I want to be a leader driven by a bigger purpose rather than things that give me temporary satisfaction such as money, material goods, recognition, or power. The value that drives me is understanding. That to me means understanding ideas, understanding self, understanding others, fostering a mutual understanding among people and encouraging the search for understanding. I believe that understanding is the foundation to success in life. To have healthy relationships, it is necessary to understand each other, to have compassion, and to be open to others’ perspectives and experiences (compassion and openness being two of my supporting values). To be successful in school or work, it is necessary to have this open mind and curiosity (another supporting value) to constantly seek to enrich yourself, to take on different perspective, to sharpen curiosity and problem-solving skills. Another supporting value that I want to add that is not on my chart is authenticity. I believe that it is vital that we are all honest, hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity, and deepest level of humility. Because I see people as the best outlets for knowledge and learning, to have honesty and authenticity would foster trust in our quest for truth. As a leader, I want my ultimate driving point be understanding. I will be asking myself, “Is what I’m doing enriching my or others’ learning?” In my future career in human resources, for example, I want to promote an inclusive, open community in the workplace so that employees can better work together and work on each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I will constantly assessing if my behaviors are promoting this value, or straying from it.
Leadership is the influence a person projects onto others through deliberate responses to situations and understanding of people that allow the entire group to move toward a desired direction. For example, in Mumford’s Model, a leader is to have knowledge of a certain situation (individual attributes), apply that to appraise a situation’s problems and impact on people (competencies skills), and finally successfully implement the strategy for a successful solution to the problem (leadership outcomes). This is would be the leader deliberately choosing a response to a situation, being able to understand and move his followers, and finally achieving his goal. My value in understanding is clearly reflected here- understanding the situation, the behaviors necessary, and the needs of followers are all important for success.
The trait approach is a set of personality straits that allow a person to rise up to the status of a leader. These traits are inherent in leaders, and are clearly seen by their followers. These traits can be easily noticed by followers or other observers and summed up in one word. For example, Northouse identifies the major leader traits to be his/her intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability. It describes who the leader is, rather than what the leader does. This is how the trait approach is unique from other leadership theories- traits are intuitive and easy to identify. When we ask someone, “Why is this person a leader?” The usual, quick response is “Well, he’s charismatic, confident, etc..” This theory also states that, since these are inherent personality traits, leaders are not usually developed, but born. It also does not take in account of the situation- that could imply that regardless of the situation, leaders are leaders. This makes it difficult to train people to be leaders.
In the Leadership Trait Questionnaire, I found that between my own scores and the average scores ascribed to me by others, there were some discrepancies. For example, there was a large discrepancy in my “Self-confident” score where on average, others thought I was much more (0.8) self-confident than I think I am. I also saw discrepancies among raters: some raters gave me a 5s for “friendly,” whereas