Personal Leadership Philosophy: Cooperation and Empathy

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Leadership turns out to be a significant element in classmate and business interactions. Some people consider historical examples and develop their vision regarding past achievements and contributions. Many individuals pay close attention to current circumstances and available resources to understand what work should be done. Still, in any case, knowledge about leadership theories and styles cannot be ignored because it helps become more effective in a professional role, problem-solving, decision-making, and career growth. I will investigate the differences between transformational, transactional, autocratic, and servant leaders and compare their major characteristics to come up with a clear statement for my leadership philosophy. My strengths in communication and analysis and emotional intelligence weaknesses might affect a self-assessment to define what leadership style is appropriate for my work. Although empathy remains a serious part of a cooperation process, I will promote my philosophy of cooperative leadership that is free from redundant emotions and centered on change and motivation.

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Theoretical Background

Today, leaders can improve their skills and knowledge in the most qualified ways, relying on the existing theories and styles. The first leadership theories were officially introduced in the 19th century to recognize the importance of inborn or acquired talents (Singh, 2020). With time, new concepts and paradigms emerged to prove the role of emotional intelligence, change management, self-assessment, or the level of responsibility (Issah, 2018). However, despite a variety of approaches and methods of developing professional relationships, some definitions cannot be changed. As such, a leader is defined as an individual who uses social power to affect other people, usually the members of the same team, in a specific direction (Singh, 2020). Leadership, in its turn, is characterized by multiple definitions as the ability, behavior, process, or even art (Harrison, 2018). In this paper, leadership will be explained as the process of influencing people that requires the development of professional behaviors, knowledge, and abilities.

There are many reasons for an organization to choose a leader. A team gets some time to understand if any problems prevent success or certain requirements to be met. Each situation may be challenged by instability in relationships, team complexity, a crisis, unclear or unmet needs, or previous failures (Singh, 2020). Thus, a good leader is a solution for modern companies, and the choice of a style depends on how well a theory is recognized and implemented. The most commonly used theories of leadership are the Great Man theory, the behavioral theory, the contingency or situational theory, and the participative theory. Thomas Carlyle offered the Great Man theory in 1866 to examine the behaviors of great leaders and show that innate traits helped them succeed (Harrison, 2018). In the 21st century, this theory was attributed to additional qualities like intelligence, self-confidence, and sociability and became a well-known trait theory.

Each theory has its specific characteristics that attract the attention of people with a limited number of resources and skills. For example, the contingency or situation theory examines the context in which a leader works. The main contributors in this field are Hershey, Blanchard, Evans, and Fiedler, who analyzed how the personality of the leader should fit the situation. Participative or distributed theories prove that leaders must develop their powers in a team to enhance collaboration and suggest to employees a fair conversation (Harrison, 2018). The behavioral theory focuses on how leaders behave and what actions they choose. All these theories demonstrate the necessity of choosing the correct leadership styles.

Modern leaders are free to implement their leadership styles to contact employees and run their businesses. Depending on their knowledge and skills, people can become various leaders, including autocratic, transactional, transformational, democratic, visionary, or laissez-faire. Authoritarian leaders prefer direct supervision over communication and open discussions where tough decisions are made and never argued openly (Tang, 2019). These leaders are similar to transactional ones, who use their supervision and optimization within the frames of a particular system, order, and structure. Transformational leaders believe in the power of change and use motivation and personal example to achieve high job performance and raise the team’s interest. Sometimes, this style is confused with the democratic approach, where support and innovation are promoted to enhance shared decision-making. Visionary leaders are also interested in innovation but want to achieve progress and clear outcomes instead of satisfying employees. Leaders may be laissez-faire and allow their subordinates to make decisions and apply their freedom in all processes or participative (Tang, 2019). Any style has enough grounds to be accepted by any organization, and it is an individual solution of every leader how to be introduced to a team.


Each leadership theory and style affected my understanding of how people must establish relationships in the workplace. It is not enough to learn the peculiarities of every approach but recognize their differences and take the most important lessons into account and introduce personal philosophies. There are many factors according to which leadership styles vary, and the recognition/application of emotional intelligence is one of them. According to Issah (2018), emotional intelligence is a critical ability for leaders to use, understand, and manage personal emotions and avoid adverse reactions and negative behaviors at work. For example, when leaders rely on their feelings, servant, coach, or democratic styles are preferred. People have to divide their professional knowledge and skills from personal attitudes and need not mess up with organization and control. Compared to democratic leaders who try to make sure that the voice of every employee is equally heard, servant leaders share their powers to promote equality (Harrison, 2018). In other words, the choice of a leadership style is predetermined by the existing sources of power and the level of emotional intelligence that defines how power is used.

When a leader does not want to focus on feelings and stay as rational as possible at the workplace, new leadership styles emerge. Instead of supporting and understanding employees, it is necessary to endorse control and order. Examples of such styles are transactional, visionary, or autocratic. However, even in this emotion-free group, certain differences cannot be ignored. To introduce a strong leadership philosophy, I plan to take some elements from each theory and style. For a visionary leader, it is necessary to focus on progress and inspire employees. Autocratic leaders may hide their emotions to be able to control all decisions in a work environment. Cooperation may be possible in this way of leading people, but its distinctive feature is a high-level responsibility of one person for results. Control and responsibilities are also vital for transactional leaders, with the only difference being that this style is performance- not result-focused. It is necessary to divide responsibilities, exchange information, and complete tasks in the best possible way.

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Understanding a theoretical background of leadership practices has to be promoted while creating an individual philosophical approach. According to the trait theory, leaders can be inborn and rely on their skills in organizing business and human resources (Harrison, 2018). However, I do not believe in this idea and want to hope that any person deserves a chance to become a great leader even without several inborn qualities. Therefore, I reject this theory and prefer the behavioral theory founded in the 1950s (Tang, 2019). Researchers pay close attention to what leaders should do on their job and choose appropriate behaviors and skills (Tang, 2019). Observations and descriptive questionnaires are effective tools to gather information and learn how to succeed as a leader. Finally, I apply the contingency theory, proposing that “there is no optimum style of leadership,” and it is normal to use different styles, depending on the situation (Harrison, 2018, p. 27). I do not want to be dependent on certain standards and requirements but choose the way that meets my interests and the needs of my team concerning available resources, current situations, and vision.

Personal Strengths and Weaknesses

Self-reflection and self-assessment are the two types of tools with the help of which leaders recognize their strengths and weaknesses and clarify if they have enough abilities to succeed in the chosen area of business. According to Chapman and Giri (2017), self-awareness is a key requirement for professional leadership development that may be increased through the application of different self-assessment tools. On the one hand, it is possible to take a quiz or choose statements ( and obtain personal data for evaluation. Sometimes, leaders are not able to identify their strong qualities and problematic areas, and the opinions of different people contribute to self-evaluation. Thus, it is recommended to ask people for feedback about the quality of work and proficient effectiveness.

Although my self-assessment is subjective, I believe that my strengths allow me to become a good leader. I am good at written and oral communication: I know how to write a letter, promote an intervention online, and attract the attention of many people by sharing a story and delivering some information. I can apply my analytical skills to examine an event, predict its outcomes, and explain its importance or futility. Finally, I always strive for innovation and new knowledge in the sphere of management. Today, not only companies but countries share their experiences and offer interesting examples to organize a business. I believe that the existing cultural variety and the uniqueness of ideas have to be examined by good leaders and properly implemented with time.

At the same time, I realize that I have some areas to be improved. For example, I am challenged by poorly managed emotional intelligence because it is always hard for me to control emotions in the workplace. I demonstrate my negative attitudes toward people or processes I do not like. It is hard for me to avoid conflicts and understand the position of a person when I have my statement and belief. As a result, I am not confident that my feedback on someone’s work is effective and productive. When leaders have doubts about something, they can hardly become good examples for other people.

Self-Assessment in Leadership Philosophy

Despite several obtained and properly developed skills, not all individuals can implement their knowledge in leadership practice. I plan to never think about my strengths as something divided or separate but as an overall contribution to the growth of my personality. I am good at communicating, but it should not mean that I support the ideas of democratic leadership where equal responsibilities and cooperation are always supported. I like analyzing reports and observing the achievements of past years, but I do not want to follow a transactional or visionary manner only in my leadership. I am a supporter of lifelong learning, which proves my readiness to change styles, focus on various performance areas, and promote a cooperative leadership theory.

My strong qualities can be used to manage employees’ activities and come to the same conclusion during mutual discussions. My style is somewhere between democratic, transformational, and transactional approaches because I never forget about control in a team but encourage change and public opinion. Regarding the cultural variety of the staff and the inability to make all people demonstrate the same performance levels, it is not always easy to toss between several methods of work. My creative thinking and pursuit of innovation have to be enough to take the first steps and reveal how to create an efficient leader.

Plan to Deal with Weaknesses

As well as I need to use my knowledge and skills in creating a unique leadership philosophy, I have to understand how to address and improve my weaknesses. I experience problems with controlling my emotions, a lack of confidence, and poor conflict management abilities. All these traits can cause negative actions in the workplace and worsen the relationships between employees. Therefore, I need a plan to address them but stay loyal to my cooperative leadership philosophy. Issah (2018) admits that emotional intelligence is an important ingredient of cooperation and teamwork that increases morale. If I am not an emotionally intelligent leader, I can put my team under a threat of inefficiency. That is why my next step is to learn how to employ my skills in establishing strong social ties. As such, I can organize daily meetings where I listen to my employees and analyze their ideas without demonstrating my emotions and feelings at the moment.

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The next step to high-quality leadership is to strengthen conflict management practices and advance my confidence. Following the Great Man theory, I will address the examples of weak and strong leaders who were confident, like Hitler or Bezos, or had self-doubts at the beginning, like Kennedy or Lincoln. I will see how these individuals coped with their problematic skills and benefited with confidence. I do not believe that this step is enough, but it is a good starting point for other changes. With time, my plan will expand to open communication with employees and signifying my opinions. I will reduce the impact of feelings in my cooperation and learn how to say “no” to unnecessary emotions at work.

Leadership Philosophy Statement

Analyzing my strong and weak qualities, theoretical knowledge, and personal experiences contributes to my leadership philosophy statement. A good leader with such a stock of skills focuses on cooperation with employees but never demonstrates redundant emotions. This approach helps avoid unpredictable conflicts and misunderstandings, promote change, and select relevant motivational factors. I will combine the elements of several leadership styles (transformational, democratic, and transitional) and implement the behavioral theory basics. First, I see myself as a leader who talks to employees and uses facts, not emotions. Instead of showing my disappointment about an overdue deadline, I find out the reasons and offer alternative solutions. Second, I want to manage conflicts if there is no chance to avoid them at the workplace. If I control my emotions, I become a good example for other individuals. When a disagreement occurs, I investigate the situation, listen to all participants, and choose a solution that is the best for the company. Finally, I cooperate with my team, underline equality, and make them understand that the final decision, responsibilities, and rewards are on my account. I provide employees with resources and goals and examine performance.


Most people believe that they can become good leaders if they follow their interests, select appropriate teams, and create unique business plans. Instead of analyzing the existing theories and styles of leadership, individuals prefer to introduce their approaches and prove their correctness. My leadership philosophy statement promotes cooperation and motivation free from emotions and conflicts. I am sure of the effectiveness of this decision because it is based on my strong communication and analytical skills and diminishes the worth of emotional intelligence, which is my weakness. I do not want to say that this statement could last long because I plan to study and refine my abilities. There are many solid theories and styles of leadership, and the more I learn, the more I get as a leader. Still, regardless of my experience, I will always underline the power of cooperation and motivation in my leadership philosophy.


Chapman, A. L., & Giri, P. (2017). Learning to lead: Tools for self-assessment of leadership skills and styles. In P. Godbole, D. Burke, & J. Alyott (Eds.), Why hospitals fail: Between theory and practice (pp. 137-148). Springer.

Harrison, C. (2018). Leadership theory and research: A critical approach to new and existing paradigms. Springer.

Issah, M. (2018). Change leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. Sage Open, 8(3). Web.

Singh, A. K. (2020). Social psychology (2nd ed.). PHI Learning.

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Tang, K. N. (2019). Leadership and change management. Springer.

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