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EDUC 3001 Reflective Essay 

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EDUC 3001 Reflective Essay 

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Course Code: EDUC 3001
University: The University Of Adelaide

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Country: Australia

Question
Assessment 3: Reflective Essay 
The purpose of this assessment is to reflect on personal and organisational leadership.
Part 1 
Reflect on leadership at your workplace. Critically analyse leadership styles. Compare with current ideas and theories from current literature about effective leadership . 
Include the following topics as you reflect on leadership at your workplace: 

Current Leadership and management styles
Mentorship, preceptorship and coaching in your workplace
Motivating individuals and teams
Workplace culture
Achieving organisational goals and planning
Managing power and politics 

Part 2
Assess your own leadership skills and devise an action plan for any improvements 

Answer

Introduction
Each historical epoch is associated with a type of leadership. The Ancient Age, perhaps because it was the longest, was a time of constant political changes: the dynasties of despotic emperors in ancient Greece; the Roman Empire, followed by the Republic, where power was divided among the members of the Senate; the divine power that conferred on the pharaohs the legitimacy of their leadership in Egypt. In the Middle Ages the model of feudal leadership was characteristic, where a single person exerted an iron grip on his subjects. The Modern Age marked the beginning of the democratic structures that have survived to this day. The history of the world offers many examples where we can see how the figure of the leader has changed according to its context. However, most books on leadership continue to deny the obvious: we are unable to manage, predict and control what will happen in a context as volatile as today. In this new scenario, the answer must necessarily be collective. The solutions will emerge from the courageous action of many people at all levels, who have known how to adapt their mental models to the new scenario (Adair, 2013 p.123). So far, the institutions I have been to and one company I have worked with seems to understand the fact that modern leadership should be distinct from ancient traditional leadership. The leadership I have experienced is characterized by humility, transparency and an open attitude to experimentation. In such leadership, any of its members, with or without formal authority, must be able to face the new reality, identify those key questions that will allow us to anticipate the impact of changes in our organization and mobilize other people so that assume the collective responsibility, which will allow us to reduce the gap between the current situation and the one we want. The image of the charismatic leader, the genius that stands at the top of the pyramid of organizations and has an answer for everything does not exist. I always find CEO’s holding meetings with middle level and low level managers. The kind of leaders I have witnessed in two institutions I have been to are like a social architect. Their job is to ask the right questions, and to create the right conditions for the responses to the new challenges to be collective, that is, for the solution to emerge naturally as a result of the collaborative relationships established among all the people of the organization and between these and the outside, taking advantage of collective intelligence (Jaramillo, Bande & Varela, 2015, p.109). The leaders I have seen in the institutions works hard to combine and balance hard (technical) skills with soft skills, which are behavioral skills or interpersonal skills such as leadership, communication, integrity, responsibility, passion, motivation, negotiation , decision making, time management, analysis and reflection capacity, among others (Welty Peachey, Burton, Wells, & Chung 2018 p.970. Unlike traditional leaders who could trace with certainty a path that all followed, most of the leaders I have seen currently are agile to face the unforeseen, the oppositions, new parameters, as well as the ambiguity and the complexity. It is apparent that the modern leaders are trying to change from dominant classical leadership styles to modern behavioral leadership styles (Asad, Abbas, Irfan & Raza,  2017 p.27). It is also clear that  dominant management model is now provoking more and more criticism and protest, especially from younger generations, who have other values ??than their elders and are more sensitive to the quality of life at work, in place of recreation, social justice and environmental concerns. The growing success of the notions of ” corporate social responsibility ”, ” sustainable development ”, “Responsible management”, which involves considering the interests of the various “stakeholders” of the company, and not just those of shareholders, partly responds to these criticisms (Lacroix & Verdorfer,  2017 p.9).
In terms of leadership style, most of the leaders I have encountered are adopting behavioral leadership style. They are changing from classical leadership to relational and behavioral leadership styles. The leaders I have witnessed are adopting models which would be likely to provide relevant and especially innovative responses to this endemic and structural crisis of the traditional management model and the growing dysfunctions it generates. They are adopting new leadership styles that have capacity to “humanize” organizations and especially to provide innovative and relevant solutions for the managerial challenges of these (Lapointe & Vandenberghe,  2018 p.103). This is particularly the case with the paradigm of  servant leadership. This form of leadership style is largely opposed to that of the model traditional hierarchical and bureaucratic management. It constitutes a paradigm of alternative and radically innovative organizational leadership and management of men, apparently paradoxical but which in practice is both powerful and humanistic. It is also opposed to the traditional Western conception of the leader who would be a charismatic, heroic, all-powerful, visionary and lonely personality (Gandolfi, Stone, & Deno, 2017 p.351). This alternative paradigm of management makes a bet on the potential of individual and collective intelligence of men. It is based on the priority principle of service of line managers with regard to their employees and subordinates so that they can perform their tasks in the best conditions, instead that they are at the service of the former as in the management model traditional hierarchy! It is characterized by social, interactive, multidimensional nature, but also the ethical conditions of the leadership phenomenon (Van Dierendonck, et al  2017, p.9). Compared to traditional classic models, servant leadership is effective because it makes it possible to remedy many managerial and organizational dysfunctions, but also to frequent “ethical deficiencies” of man’s management practices. It is a continuation of a humanist current managerial thinking that has existed since the beginning of the 20th century (Newman, Schwarz, Cooper & Sendjaya, 2017 p.71). Unlike the traditional leaders, most of the modern leaders I have encountered tend to humanize their management methods of men and organizations by other attitudes and other behaviors such as: the systematic practice of listening and dialogue, particularly with collaborators, the creation of a climate of trust, the practice of the delegation and the empowerment of individuals and teams, the encouragement of initiative and creative ideas, a good consideration of the qualitative aspects of the work, and especially the psychological aspects in human relationships to professional character (Burton, Welty Peachey & Wells,  2017 p. 231).
In terms of mentorship and preceptorship, most of the leaders I have encountered tend to value their followers so much. Modern leader listens attentively to his followers and forge creative consensus. He tries to harmonize different or even opposing points of view, rising above mere compromises, in order to find a solution in otherwise complex issues (Haider & Mushtaq, 2017 p.169). The leaders also tend to co-construct a vision that is truly shared with the greatest number of employees as to the strategic project of the organization. They also emphasize the importance of cooperative relations between the different actors of the organization by emphasizing their interdependence according to a systemic vision (Irving & Berndt,  2017 p.13). Additionally, they attach great importance to building and maintaining a true climate of trust, both with internal actors and with the organization’s external partners, through sincere and permanent dialogue and communication, by encouraging true cooperation between the actors, by a transparency of the information on the organization, by a delegation of the responsibilities and by the encouragement to the autonomy of the collaborators. They also try to adopt a spirit of humility, simplicity, partnership and service towards all the people of the organization and in particular towards its subordinates in order to facilitate their task and encourage them to give the best of themselves (Yang, Zhang,  Kwan & Chen,  2018 p.599)
In terms of motivation, the different leaders I have experienced seem to understand the needs of employees. They do all they can to know about what employees value most. They are effective in applying Maslow’s theory of needs (Amah 2018 p. 129). Most of the leaders have intrinsic motivation to help, enrich and elevate others to new possibilities and new ones. levels of professional fulfillment, both as a person and as a team member, and this, in the best interests of all. This approach greatly encourages the permanent learning of all and therefore contributes to developing the adaptation and transformation capabilities of the organization, especially in a rapidly changing environment (Heyler & Martin 2018 p.231).
In terms of workplace culture, most of the modern leaders tend to create supportive workplace culture. This culture is characterized by the existence of a “win-win” Partnership-based contract between each employee and the company or organization where he works. They condition the phenomenon of voluntary mobilization of people that characterizes high quality leadership. The power and the humanistic character of most of the leaders I have encountered is largely the result of the superiority of his” managerial intelligence “, but also of his highly ethical character, compared to traditional modes of management where the man is considered only one means of production among others, and not an end, in the service of the maximization of the profits for the only shareholders (Youssef, 2013 p.89) . In this workplace culture, employees are valued. Unlike the traditional model of heroic leadership, hierarchical and all-powerful, focused on productivity and the maximization of short-term profitability, modern leaders tend to assumes that employees are an end now and not mere means, and that as such, they must be put in the center of attention of management practices since they are the main (if not the only) source of value creation. Most of them tend to first and foremost help each employee perform his tasks in the best conditions. In a word, they must first be at the service of their collaborators well before supervising and controlling them, as in traditional management practices where they are first of all at the service of the hierarchy and must obey him. They start by ensuring that the working environment is favorable to followers (Sai?di, 2013 p.73). Then they start supervision and control tasks.
In terms of achieving organizational goals, I must admit that leaders I have encountered tend to achieve goals sustainably. The reason for this is that they make employees happier and when employees are happy, the performance would be optimal. Their goals is not just to get profits but to meet ethical requirements and expectations. They ensure that every stakeholder is considered in any strategic decision. They will spontaneously adopt other attitudes and behaviors characterized by respect, sharing, help, empathy, encouragement, help with learning, friendliness, partnership and cooperation. vis-à-vis employees . The result is a radically different “leadership culture” that is much more conducive to developing the talents and potentials of employees. These will of course greatly appreciate it and the organization will benefit, especially in terms of economic performance (Ledlow & Coppola, 2011) .
In terms of managing powers the leaders I have seen do not have much problem because in their management styles, they include employees and all stakeholders. They do not focus only on economic results and hence it is hard for conflict to occur and even if it occur, they can detect earlier through the feedback they get from different stakeholders (Achouri, 2012 p. 111). Their approaches for managing conflict are based on dialogue, listening and respect for people, on the search for consensus, the encouragement of creative and innovative ideas coming from all, on taking initiatives without having to refer to the hierarchy , and above all on an intelligent and efficient position of service of the hierarchy with regard to all the collaborators. This makes their job easier and provides them with a powerful source of motivation and satisfaction, especially for those who are in the field, facing customers (Moodian, 2009 p.83). Their style also offers very innovative answers, particularly interesting and relevant to the many challenges and drifts of the management of men that we observe today.
Part 2
Effective leadership/management is a key requirement for organizational development and high-quality performance. Developing a leadership action plan requires a leader to assess his or her personal leadership skills and effectiveness and establish the areas that need improvement. The action plan in the table below highlights my personal leadership improvement requirements, in terms of what I would like to achieve, the given timeframe within which I expect to make the achievement, what I will do to attain what I want to achieve and how I shall know that I have achieved the improvement. I must admit that I intend to be a servant leader. This means that I will focus on some of the skills expected of me.

Leadership characteristic

What do I want to achieve?

How will I achieve this?

Timeframe

How will I know I have achieved it?
 

Communication

Attain an interactive relationship with the employees through effective communication

Establish and encourage additional communication channels that are more convenient and desirable to the employees

6-12 months

Interviewing employees on their reporting systems and other communication aspects

Encourage leadership development

Ensure the employees also acquire leadership skills and can take up leadership positions/ maintain leadership legacy

Through delegation of leadership duties and training of employees on leadership skills.

6-12 months

Assessing the leadership performance of employees whom I have delegated duties to.

Create interpersonal relationship

Attain high performance organizational culture

1-2 years

Through creating effective interpersonal relations based on dialogue, trust and transparency

Assessing the organization’s performance over the given time frame

Leadership style

Attain a more democratic leadership in the company

4-8 months

Involving employees in decision making processes that relate to their welfare and any other issues affecting them by seeking for their opinions before making the final decision

Interviewing employees on their satisfaction with decision making processes, especially on issues relating to them, within the organization.

Team work spirit development

Attain improvement in organization performance in terms of time, quality and standards

6-12 months

Establish working teams and ensure work division is done equally and effectively among the established teams

Assessing employees’ performance in terms of their teams’ performances and awarding the best team.

Employees motivation

Attain committed, hard working and disciplined employees.

8-12 months

Establishing good conflict resolution methods, equal and fair treatment of employees, performance based promotion and rewarding.

Checking on employee target achievement, timely completion of work, checking on work quality.

Goal orientation

Ensure that any decision I make is directed towards achieving the overall organizational goals and strategies

6-12 months

Seeking for my senior leader’s opinions before making decisions and also involving senior managers’ skills and expertise in decision implementation.

Assessing the impacts of any decision I make and implement and following my decisions to see through their contributions to the organization.

Strategic leadership

Become a more effective leader through applying the strategic leadership skills

6-12 months

Learning more from senior managers/leaders as well as attending leadership trainings and seminars to improve on my leadership skills. Also benchmarking in other successful organizations to learn how they carry out their management duties.

Asking for the opinions of senior managers on my management skills as well as seeking for the employees’ opinions on my management capabilities and in capabilities.

References
Achouri, C (2012) Modern Systemic Leadership A Holistic Approach for Managers, Coaches, and HR Professionals. Erlangen, PUBLICIS. https://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:101:1-201408082888.
Adair, J E (2013) Develop your leadership skills. London : Kogan Page Limited.
Amah, OE 2018, ‘Determining the antecedents and outcomes of servant leadership’, Journal Of General Management, 43, 3, pp. 126-138, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Asad, A, Abbas, J, Irfan, M, & Raza, H 2017, ‘The Impact of HPWS in Organizational Performance: A Mediating Role of Servant Leadership’, Journal Of Managerial Sciences, 11, pp. 25-48, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Burton, L, Welty Peachey, J, & Wells, J 2017, ‘The Role of Servant Leadership in Developing an Ethical Climate in Sport Organizations’, Journal Of Sport Management, 31, 3, pp. 229-240, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Gandolfi, F, Stone, S, & Deno, F 2017, ‘Servant Leadership: An Ancient Style with 21st Century Relevance’, Review Of International Comparative Management / Revista De Management Comparat International, 18, 4, pp. 350-361, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Haider, A, & Mushtaq, H 2017, ‘Self-Efficacy as a Mediator in the Relationship between Servant Leadership and Teaching Effectiveness’, Journal Of Managerial Sciences, 11, pp. 167-182, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Heyler, S, & Martin, J 2018, ‘Servant Leadership Theory: Opportunities for Additional Theoretical Integration’, Journal Of Managerial Issues, 30, 2, pp. 230-243, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Irving, J, & Berndt, J 2017, ‘Leader Purposefulness within Servant Leadership: Examining the Effect of Servant Leadership, Leader Follower-Focus, Leader Goal-Orientation, and Leader Purposefulness in a Large U.S. Healthcare Organization’, Administrative Sciences (2076-3387), 7, 2, pp. 1-20, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Jaramillo, F, Bande, B, & Varela, J 2015, ‘Servant leadership and ethics: a dyadic examination of supervisor behaviors and salesperson perceptions’, Journal Of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 35, 2, pp. 108-124, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018
Lacroix, M, & Verdorfer, A 2017, ‘Can Servant Leaders Fuel the Leadership Fire? The Relationship between Servant Leadership and Followers’ Leadership Avoidance’, Administrative Sciences (2076-3387), 7, 1, pp. 1-11, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Lapointe, É, & Vandenberghe, C 2018, ‘Examination of the Relationships Between Servant Leadership, Organizational Commitment, and Voice and Antisocial Behaviors’, Journal Of Business Ethics, 148, 1, pp. 99-115, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Ledlow, GR., & Coppola, MN (2011) Leadership for health professionals: theory, skills, and applications. Sudbury, Mass, Jones and Bartlett.
Moodian, MA (2009) Contemporary leadership and intercultural competence exploring the cross-cultural dynamics within organizations. Los Angeles, SAGE.
Newman, A, Schwarz, G, Cooper, B, & Sendjaya, S 2017, ‘How Servant Leadership Influences Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Roles of LMX, Empowerment, and Proactive Personality’, Journal Of Business Ethics, 145, 1, pp. 49-62, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Sai?di, F. (2013) A study of current leadership styles in the North African Church. Carlisle : Langham Monographs
Van Dierendonck, D, Sousa, M, Gunnarsdóttir, S, Bobbio, A, Hakanen, J, Verdorfer, A, Duyan, E, & Rodriguez-Carvajal, R 2017, ‘The Cross-Cultural Invariance of the Servant Leadership Survey: A Comparative Study across Eight Countries’, Administrative Sciences (2076-3387), 7, 2, pp. 1-11, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Welty Peachey, J, Burton, L, Wells, J, & Chung, M 2018, ‘Exploring Servant Leadership and Needs Satisfaction in the Sport for Development and Peace Context’, Journal Of Sport Management, 32, 2, pp. 96-108, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018
Yang, Z, Zhang, H, Kwan, H, & Chen, S 2018, ‘Crossover Effects of Servant Leadership and Job Social Support on Employee Spouses: The Mediating Role of Employee Organization-Based Self-Esteem’, Journal Of Business Ethics, 147, 3, pp. 595-604, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 4 September 2018.
Youssef, M (2013) The leadership style of Jesus. Eugene, Oregon : Harvest House Publishers

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