X or Y? … Or Z?

As you reflect on the assumptions of Theory X and Y, how would you describe your own philosophy of leadership?

Both theory X and theory Y are very precise with their attributes and ideas, if you will. Although the text presents the theories in a way that seems as though you can only be one, I believe that I have attributes and ideals of both. However, with that being said, if I had to make a decision I would say that I fall in line with theory Y. I do believe that people really don’t mind work and that it becomes natural because of the emphasis that has been placed on work by our society. When discussing this, we can also take motivation into play. I believe that everyone can be self motivated, it just takes time and situations for some to realize what their motivation is. From situations I have seen, it often seems like those who are “unmotivated” just need forms or encouragement and support to find their motivation.

Of the three styles of leadership, what style comes easiest for you?  Describe how people respond to you when you use the style.

For me, the style of leadership that comes easiest to me is democratic leadership. I think that because this leadership style is the one that I use most often, people respond to me well. I love working with people and truly getting to know and understand them, not as above them, but as working side by side with them. Looking back a different leadership moments in my life, I would say that because I use the democratic leadership approach, I am constantly gaining new relationships with people and that is one of my favorite parts of life, meeting new people and maintaining a relationship with them. People that I have worked with when using the democratic leadership style seem to be more trusting and willing to build that relationship as well.

One of the aspects of democratic leadership is to help subordinates take responsibility for themselves.  How do you assess your own ability to help others help themselves?

I think that it is important for people to be observant and take responsibility for themselves. I think that I can best explain how I go about approaching this by an example. This past summer I was an Orientation Leader for all incoming freshmen. Throughout their two day orientation, I had a group of about 14 students who I was constantly working with and getting to know. In this role I found it particularly important to maintain my typical democratic leadership approach because I wanted them to see me as “just another student” because in all reality, I am. I have been through what they are about to experience (i.e. college, moving, roommates, classes, and change) and want to be an approachable resource for them. Although I never really lectured them or spoke to them in a way that made me seem superior, there were certain topics that I wanted to stress to them, and this is where subordinates taking responsibility comes into play. One approach I had was to present them with confrontational situations they may find themselves in while at college, whether it be roommate issues or disagreeing with a classmate on a heated topic in class. I think by forewarning them of these situations that may happen to them and to encourage confrontation is a specific way that I allow them to take responsibility. By guiding them and sharing real situations that I have been in personally allowed me to encourage responsibility within themselves.

List three specific activities you could use to improve your leadership style.

1) Being able to recognize when my leadership style needs to change from democratic to authoritarian.

2) Learn how to effectively guide conversations when they are proving to be dragging on, going off topic or time is limited.

3) Always continuing to expand my knowledge on leadership so I can constantly adjust accordingly depending on the leadership opportunities I am presented.

Others’ Opinions

Who did you interview?  What did you learn from your interviews? Be sure to share two or three recurring themes from the interviews.

The three people that I interviewed were an old coworker from a high school job, a coworker from a college job, and a good friend. I really enjoyed getting feedback from all of them, as I had never really done so before. I learned from my co-worker from high school that although I was often shy and timid, she saw leadership qualities in me from a young age. I really appreciated her insight as she has known me since I was 14 years old. I feel as though my leadership abilities did not come to surface until I came to college, so the fact that she recognized them years prior to that really shocked me. One of my co-workers from college talked about how no matter the situation that I am in, I always tend to check on how others are doing throughout any moments of leadership, as many of my leadership opportunities have taken place as an event planner. Another interviewee said that I know not only when to step down and give someone else the reins, but I also give them the proper guidance that they may need. One of the most prominent recurring themes from my interviews was that everyone seemed to agree that I stay calm no matter how hectic any situations may be. Thinking back to situations that I have worked with each one of these individuals, rather it be executing a Thanksgiving dinner for 200 people or managing a staff of 20 people in a busy kitchen, I enjoyed the fact that each interviewee found that I stay calm, and after their feedback, I definitely see it as one of my strengths that I had never considered before.

 

Which self assessment did you take?  What were your results?  What did you learn?  Do you agree or disagree with your results?  Please explain.

I decided to take the Values in Action Inventory of Strengths. My five highest strengths were fairness, teamwork,honesty, judgement and kindness. My five lowest strengths were love of learning, spirituality, self-regulation, appreciation of beauty and excellence, and love. I learned that and came to a realization that there are many adjectives to describe ones strengths. Some happen to be used more often than others, but this specific test had a ride range of options that I may have never considered to use before while describing ones strengths (ie zest or prudence). It’s not that I disagree with the end results that I was given, however I do not think that this was a valuable test to truly find my strengths. What bothered me the most were the multiple questions regarding religion, and as a non-religious person, I found it troubling that this is now considered one of my “weaknesses”, if you will, just because I do not find religion a necessity in my life. I also truly do not believe that the questions were balanced or fair in their wording. As a future educator, having “love of learning” as the last description on my results was kind of troubling. I quickly realized that most of the questions regarding education or learning were always based on treading, and because reading and comprehension have been difficult for my since a young age, it is not a task I enjoy, but I don’t think that that fact alone can determine whether or not I have the love of learning.

 

Traits!

Which of the traits in listed in the text do you believe you possess and which do you think you should develop?  How should you develop these?  As you’re preparing your responses, consider if you agree or disagree with any of the traits or if perhaps you have traits that are not noted in the text but are necessary for successful leadership.

There were four traits that I believe that I possess  strongly which are communicative, concern for subordinates’ interests, participative and respectful. With that, there were also three traits that I believe that could really use some developing within myself which are innovative, confidence builder and diplomatic. To develop being more innovative I would say that I just need to practice using my creative side. I know that I have it in me, but often times it takes more time than I prepare for to be innovative and to find and use my inner creativity. One of the main reasons I feel as though I could use some work being a confidence builder is because sometimes I lack confidence myself in being a leader, and without self confidence it can be difficult to be a confidence builder to others. By using my leadership abilities often, I will be able to work towards being more confident therefore being able to help others be confident. Last, but not least, being diplomatic is something that I would like to develop. The main reason that I chose this as a developing trait is because throughout my leadership experiences in the past I have had some trouble with being aware of my tone in which I speak, therefore I sometimes would be offensive or insensitive towards others.

One trait that they mentioned briefly throughout the text but was not a part of the 18 traits and I thought that should have been included was integrity. Prior to coming to college I had been in some leadership roles but nothing to were we blatantly spoke about leadership skills or traits. It wasn’t until I came to CI that I truly came to know and understand what integrity means. I quickly go involved after my first year at the university and integrity quickly became a large part of my life and a trait that I constantly work to incorporate in my every day life. I was rather shocked that it didn’t make the list, but it is one that I would say is necessary for successful leadership

Leading: Past, Present and Future

  1. On what occasions have you been asked to lead? Why?  How did you respond?

There have been several occasions that I have been asked to lead, and I think that one of the main reasons that I have been asked to lead over the years is because of the experiences that I have had in the past. I have been asked to lead while in the classroom, while at work and in social settings (my private life). Reflecting back on it now (not having thought about it at the time), I think that I tend to respond pretty positively and handle all situations as best as I can. Often times there can be a lot pressure attached to being a leader, and I feel as though I tend to act positively while under pressure.

2. What types of roles do you anticipate being asked to (or elect to) fulfill (or elect to) in the future?

Some types of roles that I anticipate on fulfilling in the future are executive position within my school’s PTA, position within the school board at the district wide level and administration positions within grades K-1.

3. In what situations do you feel most prepared to lead?  Least prepared?  Which of the leadership approaches in the chapter best explain your preparation or lack of preparation?

The situations that I feel most prepared to lead are situations when I am able to be a role model rather than any sort of dictator or “nay sayer”, if you will. I feel prepared after I have experience in the area in which I am being expected to lead. I feel least prepared to lead when I have no understanding of the situation or role that I am expected to be leading in. The leadership approach that best explains my preparation would be “Leadership is a Relationship”. I was surprised that I did not score higher in this area when I took the Conceptualizing Leadership Questionnaire.

4. What conceptualization of leadership (from chapter 1) most appeals to you and why?  Which one least appeals to you?

I truly believe that life revolves around relationships and the ways that they are viewed, approached and maintained in ones life, and I think that falls in line when pertaining to leadership as well; that is why I think that “Leadership is a Relationship” appeals to me most.  Relationships are an important thing to be aware of and one of the main reasons I believe that to be true is because a relationship involves more than one person therefore making communication just as important. Although all of these conceptualizations were all interesting, the one that appeals to me the least would be “Leadership is a Skill”. I found this the least appealing because I believe that leadership is much more than that.