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.