The position and role of a leader is very significant in the personal and professional setting of an individual. Through my time in professional setting, I have realised that leaders are the ones who have the power to convey about a positive diploma of change in the team and organisational structure. My Journey has motivated me to focus on a number of aspects such as self-awareness, team building capabilities and general leadership skills. My schooling including my graduation in Mechanical engineering and my ongoing post-graduation degree in Management helped me in recognizing that there is a difference between the theory that we examine in textbooks and the real-life situations that arise in the workplace.
This essay identifies my current strengths and areas for personal and professional development as a leader. I have created this Personal development plan by drawing on my own personal experience, participation in classroom team activities, improved self-awareness, assessment questionnaires that I undertook within the lecture room and some reference material that I have identified for the subject. I have also attached a self-reflective learning Journal that I maintained over the course of 10 weeks.
After completing my Mechanical Engineering from Gujarat Technological University, India, I wanted to experience the professional world and applied for a few reputed companies where I could gain quality skills. I started working for Vodafone UK as a Customer Service executive and this helped me in getting acquainted with the work that is conducted at intermediate level. I interacted with clients from different cultures and backgrounds and understood different business dynamics. After working there for a year, I thought it was the correct time for me to expand my skills as a leader. My experience of working in an Automobile company, Bajaj Auto, as a Marketing and Sales executive helped me in understanding the basics of team work.
Initially I started as an intern, but eventually I was appointed to manage a team of 5 people and evaluate their performance on monthly basis. My tenure as a Marketing Head in this company, gave me an opportunity to act as a team leader and I came to realize the importance of leadership skills necessary in the workplace. I worked approximately 2 years for the company and this experience as a leader and a learner was a career highlight for me. Currently, I am pursuing my Masters in Management from Macquarie Business School in Sydney where I am constantly learning and growing in the company of people from different backgrounds.
My experience throughout the years has helped me to comprehend the difference between the Traditional style of leadership and the Modern style of leadership. During my early experience in the workplace, the leaders were focussed more on their authoritative power and their predominant status in the company. I observed this while working as an executive for Vodafone UK but as I proceeded ahead with working for other companies and had to take up the role of a leader, I understood that today the idea of “leader” and “leadership” has experienced a transformational change. When I Joined Bajaj Auto, I understood that the company expected high standards from me. I aspired to be an inspirational leader who could lead his team and subordinates forward in an agreeable way. Consequently, my leadership approach was based on teamwork and effective communication.
I took up the role of a Transformational leader who was not the same as the conventional or traditional sort of leader. I made a point to concentrate on the key qualities and capabilities of all the members of the team so that we can grow together as a whole and as an organization. Today, while pursuing my Masters in Management and regularly participating in group activities has made me realize that the success of a leader doesn’t rely solely on him but it also depends on his colleagues and followers.
My career objective is to become an influential leader who can make an important contribution to the organization. I aspire to be a leader who can focus on the necessities and requirements of all the stakeholders and partners of the organization. While going about as a leader, I want to ensure that I can incorporate an ethical approach with the goal to achieve a positive change in the company I will work for in the near future.
My experience in both academic and professional scenario has been crucial. I accept, the present qualities that I have in relation to self-awareness, teamwork and leadership are because of the profoundly important experience that I have picked up in the previous years. Be that as it may, I believe that despite everything there is scope for me to polish my skills as a leader because the organizational setting is experiencing transformational change constantly.
Deriving from my learning journal, I scored 64 in the Self-Awareness test conducted in the class. I have been able to assess my own performance and my team’s performance in the past due to my ‘Self-Awareness’ skill. To be honest, I used to struggle initially, but with time I was able to set standards against which I was able to assess my performance as a leader and as an individual. I believe there’s still time for me to judge my performance in the organisational context.
When Interacting with others, I always do my best to wait and sit patiently even if I want the conversation to move along. In the category of listening test conducted in the class, I scored 65. Deriving from that, I am fairly tolerant. From an organisational context, this trait is important to practice as listening shows engagement. It helps you build empathy skills and such level of engagement helps you grow as a leader and builds trust on the other side.
My experience as a leader has been exceptionally significant for me throughout the years. I have seen various styles of leadership in the organizational environment. While working as a Marketing Head, my skills were put to test as it was the first opportunity that I got to exhibit my leadership skills. I embraced the transformational leadership style and ensured that my team had enough freedom to be innovative and increase value of the organization in their own specific manner.
My educational and professional experience helped me in understanding the importance of communication in business. I believe I need to strengthen and reinforce my communication approach so that every member of my team feels included. I have formed the below personal leadership action plan that can assist me with growing my inactive abilities and capabilities as a leader.
My planning model basically focusses on my leadership capability, communication abilities, and team building skills. By improving my skills in relation to these aspects, I can enhance my leadership approach in the dynamic business environment.In the following section, I will state things I can do in the following month, and things I can do over the next 6 months to enhance my leadership approach. I will then state a personal leadership aspiration for 5 years from now.
Over the next month, I wish to focus on gaining the trust of the people I lead and work with. I wish to be a Focus-type leader. Both academically and professionally I have been under situations where I was responsible for leading an idea. While monitoring the progress, there are many tasks to be done and in the past I have delegated my team some tasks that aren’t very important. If I assign something that isn’t really important, then I am losing some credibility. My team will start losing faith in my judgement and the next time I assign someone work, they might not be as willing to do it.
Personally, I also think I need stability. With the goals I have, I can plan further ahead but I need to take a longer view at what I will do. This will assist me with being more responsible for my life and have an increasingly steady future.Likewise in the following month, I think I can be trustful by being there for others when they need me. At the moment, I believe I don’t think I do that enough. I am so centered around my own issues that I don’t feel like I am as supportive as I can be. I need to ask my colleagues at university and work about feedback that can be useful and should strive to improve more.
In the next six months, I believe I can work on enhancing my communication approach. While the groundwork can begin in the first month itself, there is much more that I can accomplish in half a year. I have to chip away at the manner in which I speak with individuals from various backgrounds, or at least work on my facial expressions around them. I don’t think I have placed enough idea into this previously and I think it is an area that will take some effort to improve upon.
During this time, I will have the opportunity to interact with different individuals and this would assist me with enhancing my communication approach. Also, the current Masters of management course would enable me to work in groups and therefore I would understand the mentality of various members of the team. This would help me in understanding the procedures and strategies I can use later on to collaborate with various colleagues.
Five years from now, I would like to learn and gain proficiency of a new language. That will clearly take some time, however that could expand my scope as a leader. While studying and working, I obviously deal with people speaking different languages. I believe that by being able to speak to others in their language would add a regard level in my work.
Obviously learning the basics of a new dialect will take time, but I think in the long run I will be able to work on my team building skills. In my university, I have encountered several instances when international students refrain from joining a team or sharing their ideas since they are used to being in their own ethnic clusters. But if you try and speak with them, they get comfortable about working within groups.
With my current course in session, I will be working on various academic assessments and presentations that would enable me to interact with people from various cultures and backgrounds. This kind of exposure would assist me in team building, communication, and leadership skills. These realistic actions would allow me to work on my existing capabilities as a leader.At work or in university, to measure my leadership attributes, I would use a 360 degree feedback mechanism with the goal that all the members within the team can give their responses to my leadership style.
It would assist me in understanding whether I am viably ready to lead a group of individuals or not. These basic measuring pointers are appropriate for my case as I can identify the key leadership areas that I further need to work upon so as to be an effective leader in the business environment. I will need to monitor the progress of this action plan on a regular basis so that I could improve my core leadership ability.
I have a lifetime over which I can plan and develop my personal leadership development plan . These key prompt actions required are more of a careful evaluation of where I am right now, planning a clear roadmap and getting started. I will utilize all of my accessible resources, educational and professional experiences to gain knowledge into how leadership process works. This when added to my efforts stated above, will give me a persistent leadership development result, and will enable me to lead more viably.