enabled me to learn a lot of things in life. Mentors usually take their time and effort to ensure that their mentees become responsible people and ones that society can rely on in various situations (Lester et al., 2019). Based on this, one person whose life and experiences have molded my thoughts and worldview is my best friend. He was raised in an impoverished home where they could not even afford three meals every day. His parents, a taxi driver, and a hotel waitress worked tirelessly to feed and educate them to ensure they get a quality education. My friend started a business at the age of 22 and has grown tremendously. He is now an employer with several employees depending on the business to pay their rent and buy food and other accessories.

However, life became difficult when the business started to shrink due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the sole provider for his family, my friend had to figure out how to make ends meet while keeping the family as comfortable as possible. He carried out all of the responsibilities that his family and society demanded of him. Sharma (2019) defines responsibility as the obligation of a person to perform a task assigned to them. My friend worked multiple jobs to support his family, played with his children, and attended all of their school-related activities. Even though he rarely spoke about shortcomings in his business, he instilled in me the value of discipline and hard work. I also learned from him the value of being strong and responsible. He did not allow the problems to break him and define his attitude. Therefore, my friend has been instrumental in my character development.

I have seen people abandon their goals, and loved ones, blaming psychological and mental health difficulties. Regardless of my best friend’s problems in life, he never forgot his responsibilities. Even though his health no longer allows him to be as active as he once was after surviving an accident, he could find time to spend with his family and friends. I got a vital lesson in life: handicap is not a barrier to a willing heart (Oliver, 2018). I frequently tell my family about my friend’s tale, and I believe I have assisted several others in overcoming adversity. As a leader, I used my friend’s life and teachings to treat people with dignity, practice active listening, and consider each person’s input.

A Painful Life Experience

In my life, I have experienced painful instances that I cannot forget. These are moments when an individual feels hurt and disappointed (López et al., 2018). As I grew older, I grew quite close to my cousin, David. We were about the same age and spent most of our time studying, helping our parents around the house, playing our favorite games, and watching television. However, David’s parents divorced at some point, and my parents chose to stay with David until the parents resolved their issues. During this period, I became very close to David, and many people assumed he was one of my siblings. Unfortunately, tragedy knocked when he was found dead on the street. It was difficult for my family because he was under my parent’s care. We could not run away from the guilt as we waited for the police to launch an investigation and determine the cause of death.

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The problem became worse when David’s parents received the news. They could not believe the news, and they thought it was a prank. When they confirmed that it was true, they came home adding painful ordeals that we cannot forget. David’s father accused us of failing to take care of David as we promised. They asked many questions that we did not have answers to because the deceased was a grown-up and, in most instances, made his own decision. At some point, we felt that they were blaming us for the death of their son. For example, David’s mother said, “I wish I could reserve time and take care of my son.” The message did not resonate well because everyone ended up blaming us for the tragedy.

The days after the incident was even more painful, and the father got depressed. Police officers camped out in our house, questioning us about David’s life, hobbies, and the last moments. Instead of seeking the perpetrator of my cousin’s death, the police and neighbors viewed my family as suspects. My family was heartbroken because we treated David as one of our own. David was part of my family, and nothing whatsoever should link us with his death. As a result of my loss and accusations, my father became depressed. To handle the situation, we took my father to a therapist. After three months, the police eventually apprehended the individual responsible for my cousin’s death. While this did not alleviate the grief of his absence in our lives, it helped end the blame.

A Joyful Life Experience

In my life, I have always wanted to participate in giving back to society by helping needy people. I learned that giving back is an important way to acknowledge and strengthen our relationships with the communities (Ommer, 2018). I have always dreamt of a day when I would engage in activities geared toward solving people’s problems. Unfortunately, some families cannot afford basic needs within the community, such as food, clothing, and shelter. As a result, I was approached by a friend who works in a non-governmental organization as a social worker. He requested me to accompany him on a fund drive to buy clothes for children in a certain orphanage. I accepted and tagged along in the drive to raise the money. I also contributed to the project and promised to bring some friends.

As I read through the missions of the various groups involved in the drive, I discovered that a helping hand could make a difference in someone’s life. Giving back reminds me that I am a product of my community and share responsibility for its support (Timms, 2018). It also informs me that we should strive to solve other people’s problems. For example, many people throw away food, yet others go without food. As a result, I learned to be responsible and make other people smile. I am honored to be a part of the campaign’s efforts to achieve this goal. This reminded me of what my father always tells me; charitable donations help create a better society.

A Self-Assessment of My Leadership Weaknesses

From my mentors and parents, I discovered that my leadership weaknesses are a lack of trust and failing to set clear goals. My father told me that I have a problem trusting other people. I do not believe that others can perform the task as I do. As a result, I constantly check the work I assign to others to determine whether they are doing the right thing or not. My best friend also informed me that I have a problem creating vivid objectives. He told me that a good leader must provide clear direction to followers.

Conclusion

My life experiences have helped me realize and accept my struggles and weaknesses as a person and as a leader. I went through a self-discovery journey at an early age that helped me grasp how to make difficult judgments in a challenging environment. My best friend is one of my mentors, and I utilize his life experiences as a guide to help me get through difficult times. My friend, a businessman, instilled in me the value of discipline, obedience, punctuality, understanding, and respect for others’ needs. He did everything to ensure that his family grew up in a loving home and learned that struggles and flaws are a part of being human. As a result, I gained the value of being responsible.

Despite painful experiences like my cousin’s death, I have had joyful experiences. One of the instances that helped shape my behavior as a leader was when I took part in a charity drive to help the needy. The venture enabled me to learn the importance of being a responsible person. It also allowed me to discover that I like solving other people’s problems and giving them hope in life. Leaders with problem-solving abilities are likely to stimulate, push, and encourage people to explore important problems and design unique solutions to fuel future organizational growth and success. Therefore, my experiences played a major role in my leadership development.

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References

Binks, S. E. (2019). Facilitating leadership development with horses: underpinnings of practice [Unpublished doctoral dissertation] Doctoral dissertation, Middlesex University.

Lester, A. M., Goodloe, C. L., Johnson, H. E., & Deutsch, N. L. (2019). Understanding mutuality: Unpacking relational processes in youth mentoring relationships. Journal of community psychology, 47(1), 147-162. Web.

López, A., Sanderman, R., Ranchor, A. V., & Schroevers, M. J. (2018). Compassion for others and self-compassion: Levels, correlates, and relationship with psychological well-being. Mindfulness, 9(1), 325-331. Web.

Oliver, M. (2018). Understanding disability: From theory to practice. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Ommer, R. E. (2018). Curiosity, interdisciplinary, and giving back. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 75(5), 1526-1535. Web.

Sharma, E. (2019). A review of corporate social responsibility in developed and developing nations. Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, 26(4), 712-720. Web.

Smith, S. J., & Larochelle, K. (2019). Being with horses as a practice of the self-with-others. Catalyzing The Field: Second-Person Approaches to Contemplative Learning and Inquiry, 29, 11-17. Web.

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Timms, N. (2018). Social work values: An enquiry. Routledge.

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