My leadership potentials are enormous. I have watched and learnt from influential leaders of this period, both political and business leaders alike. I have noticed that we are leaders because we choose to lead. In my opinion, this is true of individuals who choose and demonstrate determination to become influential managers and are ready to watch other leaders, and use their observation to identify and nurture their own leadership style.
My idea of watching and studying other leaders is not to emulate their qualities but rather to identify similar attributes with my own. This will enable me cultivate and enhance my leadership skills, knowledge, attitude and other capabilities. I have also noticed that finding qualities of a lasting leadership will help me improve and achieve my desired results within my scope. Learning from such leaders will certainly make me a better leader by practicing and improving on my similar attributes as their own. This work defines my leadership potential from different perspectives such as core values, my vision, how best I can lead a team, managing changes and prioritizing time in my life, leadership style, strength and weaknesses, areas of improvement.
My leadership potential is in my integrity as a person. This is my primary core value. This is the quality that will make me a high potential leader. It will guide me to tell the truth as it is without weighing the consequences. Integrity will also guide me through the path of choosing an ethical course of action when I am in a situation of moral dilemma.
My personal vision of leading an international organization in five years will drive me and create a sense of urgency in fulfilling my tasks and responsibilities. In all these endeavors, I must always be ready to face difficult challenges, pursue learning and growth, actively participate in team efforts, and promote change by challenging the status quo. My aim of defining my leadership potential is to enhance my career and personal growth through learning and interaction with others.
Reflection on My Leadership Potential
Reflection on my leadership potential has given me an opportunity to define my core values. One aspect of my core values I will uphold as a leader is personal integrity. Gary Yukl provides his view on integrity as when “a person’s behavior is consistent with espoused values, and the person is honest, ethical, and trustworthy” (Yukl, 2010). Therefore, integrity will enable me establish myself as a leader who has the main factor determining interpersonal trust.
This value will enable my group perceive me as a trustworthy manager. In turn, I will attain admiration and loyalty from my followers as well as cooperation and support from my peers and superiors. I have noticed from others leaders that what defines a leader from others’ point of view is trustworthiness. Integrity is a crucial core value to my leadership potential because it entails several behaviors that also define a leader. In this regard, honesty and truthful will help me maintain credibility and avoid deceptive approaches to issues.
I have watched most leaders lose their credibility when their followers discover that their statements were not true, or full of distorted facts. As a future leader, I do not intend to lose my credibility due to deceptions or grossly distorted utterances. This also leads me to another necessary element on integrity that will ensure I successfully negotiate my points. This is keeping promises I have made. No one would like to engage leaders who do not know how to keep their words.
These core values will also enable me fulfill responsibilities as my duties demand and loyalty to my group. Integrity will guide me through the pursuit of duties and responsibilities, and avoid pursuit of self-interests or manipulating my team to fulfill my personal interests. Thus, I will be able to retain trust of my team. In addition, integrity will enable my team trust me with sensitive information, keep secrets, inspire others, make statements with the utmost confidence, and drive my personal vision. Lastly, integrity will always ensure that I take all responsibilities for my decisions and subsequent actions.
This will enable me keep my strength as a leader, be dependable, and take sound position on issues, and fulfill my ethical and authentic responsibilities. Peter Drucker, a management guru, offered his opinion on integrity and ethics as “underpinning your life, and implicit in everything you do, should be a bedrock sense of values, character, integrity and a belief in ethics” (Drucker, 1977). I believe that as a leader, I should reflect such values in my team and the entire organization.
I have observed that leadership changes normal organizational management. Leaders define the mission and strategic goals of an organization and pass the same to the team. In this regard, professionalism defines such leaders. Ram Charan, the author of Leaders at All Level, refers to professionalism as the “responsibility to act with integrity, honesty and transparency in all business dealings” (Charan, 2007).
As a future leader, the value of professionalism will guide and ensure that I give factual information and services that go beyond the lowest limits to both my team and external relations. Professionalism will help me establish goodwill with my team and other external parties. At the same time, I will use professionalism to train and nurture my team to enable them attain organizational standards.
I must create professional standards for my team. This is the only way to ensure that both my group and the organization achieve proper and acceptable behaviors in the organization. In defining my core value of professionalism, I will take into account, minor but often ignored aspects such as limiting wastages, controlling quality, and handling both internal and external customers for positive experiences. Enhancing professionalism in my group will ensure that the group follows professional standards when conducting their duties, and ensure that it follows organizational policies and achieve the strategic goal of the organization. Professionalism will ensure that the organization maintain the same standards even if I move to another organization; thus I will leave a valuable legacy to my group.
Another crucial core value for defining my leadership potential is teamwork. Projects rarely reach completion statuses if there is no teamwork. Team means having the right people for a task, and even if there are right people for a task in a team, leadership is mandatory. Leadership must hold people accountable for their inputs. Team leadership will enable me understand human nature, and become a better leader.
As a leader of a group, I must make sure that my team focuses on the project as a unit, and not as individuals, at the same time, encourage them to pursue personal fulfillment from the task. We shall celebrate the team’s success together because no task is possible where inputs of many are not available. My teamwork effort will recognize that there can only be a single leader to avoid leadership mess, and make crucial decisions for the group. However, I shall encourage team inputs and diverse suggestions. At the same time, I must recognize that I may not make all the team members happy, but at the end of the task, they will appreciate the outcome and cases of indifferences that were crucial for success.
As a team leader, I will be ready to take the entire responsibility for the team as my core value of integrity demands. This applies to both mistakes and achievements. I will observe humility and respect as I define to my team members why I am the leader and in charge. This will enable me acquire their respects in return. My responsibility for my team will be to keep the performance at peak and create a sense of enthusiasm in the entire work.
My personal vision defines my leadership potential. In the next five years, I want to be the president of the organization. This vision will only be possible through continuous learning. I have noted that current organizations operate in a dynamic environment that requires continuous adaptation, innovation, and rediscovery of potentials among leaders. This needs flexibility in handling mistakes, attitude, and assumptions. Marshall-Mies and his associates note “one of the most important competencies for successful leadership in changing situations is the ability to learn from experience and adapt to change” (Marshall-Mies et al, 2000).
My approach to ability to learn will be different from other leaders’ approaches. I will involve the concept of “learning how to” that will enable me perform analyses of my cognitive competence and processes. This will take into account several methods of defining and solving various issues and strive as I look for new methods of improving my different skills and knowledge.
My personal vision shall also account for my self-awareness. In this regard, I must understand my own strength, limitations, skills, knowledge, attitude, and emotions. This is the only way I can achieve my vision and career fulfillment. In fact, most studies have proved that the ability to learn and adapt is a crucial factor in determining leadership effectiveness. Thus, it is a success factor necessary for achieving an executive level position in an organization.
I have also learnt that the ability to learn from the past and adapt to change in order to achieve my vision requires skills, knowledge, attitude and personal traits. I have looked at these factors in relation to social and emotional intelligence, particularly, achievement orientation, self-monitoring, and emotional stability. These traits shall enable me achieve excellence, be open-minded, confident, curious, and ready to try new possibilities as I seek feedback for my decisions and actions so that I evaluate my strength and limitations in my aspirations.
My leadership potential also takes into account managing changes in my life and prioritizing my time. The environment in which organizations operate in today is so turbulent that skills in managing such changes have become necessary for any aspiring leader. It also takes a leader’s knowledge to enhance effective adaptation to changes.
There are also unexpected changes that I must be ready to handle and make wise decisions as soon as they arise. I also plan to manage career changes in my life as I manage others. In all these aspects of managing change, I plan to be positive about change processes and embrace them for personal, group, and organizational development. Still, managing my time is equally fundamental aspect in defining my leadership potential.
I will align my time management approach as proposed by Stephen Covey in his Quadrant II Time Management. I will focus on essential activities and tasks as I avoid insignificant issues and distraction. This approach will enable me achieve the greatest success. The outcomes shall include “vision, perspective, balance, discipline, empowered people and few crises” (Covey, Roger and Merill, 1994).
My current leadership style borrows significantly from transformational leadership approach. This is because transformational leadership style enables the group to feel admiration, trust, loyalty, and respect towards the leader, and enhances a sense of motivation among the team (Yukl, 2010). According to Bass, transformational leadership enables the leader to transform and motivate the team through provisions of task outcomes, sacrificing their self-interests for the sake of the team or organization, and activating the higher-order needs” (Bass, 1996).
As I define my leadership potential, I must also acknowledge insights I have gained in studying leadership courses. The most crucial aspects have learnt in leadership courses is that a leader can only influence the group through setting an outstanding behavior during interactions. This is role modeling. Role modeling will help me avoid unpleasant or unpopular actions and behaviors. In this context, I must set the standards for my group. This is because I shall always be on the spotlight as a leader. Still, in managing a diverse workforce, I must take into account various characteristics that make up my group in terms of gender, age, sex, ability, race, culture and emerging special groups, such as transsexual and gays.
I shall also choose to lead best as I focus on implementing changes. Scholars in the area of organizational change have focused on how change processes affect success (Denis, Lamothe and Langley, 2001; Kotter, 1996). I have learnt that any successful change process in an organization depends on the leadership ability among other various aspects. Specifically, leadership behavior is paramount. Some behaviors will involve administration, motivation, guidance, and support, and politics of the organization.
In implementing change, I must understand that change is a technical aspect of development, and in most cases even people who advocate it need assistance and guidance as there are unavoidable drawbacks. Thus, assistance and guidance are necessary to help me sustain my optimism and enthusiasm about change. I have watched organizations undertake major changes and observe that change process is stressful with regard to cases of dislocation, disruptions, and slow adjustment.
For effective change implementation, I will ensure that my team sees the urgency of creating change rather than settle for slow adjustments. At the same time, I will mobilize support for such changes to occur. A better change process usually defines advantages of implementing such changes. Meanwhile, I must also identify most influential persons in the organization who are most likely to resist change and seek their supports. This calls for a wide network that must support my change endeavors. At this moment, leadership needs key people with key skills in implementing change and empowering others to assist in planning and implementing change. This implies that change is a well coordinated team effort.
My strengths as a potential leader are in my personality traits, skills, knowledge, and attitude. I have strong interpersonal relation skills that I can use to gain support, motivate my group, earn their respect, and transcend self-interest. In all these, integrity and professionalism shall guide my path as a leader. I also possess the ability to change and adapt to new circumstances as they emerge. This sense of flexibility shall ensure that I use other strengths to achieve a personal vision.
However, I have also recognized my areas of weaknesses that need improvement. These include knowledge, skills, and attitude. I have noted that the knowledge I have is not adequate for critical leadership position. Thus, I will strive to incorporate new knowledge through learning. I must learn various aspects of the organizational operation, decision-making processes, conflict resolution, regulatory procedures, international variations and the industry standards.
At the same time, I must also enhance my skills in communication especially among different cultures, and diverse workforce. My interests in communication skills arise from the need to communicate the organizational goals, my skills, vision, plans, and expectations clearly to my group. At the same time, I will also improve my listening skills and understand both conscious and unconscious messages from my group. This calls for a continuous development of my verbal, nonverbal, and listening skills. I must also enhance my skills for motivating my group in order to create a powerful team for achieving personal, team and organizational objectives.
I must also improve in the area of attitude. Improving attitude is a constant process that requires daily practice. Attitude will enable me rise in different managerial levels and attain my vision. I must work on courtesy, humility, professionalism, punctuality, and be pleasant to colleagues. These issues may sound easy. However, implementing and executing matters of attitude require significant efforts and practice.
I have developed my leadership potentials from observing most influential leaders of this century. I have incorporated similar attributes we share in defining my leadership potential. This does not to mean imitating them. My leadership potential also borrows heavily from my core value of integrity, professionalism and teamwork. These core values shall guide and assist me build my credibility and earn the trust of my group. Integrity will ensure that I stand by the truth and make ethical decisions in controversial cases and stand with outcomes.
As a leader, I must also define my vision to guide me to success. I have realized that I can also achieve this vision by implementing appropriate changes in my career path. This calls for a continuous learning and adaptation to changes. This leads me to aspects of managing changes and time in a dynamic environment. I have noted that prioritizing essential issues and avoid distraction and insignificant issues shall always ensure that I use my time effectively.
My leadership style follows a transformational leadership approach. This will enable me change my group and motivate them for peak performance. These are significant insights I have gained from studying leadership. Transformational style will allow me lead in a better way by implementing changes that a group or an organization may require. I have acknowledged my areas of strength in defining my leadership potential. However, my interests are in areas where I need improvement. These areas cover skills, knowledge, and attitude. This will obviously make me a better leader with a higher potential capable of leading a diverse workforce.
Bass, B. M. (1996). A new paradigm of leadership: An inquiry into transformational leadership. Alexandria, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
Charan, R. (2007). Leaders at All Levels. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Covey, S., Merrill, R. and Rebecca, M. (1994). First Things First: To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Denis, J. L., Lamothe, L., and Langley, A. (2001). The dynamics of collective leadership and strategic change in pluralistic organizations. Academy of Management Journal, 44(4), 809–837.
Drucker, P. (1977). People and Performance: The Best of Peter Drucker on Management. New York: Harper’s College Press.
Kotter, J. P. (1996). Leading change. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.
Marshall-Mies et al. (2000). Development and evaluation of cognitive and metacognitive measures for predicting leadership potential. Leadership Quarterly, 11, 135–153.
Yukl, G. (2010). Leadership in Organizations (7 ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.