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We Are All Gifted: My Philosophy of Leadership

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Leadership can be defined in many ways. Some view it as power driven and others as task driven. My view of leadership is much more personal and hinges on the concept that everyone should start off as being the ideal person. By this, I mean that we should have no preconceived notions about whether someone is good or bad. We should be more than willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt regardless of anything that we may have heard or read about them. After all, there are always two sides to a story. I also believe that to be a great leader you must not expect others to do something that you would not attempt yourself. This means that you must stay on top of the game and be as knowledgeable as you can as well as work alongside your employees. As a leader, it is my wish to inspire others to greatness rather than push them to their limits.

We Are All Gifted: My Philosophy of Leadership My leadership philosophy is “We are all gifted: search for the gifts in others and help them to develop those gifts. Lead with kindness and respect. Be honest in praise and criticism. Be strong in your beliefs but also open to change. Never forget we are all human!” We are all gifted is one of the main thoughts in my philosophy of leadership. I believe that we should always view everyone as the ideal person when we first meet them. We should not have any preconceived notions about what type of employee, colleague, or person that they will be. When we meet someone we must view them as ideal until they prove themselves otherwise. If this happens then we will work together to allow this person to grow into the person we know that they can be. We are all gifted with different talents and ideas and I want to be the type of leader who is able to influence my employees to find their talents and use them to the best of their ability. The Focus 3 Blog states that “Great leadership is about your level of influence, not your level of authority.” I feel this is a very true statement. This philosophy is greatly influenced by my Christian belief that we are all the children of God and we should respect each other as such. It is also influenced by Mother who has always taught me to be kind to others regardless of their actions toward me. She also taught me to stand tall with my chin up no matter what was going on in my life.

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My philosophy has also been influenced by my life experience. I grew up extremely poor. I was the child no one expected to succeed. I know what it is like to be on the receiving end of someone’s judgmental attitude and cruel degrading words. I made up my mind at an early age that if I ever had the chance to be in a position of leadership that I would treat others with kindness and respect. I truly have done my best to be a kind leader in the past but I have learned that there are times that you have to be stern. I always try to see things from my co-workers’ point of view as well as my own. I do not talk down to people and I respect the ideas and contributions of others. However, I am not a pushover. I do not believe sugar coating something is beneficial to anyone. I respect my co-workers’ enough to be honest. It is my desire to find common ground but if a reprimand is necessary I will not hesitate to give it. We learn from our mistakes and constructive criticism can be a great tool. My definition of leadership is the ability to lead by example and inspire others to engage in your vision. Leadership is so much more than just rules and regulations, it is an attitude. An online article in the Huffington Post stated it well “Leadership is behavior, not position.” A good leader will seek out the best in their co-workers and inspire them to find their own gifts and strengths. They will gain respect by giving respect and inspire others to join in their vision by being fair and encouraging.

Three things that I dislike about leadership are:

Being talked down to. I hate when someone talks to me like I am dumb. However, I have learned through our leadership traits test that this is just the way some people lead (Humanetrics.com, 2018). These people do not realize they are being that way they are just being sure that you completely understand exactly what they are saying. This is important to me because I am not the type of person who needs to be heard or toots my own horn and this often plays into people thinking that I am incapable.

I do not like confrontation. I will do my best to meet someone halfway and come to a compromise. I feel like it is better for everyone if we can work together to find a solution. This is not always possible though, so confrontation is sometimes necessary. This is important to me because I grew up in a household where confrontation was a given. I like to avoid it or at least try to find another way first.

I do not like criticism. Whether I am receiving it or giving it, I do not like criticism. I realize that we often need constructive criticism to grow and I agree that it is a valid need. I will try to find other ways to deal with a situation before I result to criticism. I suppose this is important to me for the same reason that confrontation is. Criticism was abundant in the home I grew up in. Luckily for me as hard as it is to believe, so was love. Three things that I like about leadership is:

Helping others to find their gifts and talents. I love being able to recognize strengths, talents, and gifts in others and helping them to recognize them too. It is beneficial for everyone when someone is putting their gifts and talents to good use. This is important to me because I like to be an encourager. I am the person who will leave a random note on your desk telling you what a great person you are.

Accomplishing a goal. There are few things that are more satisfying than working with a group of people to accomplish a shared goal. Knowing that you have managed to bring a group of diverse people together to work as one cohesive unit and that this group has been successful is a great feeling. This is important to me because when my co-workers succeed, I feel as if I have succeeded also.

Sharing knowledge. I love being able to watch others learn a new skill. It is even more amazing if I am the one who gets to teach them. I love learning and I like to instill that love in others as often as I can. I often encourage people to go back to school to learn something new. I believe that growth involves learning something new and that we are never too old to learn something new. I like being a leader. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes from leading a group of people to achieve something. Some of my weaknesses as a leader include being too nice. I often try so hard to please everyone that I make myself miserable. Another weakness if that I often overthink things. Sometimes I make things harder than they need to be because I am trying to see it form so many angles. In the future I hope to have more confidence and not second guess myself. If I have learned anything during my time in leadership positions it is that it is impossible to make everyone happy.

So, you just do your best and deal with the rest. One of my strengths is my ability to put myself in someone else’s place and see from their perspective. Another strength is my ability to deal with people. I am a people person and I seem to have a knack for diffusing volatile situations or giving bad news in a way that minimizes angry reactions. I also feel that my ability to admit when I am wrong is a strength. We all make mistakes and I feel it is best to admit your mistakes and work to correct them. I would love to take some counseling classes in the future. It is a great feeling to be able to reach someone on their level and help them understand an issue. After graduation I plan on continuing to work with students in helping obtain a work- study position as well as encourage them to stay in college. I would also like to learn more about our advisors and possibly one day apply for a position in that office. I would love to have a position where I worked more closely with the students.

The leadership characteristic that I would like to possess more of is confidence. I often second guess myself or let others make me feel like my idea is not good. I would love to have more confidence and be able to take more risks. I would also like to be better at delegating. I often feel that everyone is just as busy as I am and that it is not fair to give them more to do. This sometimes puts me in a situation of being overwhelmed. Learning to be a better delegator would help me a lot. My leadership principles are important to me because I feel that it is important as a person and a Christian to treat others the way I would want to be treated. I feel it is important to respect others and look for the best in them. I don’t want people to judge me by their first impression but I want them to give me the opportunity to show them that I can do whatever I set my mind too. Therefore, I treat others this way. It is important to me not just to give orders and set rules but to help others grow and find their own uniqueness. I will use the democratic leadership style as I lead. I will involve subordinates in making decisions and delegate authority as needed. I value the opinions and strengths of others. It takes everyone working together to be successful. I expect the team members that I work with to be as committed as I am. I value the input and ideas of others and I will be more than happy to hear them. I am very much about collaboration but I also expect to be respected as the leader. I believe that respect is a two-way street.

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