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1. What did you learn from the presentations in class? List 3 main points.
Group process theories focus on how a leader contributes to the group effectiveness as he is responsible for motivating the group and leading it to the goal. In group it is natural for the people to follow the suit of a leader and it is important to have a good leader for the group effectiveness.
Communication Abilities are important as people are working in a group. The coordination of the group depends on effective and clear communication. All the members are important to improve communication but the utmost responsibility is on the shoulders of the leader.
Strategic Management and Teamwork is the hallmark of group process. The aim of forming a group is to develop teamwork and group process theories emphasis on this aspect.
2. What are the five most significant things that you learned from the course that you would utilize in your career?
There are many things I have learned from the course. The five most significant things for me are positive thinking, importance of consistency, polishing natural abilities, different styles of management and focusing on success.
Regarding positive thinking I believe that if you don’t have a positive attitude, it may be caused by your unconscious thoughts and behavior. Only with conscious effort can you improve your self-concept. Glass is half empty or half full, may give the same information but both of them convey the inner feelings of negativity or positivity. Always look at the bright side of the picture. It is only through this attitude that one can overcome the difficulties.
The importance of consistency cannot be denied. Achieving specific goals will improve your self-concept, helping you to view yourself as successful. It is said that Rome was not built in a day. Similarly in life one has to keep this in mind that it is through small steps I will reach my destination. Small targets are easy to get and they also boost the confidence, giving us new hope. This also makes us more consistent in life and ultimately successful.
The question of nature vs. education is difficult to answer. For me both are important for becoming effective leaders. Effective leaders are not simply born or made; they are born with some leadership ability and they develop it. Even if diamond is in a mine it is worthless. It becomes precious when it is worked upon. In the same manner natural abilities may be present but they need to be polished and developed. Simple natural talent is not enough, particularly in this age of fierce competition.
From this course I have learnt different styles of management. The managers with Theory X have attitudes tend to have a negative, pessimistic view of employees and display more coercive, autocratic leadership styles using external means of controls, such as threats and punishment. They are authoritative and tend to manage their work by command. They do not get respect of their workers. On the other hand another breed of managers also exists. Managers with Theory Y attitudes tend to have a positive, optimistic view of employees and display more participative leadership styles using internal motivation and rewards. They manage to get their work done in a pleasant environment. They have to be careful because their soft attitude can be mistakenly considered as weakness.
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The most important thing for success is to focus on it. If you achieve five of six goals, dwell on the five and forget the one you missed. We are all going to make mistakes and experience failure. Winston Churchill defined success as the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. The difference between effective leaders and less-effective leaders is that the successful ones learn from their mistakes. They bounce back from disappointment and don’t let it affect them negatively in the future. Lou Holtz says happiness is nothing more than a poor memory for the bad things that happen to you.
3. What are the main obstacles/struggles that you feel you may experience being a leader?
I think it’s hard to look at myself and acknowledge who I really am and who I would become if I were to be in business for myself. It makes me question how I handle difficult decisions, if I would manage my employees fairly, and whether or not I would actually be successful working for myself. These questions can be answered realistically in practical situation.
In my imagination I feel that I can take difficult decisions. There are many instances in my life where I had to make a choice and I took the decision. It is sometime painful to take choices but I think that after considering the situation I can take a good, rational decision. This pain associated with difficult decisions is an obstacle that I feel I may experience being a leader.
The question of dealing fairly with employees is little bit tricky. What is fair to me may not be fair to my employee but till now my dealing with the people is fair so I could say with some confidence that I would manage my employees fairly. I may not be able to do justice all the time and this constant feeling is another obstacle that I feel I may experience being a leader.
I think at the moment it is premature to say whether or not I would actually be successful working for myself. I may work in a good manner under someone else’s management but it is difficult that I would remain so all the time. My imagination and desire for getting new things done would enable me to work successfully for myself. I have this confidence as in different situations of my life I took initiative and keeping this in mind I can say that I would be able to work successfully for myself. The fear of failure is another obstacle that I may experience being a leader.
4. Based on your emotional intelligence quiz they you took at the beginning of the course, what are some changes that you have made to improve your weaknesses? (if you have not made any changes, explain why? If you have not made any changes, the “why” should tell me more than “ I did not have time to focus on these points”)
Because this assignment asks me to look at my weaknesses, I had to take some time to decide what those are. Perhaps in my heart I knew, but I was also in denial. Part of the assignment was to complete a worksheet called “Measuring Your Emotional Intelligence.” On this sheet, I scored a 10 in self-awareness, 14 in managing emotions, 8 in motivating yourself, 19 in empathy, and 17 on social skills for a total of 68.
The lowest of my scores is on motivating yourself. I found this rather disappointing, but I understand it to be true. This is something I have always struggled with. What I am hoping is that in motivating my employees, I will motivate myself, too. If I am able to encourage them, all the while keeping in mind that I am responsible to them to ensure their livelihood. Perhaps the motivation I need are my employees, and that by motivating them, I will also be motivating myself, thus breaking the cycle that has continued for much of my life. Since I scored good in managing emotions and social skills therefore I believe that I can overcome my problem of self motivation.
I find it rather amusing how a leadership course forces one to learn more about understanding oneself in order to become a great leader, rather than learning about what makes others motivated. Of course it is important to discover how to motivate people, but in order to do that; a person must learn to be rational and understanding. A great leader must always treat people fairly and becomes ineffective if he resorts to underhanded methods or anger when dealing with employees, and customers, for that matter. In order to be the leader that I want to be, I will find ways to become a better person who is positive when times become difficult. I will do this, not only for myself, but for those who I want to lead.