Personal Philosophy of Leadership Being a leader is more than simply holding a leadership position or having the ability to lead. Everyone is capable of being a leader, but not everyone exercises his or her leadership abilities. Each person’s idea of leadership is different. My idea of leadership has developed over time, and being a member of the President’s Leadership Class has helped me develop my philosophy of leadership further than what it was two months ago. My personal philosophy of leadership is the ability to effect change through leading by example, taking initiative, and encouraging others.
There have been many things that have affected my philosophy of leadership. Something that has affected me as a leader is my values. One of my core values is responsibility. As a leader, it is important I understand what to do and what is expected of me. When I am responsible as a leader, those I am trying to lead are more willing to do what I ask them to do. Another of my values is respect. In the past, I am always nice and listen to the ideas of others even if they are not the easiest people to be around. In my experience, it has been easier to earn the respect of my constituents when I respect them as well.
My core beliefs will continue to influence my behavior as a leader in the future. The development of my leadership philosophy has also been a result of watching my leaders. One leader that has affected me a lot has been my father. When my mom was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, he did all he could to help out. He took constant care of my mom, continued to work from home, and helped me with school without ever complaining. I try to behave as he did in my leadership roles. I do everything willingly and help out as much as I can.
I aim to keep negativity out of already stressful situations and try not to complain. My leaders at school, both good and bad, have also affected my style of leadership. They helped me learn when I need to sit back and let those I am trying to lead take charge and when I need to take charge of the situation. Watching the bad leaders do things I did not agree with encouraged me to challenge to process and change things when I became a leader. There have also been people who have motivated me to be a leader, especially my high school orchestra director.
At the end of my junior year, my director called me into his office and told me he would be moving me from the first violin section to the second violin section. He said he knew I was quiet in the back of the first violin section, but he could see I possessed the leadership skills necessary to sit in the front of the second violin section. This really motivated me to try and make him proud the next year at the front of the section. Many different aspects of my life have affected my leadership philosophy. I want others to be able to see my leadership philosophy at work.
To do this, it is important that I be able to connect with those I seek to lead, as “The Relational Leadership Model” states, “Relationships are the focal point of the leadership process” (Komives, Lucas, & McMahon, p. 74). One way I hope to develop a relationship with my followers is by “Modeling the Way” (Kouzes, Posner, 2008). I will do this by clarifying my values and leading by example. Clarifying values is important because “To earn and sustain personal credibility, one must be able to clearly articulate deeply held beliefs” (Kouzes, Posner, 2008, p. 9). By clarifying my values, those I seek to lead will understand my mission and will believe I have a goal in mind. Leading by example will help me have a better relationship with my followers because it creates “a climate that makes it possible for everyone to align themselves with shared values” (Kouzes, Posner, 2008, p. 38). When leaders do not practice what they preach they loose their credibility, and I want my followers to be able to take me seriously. I would like my followers to be able to connect with me and to align their values with mine.
Through “Modeling the Way”, I want to be able to have a good relationship with my followers. My philosophy of leadership will also affect my future as a leader. I will place an emphasis on my values because “a conscious focus on values should be at the core of any leadership development effort” (Cilente, p. 45). One of my future principles I lead with will be to make sure everyone in the organization’s values align with mine. How would I be able to make any process when everyone in the group wants something else?
This is something I had never considered before being a member of the President’s Leadership Class. The President’s Leadership Class has helped influence my philosophy of leadership. I have learned my strengths and weaknesses of leadership through the class. After doing my first reflection paper, I learned that my weakest area of leadership is “Inspiring a Shared Vision. ” This helped shape my leadership philosophy by making me realize the importance of sharing my aspirations with the group. I have learned that I need to be louder with my thoughts. This is one area I intend to improve on n my future as a leader. I plan on doing this through practice. I may be uncomfortable at first, but, eventually, it will come naturally to me. The Social Change Model of Leadership says, “A leader is not necessarily a person who holds some formal position of leadership or who is perceived as a leader by others…Leadership cannot be described simply in terms of the behavior of the individual” (Komives, Wagner, p. 45). My definition of leadership is the ability to create a positive change in society and be able to get others excited to see that change.
I want to be the embodiment of that definition to others. When others look at me, I want them to be able to say I set an example, have clear attainable views, and make everyone feel like they are contributing to the organization. My personal philosophy of leadership is very important to how I conduct myself as a leader. It has taken years to develop to what it is today and it is constantly changing. Many aspects of my life have affected my philosophy of leadership from my values, to leaders in my life, and people who have motivated me. I will continue to develop my leadership with philosophy as I go through new leadership experiences.
References Komives, Susan R. , Lucas, Nance, & McMahon, Timothy R. (2006). Exploring Leadership: For College Students Who Want to Make a Difference. Jossey-Bass. Komives, Susan R. , & Wagner, Wendy. (2009). Leadership for a Better World: Understanding the Social Change Model of Leadership Development. John Wiley & Sons. Kouzes, James M. , & Posner, Barry Z. (2008). The Student Leadership Challenge: Five Practices for Exemplary Leaders. San Francisco, California. Jossey-Bass.
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