This is a reflective journal that answers questionnaires that explore issues of leadership abilities and traits, among other leadership characteristics. The expected outcome is that I will understand my leadership style by exploring my leadership qualities. I will also identify the areas that I need to work on to enhance my leadership ability.
I scored highly in the area of handling people in regard to leadership traits as presented in the questionnaire on page 39. I, therefore, emerged as sociable and considerate (Northouse, 2013). It, however, emerged that I appear skeptical and doubtful when it comes to some projects. I also scored low on the trait of persistence. I aspire to learn to remain focused on goals, regardless of any interruptions that may come my way. This will help me improve on my leadership ability (Northouse, 2013).
Northouse (2013) opines that leadership traits can be influenced by past experiences and situations. Past experiences have particularly affected my leadership traits. For instance, I once belonged to a team that recorded poor results since it was dysfunctional. I was of a strong opinion that we could have produced impressive results if I had been put in a healthy team.
The second questionnaire contained on page 69 sought to obtain responses to leadership skills. I recorded impressive scores on both human and conceptual skills. Northouse (2013) indicates that human and conceptual skills are very important when working with teams. Leaders with high human and conceptual skills are able to clearly analyze the organization to determine its current state. Such leaders also articulate the organization’s vision clearly in order to meet the goals of the organization. In a study to determine differences in scores in technical skills between Afghan males and Afghan females, Mujtaba and Kaifi (2010) showed that Afghan men had “significantly higher score (t= -7.14; p-value < 0.001) for technical skills” (p. 6).
This showed that Afghan men worked efficiently at middle and lower levels of organizations compared to women. Afghan women, on the other hand, showed higher conceptual skills compared to their male counterparts. They were, therefore, in a better position to effectively interact with all staff at all levels of the organization. Since my score on technical skills was not impressive, I need to enhance the skills to fit well as a lower or middle-level manager. Nevertheless, I can suitably occupy upper-level management since this level of management does not require a lot of technical skills (Northouse, 2013). I strongly believe that I recorded high scores in conceptual skills due to my personality and work experience. The ease with which I interact with people made me score impressively on human skills.
Leadership behavior was explored using the questionnaire on page 93. On leadership behavior, my score on task was higher than the score on the relationship. This indicates that I am more task-oriented and less relationship-oriented. Mujtaba and Alsua (2011) identified that Americans are more relationship-oriented than task-oriented. The study by Mujtaba and Alsua (2011) showed that while task orientation score among Americans was an average of 37.63, which was in the range of ‘moderately high’, the average score for relationship orientation was in the ‘high range’ at 41.99.
Relationship oriented managers reduce depression and uncertainty in moments of crises. A task-oriented leader focuses more on issuing instructions and protocols to subordinates in order to achieve desired outcomes. It is possible to have a shift in leadership behavior by following the leadership grip figure, thereby changing the leadership style. One example of such a shift is the move from team management leadership style to one that is authority compliance (Northouse, 2013).
The questionnaire on page 134 was used to evaluate whether one is motivated by task, relationship, or in between. This was done by evaluating one’s least preferred co-worker (Northouse, 2013). My low LPC score of 52 indicated that I am task motivated. Low LPC indicates that a person’s primary concern is to complete a task successfully, with people relationships coming thereafter (Northouse, 2013). I concur with this finding because I always aim at completing tasks first before engaging with group members. The practice of completing tasks first gives me a lot of fulfillment.
The questionnaire on page 155 explores the leadership style that a person is most likely to apply. I scored highly as a supportive, directive, and achievement-oriented leader. A leader who is supportive, directive, and achievement-oriented is concerned about the well-being of his juniors. Moreover, such a leader is not only approachable, but he is also friendly and gives candid instructions to his juniors regarding their tasks and the expected end results.
Such a leader also motivates his juniors to perform impressively and adopt continuous improvement in their working process. This places me as a leader who gives directions to my subordinates as they have their work done, with continuous improvement being core to this process. I look forward to improving my participative score since I scored a low mark. I want to become more participative so that I can easily include my subordinates in decision making in order to have smooth running groups and the organization (Northouse, 2013).
Various leadership styles were evaluated using the multifactor questionnaire on page 213. I scored highly on the transformational leadership style since I am a leader who puts the interest of the organization first in place of my own self-interest. I also work towards achieving the common goal of the organization by empowering my followers. I do this by sharing my vision for the future with my subordinates in an optimistic manner.
I am always concerned about the moral and ethical implications of every action I take as a leader. I registered low scores on transactional and passive/avoidant leadership styles. The low score could have been because of the fact that I make decisions all the time. However, I consider the consequences that may come with these decisions. I am poor at keeping track of my failures, although I am mindful of the needs of subordinates as individuals. This section on leadership styles shows that becoming a transformational leader calls for one to be conscious of the moral and ethical impacts of their decisions.
Moreover, one has to forego self-interest for the sake of others and the common goal of the organization. A transformational leader also has to bear a vision for the organization’s future (Northouse, 2013). Becoming a transactional or a passive leader is achievable through setting rewards for employees who accomplish tasks as expected of them. Becoming a transformational leader is, however, tasking since this leadership style is established on values and code of ethics. For instance, changing a person from being self-centered to one who minds the common interest of the group or an organization is very hard.
“Relational transparency, internalized moral perspective, self-awareness, and balanced processing” as the four ingredients of authentic leadership were evaluated using the questionnaire on page 280. Self-awareness was my strongest component as an authentic leader, while an internalized moral perspective was my lowest component. I had a higher score on balanced processing compared to relational transparency.
Overall, I registered an impressively high score, indicating that I am an authentic leader. Northouse (2013) indicates that authentic leadership is paramount since authentic leaders understand their strong and weak areas. They also understand how to make the most out of their strengths and weaknesses to the benefit of the entire organization. Authentic leaders seek other people’s opinions in the process of making decisions. They also grow strong relationships with their subordinates by talking openly with their followers about their feelings and what motivates them (Northouse, 2013).
I have gained immensely in my understanding of leadership traits, skills, styles, and behavior upon completion of this reflective journal. My overall evaluation indicates that I will be a great team leader and team member during my time in an institution of higher learning. I will also be an impressive team leader and team member at the workplace, going with my strong leadership traits and the knowledge I have acquired through this reflective journal.
I am now in a position to tell what is expected of a good leader and how to handle group members and become a successful leader in the future. I have emerged as better in dealing with people than with technical activities or things. Although I consider relationships as important, it has emerged that I focus more on achieving the goals of a group. I, therefore, intend to improve the trait of relationship leadership to enhance the quality of my group’s outcome. The fact that I understand my strong leadership skills and traits and my weak areas will see me manage future groups more effectively. I also stand the chance of enhancing my weak areas by seeking assistance from other group members.
Mujtaba, BG & Alsua, CJ 2011, ‘Task and relationship orientation of Americans: a study of gender, age, and work experience’, Journal of Behavioral Studies in Business, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 1-12.
Mujtaba, BG & Kaifi, BA 2010, ‘Management skills of Afghan respondents: a comparison of technical, human and conceptual differences based on gender’, Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 1-14.
Northouse, PG 2013, Leadership: Theory and practice, 6th edition, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA.