improve your own leadership development

reflect carefully upon your Module 1-3 Case Assignments and think about some major areas that you would like to improve upon for your own leadership development based on the self-assessments you have done so far in this class.

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Once you have reviewed the background materials and gained a solid understanding about the main steps and challenges of action learning, write a 4- to 5-page paper addressing the following questions:

  1. Since this is your last Case Assignment for the class, start out this assignment by reflecting on what you have found in your Module 1-3 Case Assignments. Based on your prior assignments and what you have learned so far, what do you think are some of the main areas you and/or some of the coworkers that you have written about should try to improve upon?
  2. Now turn to Chapter 1 of Pedler and Abbot (2013) and pages 41-42 of Passmore (2011) where the potential benefits of action learning is discussed. Based on your answer to Question 1 above and from these two readings, what would you hope to improve upon using an action learning program? Do you think action learning would help you improve in these areas? Explain your reasoning both with respect to the readings and the areas for improvement in your leadership that you have identified so far in this class.
  3. Go to the “Organizational Readiness for Action Learning” quiz on pages 43-44 of Pedler and Abbot (2013). Fill it out and report your results. Overall what does the quiz say about your organization’s readiness to engage in an action learning program? Do you agree with the results? What kind of challenges do you think you would face in setting up an action learning program at your organization?
  4. Finally, take a look at pages 37-38 of Passmore (2011) and Chapter 8 of Marquardt (2004), which give step-by-step guidelines on setting up an action learning program. Based on your answers to Questions 1-3, how would you design an action learning program in your workplace? Include in your answer what kind of problem your set would work on, who you would include in your set, how often you think the group should meet, and other relevant steps outlined in the required readings. Explain the reasoning for your choices and what kind of outcomes you would hope to get out of this experience.

Assignment Expectations

  • Follow the assignment instructions closely and follow all steps listed in the instructions
  • Stay focused on the precise assignment questions, don’t go off on tangents or devote a lot of space to summarizing general background materials
  • List supporting references and cite sources in proper format
  • Use appropriate writing style in essay form (organization, grammar, and spelling).
  • Include both a bibliography and in-text citations. See the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper, including pages 13-14 on in-text citations.

The following is what was written for the two previous assignments

MOD1 Leadership Development

  • Take the Values in Action (VIA) Inventory of Strengths that was discussed in the background materials. If you can find a free variation of the Strengthsfinder survey online you take this one instead, but the “official” Strengthsfinder survey from Gallup is not free. Report and discuss your results. Were your results surprising or what you expected to find?
  • Now take the Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment in Chapter 3 of Sterret (2006) as well as the Leadership Assessment in this chapter. Discuss how you scored on each of the different elements of Emotional Intelligence as well as your Leadership Assessment. Report and discuss your results. Were your results surprising or what you expected to find?
  • Now we get to the main heart of the assignment. Based on what you have learned in this module and the quizzes you took above, give some specific examples of how you will improve your leadership skills. Your examples should be based on both your results on the two quizzes, and from the required readings. Make sure to cite at least two of the required readings in your answers, and support your answers with specific results from the quizzes that you took.
  • Finally, discuss the main limitations of the quizzes you took and the concepts you read about for this module. What information is missing from the quizzes you took? What additional important aspects of leadership development are not covered in this material or quizzes? What else do you think you need to know about yourself in order to improve your leadership skills?

The results from the Values in Action (VIA) Inventory of Strengths survey revealed several strengths that were expected and a few which came as a surprise. My top strengths were gratitude, kindness and generosity, leadership traits, zest, enthusiasm, energy, and curiosity and interest in the world. The surprise out of this bunch is kindness and generosity. This trait or strength is not expected because I am not known as one who is generous and open to giving or caring for other people. I cannot describe myself to be at the level of kindness that is depicted by the results of the survey, as it has to be accompanied by an extreme amount of generosity which I never knew I possessed. According to the survey, I am grateful of the good things that happen around me, and never take them for granted. Leadership and organization skills are strengths that are continually developed each day as I come in contact with subordinates and colleagues. These strengths are also the ones that are evaluated on a daily basis by subordinates, colleagues and supervisors; hence they are to be expected.

Curiosity and interest in the world is a strength that accurately defines me as an individual who can cultivate great leadership skills. This is an important strength that enhances the ability to ask questions, explore and discover new things. This kind of curiosity is essential for developing the other strengths, especially the leadership and organization skills which are already effective in the form of my ability to encourage people and get the job done (Sterrett, 2000). Coupled with zest, enthusiasm and energy, these strengths are essential in individual leadership development. They might perhaps be effective in nurturing my gratitude, kindness and generosity and enabling the development of even more essential strengths or traits that would make me a better leader and enhance my interactions with the team, subordinates and supervisors.

The Emotional Intelligence Self-Assessment in Chapter 3 of Sterret (2000) was carried out with great honesty. I answered the questions honestly and gave it a clearer picture of who I am as an individual. This gave me a chance to establish an accurate foundation upon which I could base my development as a perfect leader. I answered the question with the number that came to my mind first and never lingered or engaged in overthinking before answering a single question. The results of my self-assessment were as follows;

Empathy: 15/25

Motivation: 18/25

Self-competency: 19/25

Self-control: 16/25

Self-awareness: 15/25

Self-confidence: 16/25

After the self-assessment and the interpretation of the results, it was a great surprise that all the grading fell below the 20-point mark. This therefore means that I need to work on developing all these essential traits and achieving a grade of at least 20/25 to accomplish effective leadership skills. Being honest in answering the questions enabled me to have a clear picture of the state of my leadership skills and hence have the capacity to develop my leadership skills effectively. The assessment checklist of my leadership skills is therefore an effective way to rate myself and compare our ratings with the ones that we are given by others based on our leadership skills. This assessment gives an accurate assessment of both my leadership and social skills.

The will to improve oneself is one of the main admirable skills or a good leader. It is essential to use one’s skills to improve one’s weaknesses. One of the best ways to achieve this is taking self-assessments and allowing assessments from others as well. However, this cannot be done if one is not open to change. Being open to change allows a good leader to improve on the areas in which his/her weaknesses lie and develop the admirable skills of a good leader. From the leadership assessment checklist from Chapter 3 of Sterret (2000), the reviews and grading revealed that my lowest average score was a 3, indicating that I am good at helping employees to come up with their solutions without providing automatic answers (Sterret, 2000). This is an area that I can easily rectify. However, it is not as simple to fix as it seems and will take intricate amounts of work. The assessment reveals that I am used to others coming to me for answers looking for a solution, therefore, when individuals approach me with a problem, it is an instinct of mine to provide them with a solution. Solving this conundrum will be structured in the form of a goal, and an area which requires great improvement. Improvement in this area will be accomplished by discussing the issues and inquiring from the people who seek the solutions what they think the solutions should be. Once they have come up with an idea of what the solution should be, it will be discussed in detail to determine whether the solution is the best one (Passmore, 2012).

Moreover, there were other facets of emotional intelligence that came up during the VIA survey (2016) and the Sterret (2000) self-assessment from Chapter 3. Both of these surveys identified certain weak areas that could be enhanced to improve my strengths as a good leader (Sterrett, 2000). Self-awareness and empathy are two of the areas in which I need to improve. Lack of the desired degree of empathy when interacting with other people would make any of my attempts to come out as empathetic non-authentic, resulting in an awkward situation. One way through which I can improve the skill of empathy is going to counseling sessions and letting out all the emptions that I had been holding in. Opening up will therefore enable me to sympathize with other people’s situations and step in to help them to come up with solutions while taking their feelings and emotional status into consideration. Another weak area lies in my self-awareness. To improve on my self-awareness, I will take more personality and self-assessment tests, perform self-reflections on a daily basis, write down my goals and plans, and look at myself objectively. All these practices will enable me to be more aware of my surroundings as well as my inner self, hence enabling me to develop more positive leadership skills and growing myself as a good leader.

The quizzes in the surveys are a perfect starting point for the assessment of emotional and leadership skills that would enable the development of a good leader. But there might be doubt that the accuracy of these studies are not as on point as needed. Their accuracy can be questioned on the basis of how the quizzes are answered, for example, whether the answers were honest, overly critical, or critical enough. One limitation of these surveys is that to some individuals, the thought or mere mention of emotions in the workplace is unthinkable, and they would not necessarily be open to the thought of using their emotions when interacting with their colleagues, superiors and subordinates at the workplace. But they should understand that they can perform better in their job responsibilities when they understand their needs as well as their interactions with subordinates better.

There is more information that need to be covered in the material or the quizzes that are provided in these surveys. Some of the information that is missing and should be included in the survey to improve leadership skills include decision-making, conflict-resolution, and handling stressful situations in the workplace. Every great leader has to possess great conflict-resolution skills, individual and communal stress management skills, and impressive decision-making skills. One of the things that I need to know is the type of a leader that I am. Once I am able to figure out what type of leader I am or what leadership style I prefer, I will have to figure out what style I should use for different situations. Moreover, I need to determine the relationship I have with my superiors or my peers, and develop a situation that encourages better communication and enhances understanding in every situation I am involved in. Developing a strong grasp on these essential attributes is important in enhancing my leadership skills and making me a great leader.

References

Passmore, J. (2012). Psychometrics in Coaching: Using Psychological and Psychometric Tools for Development. London, England: Kogan Page Publishers.

Personality Test, Personality Assessment: VIA Survey. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/regist…

Sterrett, E. A. (2000). The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Emotional Intelligence: From Management to Leadership. Human Resource Development.

MOD2 Leadership Communication

  • Using a Johari Window analysis, what do you think some of your supervisor’s or subordinate’s blind spots are? What do you think some of your potential blind spots might be?
  • Also using a Johari Window analysis, what kind of hidden spots did you keep between you and your supervisor or subordinate? Did you suspect your supervisor or subordinate of having hidden spots?
  • Based on your answers to Questions 1 and 2 above as well as the required readings, how might Johari Window analysis be used to improve this supervisor/subordinate relationship that you wrote about in the above two answers?
  • Using Transactional Analysis, give some specific examples of when you and your supervisor or subordinate acted like “parents,” “children,” or “adults.” And be honest—we all act like “children” sometimes in the workplace.
  • Based on your answer to Question 4 and the required readings, how do you think this supervisor/subordinate relationship might have been improved using Transactional Analysis?

The Johari Window tool is useful in assisting an individual to better understand his/her interaction with other people. This tool is often split into four quadrants which represent the four main elements of personal awareness. The major objective of this tool is to enhance communication and ensure the presence of practical feedback (Connor & Pokora, 2012). My supervisor and one of his subordinates (who I will call MJ) and my colleague have some blind spots. MJ and the supervisor have a combined 40 years’ experience in the profession, 13 years and 27 years respectively. With such significant experience, the two should be able to solve all the tasks and problems they encounter at the workplace. However, my supervisor’s greatest blind spot derails all his subordinates’ abilities to accomplish their full potential at work. The major blind spot, which is communication breakdown, only happens whenever there is a confrontation between the supervisor and MJ. Whenever one of his subordinates makes decisions that the supervisor does not agree with, he doesn’t directly approach the subordinate, but talks to his other subordinates about the issue. Since MJ often makes important decisions without consulting the supervisor first, he is always on the receiving end of the supervisor’s discontent. On the other hand, whenever MJ issues with the supervisor, especially after finding out that the supervisor approached his colleagues and not him, he often goes directly to him and confronts him, making the supervisor very uncomfortable.

Such blind spots that MJ and the supervisor often tackle create significant friction within the workplace, affecting me and my colleagues and potentially creating potential blind spots on our part, especially when it comes to confrontational communication.

The third quadrant of the Johari Window tool is representative of the hidden blind spots. These hidden spots may entail feelings, hidden information, as well as other things that an individual knows but has not revealed to other people (Chapman, 2003). My supervisor is a very private individual, maintaining a completely separate family life from his professional or work life. This separation creates several hidden spots. He prefers to keep his home life very secretive from his colleagues and subordinates from work, because he has realized that this is the only way he can maintain a completely professional work environment. He learned this separation from his early professional experiences. During his early years, he mixed his home life with his work life and carried home his work stressors while transferring his home stressors to work. This made him extremely unhappy in both his family life and professional life, always stirring up friction with his family members and his co-workers and subordinates. After great guidance from his superiors at work, he learned not to mix his personal home life with his professional work life and vice versa.

The separation however resulted in significant issues at work and serious trust issues between my supervisor, his colleagues and subordinates. His lack of sharing has created several hidden spots. The fact that he has the authority over us makes him more of a closed book, as he doesn’t feel obligated to share the feelings he has locked up inside. This therefore makes him to channel all his frustrations from his personal life and direct them at his subordinates and colleagues at the workplace. My supervisor therefore clearly has hidden spots, even though I occasionally share with him some of my hidden spots which include my personal life. Some of my colleagues also share hidden spots with me, including their feelings towards the supervisor and how they don’t like him due to his not-so-open management style.

The quadrants in the Johari Window tool can easily vary in size based on the situation or the amount of time spent on the specific quadrant. The blind spot quadrant can be reduced by asking for feedback, an act which also increases the public quadrant of the Johari Window. The size of the hidden quadrant can also be reduced significantly by through the disclosure of information, which also similarly increases the public quadrant (Chapman, 2003). The quadrants of the Johari Window can be used to significantly improve the communication situation between MJ and the supervisor. They both need to adopt non-confrontational communication whenever they interact with each other in an attempt to mend their relationship. The only time that MJ provides feedback to the supervisor is when he directly confronts the supervisor after he shares his frustration with MJ with other individuals in the department. The downside is that whenever such confrontations happen, they often make the supervisor extremely uncomfortable. The supervisor clearly doesn’t prefer confrontational communication, but MJ forces the issue, hence creating unnecessary friction.

The best solution would be for MJ and the supervisor to sit down together and discuss the issues and dissatisfactions that they experience with one another. Being open and honest in their conversations would enable them to provide each other with constructive feedback and understand each other’s feelings to enhance their interpersonal interaction at the workplace. For the scenario in question 2, the supervisor could use the Johari Window analysis to enhance communication with his subordinates by opening up more and sharing his personal stresses and challenges with his subordinates. This would also make his subordinates to trust him more and share their feelings as well, hence improving communication.

Transactional Analysis entails a method of examining the interaction between individuals, especially involving verbal face-to-face communication in the workplace. This interaction involves three alter egos; the child, parent and adult (McKay, Davis, & Fanning, 2009). One scenario when I acted like a child is when I arrived at work late and my supervisor confronted me. I snapped back at him and mentioned all the other employees who had arrived late in previous occasions and that I have given my all to my profession and didn’t deserve to be yelled at the first time I arrive late to work; even though I was an hour late and deserved the confrontation. In this setting, he acted like the parent and I the child, as he went ahead and acted with authority; suspending me without pay for a week.

Another separate scenario was when I acted more like an adult when the supervisor kept yelling at almost every one of my colleagues, clearly venting his frustration at his subordinates. Even though some of my colleagues chose to talk back at him in an attempt to explain their plight, which further aggravated the situation, I chose to act like an adult and refrain from trying to explain myself until he eventually calmed down and was ready to talk.

The interactions between the supervisor and his subordinates could be improved using Transactional Analysis to limit the friction between the two parties. Feelings are always important during such interactions in the workplace, meaning that whenever the supervisor communicates with his subordinates, he needs to understand their feelings and take his own feelings that might be causing the friction into consideration. Feelings often determine which alter ego individuals use when interacting with each other in the workplace; meaning that whether they act like parents, children or adults depends on how they feel (McKay, Davis, & Fanning, 2009). The supervisor needs to refrain from adopting the ‘parent’ alter ego which will enable him to avoid being judgmental and critical, while the subordinates should act like adults and be thoughtful enough to use reasoned statements and comparative expressions. Childlike expressions should be avoided since they encourage emotionally charged expressions entailing temper tantrums which might increase the friction

References

Chapman, A. (2003). Johari Window. Retrieved from https://apps.cfli.wisc.edu/johari/support/JohariEx…

Connor, M., & Pokora, J. (2012). Chapter 9: What are some useful tools and techniques? In Coaching And Mentoring At Work: Developing Effective Practice: Developing Effective Practice. Milton Keynes, CA: McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

McKay, M., Davis, M., & Fanning, P. (2009). Chapter 7: Transactional Analysis. In Messages: The Communication Skills Book. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.