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FBLT067 Leadership And Management

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FBLT067 Leadership And Management

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Course Code: FBLT067
University: Conventry University

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Country: United Kingdom

Question:
Write a report on leadership abilities and experiences.
Answer:

Leadership has always been an important part in my life. From a young age, I have been taking several leadership roles since the time I was in school. I was appointed as a class leader. This role presented an opportunity to enhance my leadership skills. I belong to a highly conservative culture and women are not given a lot of freedom. There is a lack of opportunities presented to women in my culture. But my family has always given importance to empowering women. This reflection highlights upon my own understanding of my leadership abilities and experiences.
Leadership plays a significant role in any organization. A leader can guide the team and motivate team members to work better (Storey, 2016). A team leader is bestowed upon with the responsibility of building a positive work culture. This is why it is important for the leader remain optimistic and work towards creating a motivated team (Day, 2014). There are several global leaders who have been a source of inspiration for me. I consider Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos to be my ideals. They are both highly innovative and creative people who have changed the shape of technology industry. Steve jobs was the founder and leader of the Apple Inc. While Jeff Bezos continues to own Ecommerce giant Amazon Inc.
I recently went on an educational trip to a lake district. It was a three day tour and provided me with a much needed exposure. There were various activities that were conducted. I participated in all these activities and it was an amazing learning experience for me. There were 14 people who went for this trip. All of us belonged to different cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. Initially, we faced a number of communication challenges. However, over a period of time, we became a lot more comfortable with each other and hence we were able to communicate better.
As a group, we did several activities. I was doing a lot of these activities for the first time. As mentioned before, I belong to a conservative culture. A lot of the activities that we conducted involved a lot of interaction with people from the other gender. This was the first time I was getting involved in such interactions. The purpose behind doing these activities was to foster communication and instil the team spirit within us as a group. We conducted the Juggernaut challenge. This activity challenged our brain cells as well as our physical endurance. Therefore this activity was a perfect blend which activated our brains as well as our bodies (Juggernaut, 2017). During the activity, we worked in two different teams and that created the true sense of competition.
There were various activities that helped us in improving our levels of coordination. We played sheep and shepherd. This activity helped us in building trust and understanding coordination. This was the first time I was a part of such an activity and hence I was really excited. I tried my best to activate all my senses and perform well. Within the first few hours, we all became really comfortable with each other. Coordination and communication play a significant role in any business. We are sure that such activities will help us in improving coordination among each other leading us to understand the importance of effective communication.
Leaders form the backbone of any business. During this trip, I earned the opportunity to lead a team. This indeed was a fantastic experience. From the beginning of the trip, I started taking initiative and build a positive relationship with all my team members. I ensured that people can trust me and that I am available for them. Effective communication strategies adopted by a leader are very important for any team in order to make sure that there is transparent communication throughout the team (Quirke, 2017). This helps in increasing coordination and allowing the team members to effectively perform to the best of their abilities. Hence, I focused on my communication skills and tried my best to create a positive team environment. A few people of the group were really shy and hence could be participate upfront. I tried to identify these people and encourage them in order to successfully interact with others and stay motivated.
In a group of people working together, it is only natural to face conflicts at times. Conflicts need to be resolved in an effective manner for improved group dynamics (Batra, 2016). I also faced conflicts in this group. I was initiating conversations and trying to guide the team in order to motivate them to perform well. During this period, some of the group members felt really bad about it and argued with me. The argument turned heated from their end even when I was talking politely. The situation was getting out of hand which is when I decided it is best to let things cool off for some time. After a couple of hours, I decided to have a calm conversation with them. During that process, we both addressed our grievances and finally concluded a better way to deal with the situation. We decided to adopt a collaboration strategy. This strategy is a win-win where both the parties are benefitted from the coordinated collaboration (Dodgson, 2018).
At the beginning of the trip, as a team we had to decide upon a leader for the group. I wanted to become a leader because I believed that I possess good leadership qualities. However, there were three more people who wanted to become team leaders. Unfortunately, this led to more conflict and they tried to put me down. We could not decide upon who the leader should be. This is when I recommended that every member of the team can vote for four candidates and whoever get the highest number of votes, becomes the leader of the group. We decided that the votes should be anonymous so that once the leader is selected, he or she is not at all partial. Upon receiving the final votes, I had received support from seven team members and hence won by a majority. This was probably because the other candidates did not possess any leadership skills and hence found it difficult to build and maintain good relationships with other team members. For a leader, the ability to build long term and sustainable relationships with their team is highly important in order to ensure effective coordination (Bolman & Deal, 2017).
There are several leadership styles that a leader can adopt depending upon the given situation. No single leadership style works in every situation and hence it is important for the leader to identify the most suitable leading style for a particular situation (Anderson & Sun, 2017). As a leader, I adopted a democratic leadership style. In this leadership style, the leader adopts a participating working style and establishes a culture of open communication and decentralized decision making (Arnold et. al., 2015). I considered the fact that we were on an educational trip and hence there was no need for an autocratic leader. It was important that people learn at their own pace as well as have fun at the trip.
A lot of people were travelling for the first time. I tried my best to make sure that everyone was engaged in the activities and did not feel left out. It is the responsibility of the leader to create a participative culture within the team (Saleem, 2015). We conducted several activities and I tried to ensure that everyone involved with the team actively and fairly participated in all the activities.
One of the most interesting activities that we participated in was pamper pole. This pamper pole activity tests physical strength, concentration and coordination with other team members (Hart & Silka, 2014). The activity provided the much needed adrenalin rush and we were all very coordinated with each other. We all had a great time while conducting this activity and everyone tried to help each other. Few people were scared to try it and as their leader I tried my best to motivate them by providing them full support. A leader’s predominant responsibility is that he or she can be trusted (Glauser & Holland, 2016). I tried to comfort my team members and motivate team members so that they participate in the activity. This activity required people to trust each other and I am sure that conducting such activities helps in improving team dynamics.
The dynamics among a group of people largely impacts their overall coordination as well as performance (Georgiadis, 2014). It is essentially the responsibility of the leader to clearly understand the team dynamics and work towards improving the same. This is essential for creating a good rapport among team members and hence leads to improved performance of the team members. The major reason why we conducted so many activities was to make sure that a positive and coordinated dynamic occurs among all the team members.
As a leader, I also tried to make sure that there is open and transparent communication within the team. Communication among team members is highly important and critical to building trust (Men, 2014). In order to attain that, I ensured that firstly people became very comfortable with each other. The reason behind conducting several activities was to increase coordination and level of comfort that team members share with each other. Secondly, after every activity, we all sat together and discussed the same. In this regard, we tried to understand our learning from the activity as well as give a genuine feedback to each other regarding good as well as bad behavior or performance. A transparent feedback system helps teams in remaining coordinated as well as leads to improved personal growth and the growth of the team (Dijksterhuis et. al., 2015). As a group, we conducted several feedback sessions. Sometimes there were conflicts during these sessions but we all tried our best to resolve these conflicts in an effective manner. Feedback helped us communicate better and improved the overall culture and environment of the team.
The trip that we had taken was three day long. During this period, I wanted to provide leadership opportunities to other team members as well. Hence, before every activity, we tried to appoint a new leader for that particular activity. This way, all of us got the chance to be a leader at least once in the entire duration of the trip. This largely motivated the group members and helped them in gaining a firsthand leadership experience. Moreover, we all learnt immensely from each other’s leadership style since we were all so different.
Some of the activities that we conducted were purely based on physical strength while some were entirely based on our mental abilities. The variety of activities conducted helped us improving and analyzing various aspects of our personalities. This essentially helped us in identifying our weaknesses and working towards overcoming the same. One of the activities that was conducted was number crunching. The aim of the exercise was to improve our ability to calculate quickly and become proficient with the use of numbers. Unfortunately, since I was very young, I have been very bad at math. I personally find it very difficult to do calculations in my mind. This activity helped me understand that my calculations are really poor and I must work upon them. Number crunching activity not only improves the ability to calculate but also enhances the strategic ability of the brain to make fast decisions. Hence, I decided to work upon this ability and practice number crunching at home in order to become better at conducting calculations.    
Different activities served different purposes. During one of the activities, we had to go through a very complicated maze and reach the other side. A group of three members were supposed to enter the maze together and coordinate among each other to successfully reach the other side. The complexity of the maze was very high and we were given a limited time period to solve the maze and reach the other side. It was interesting to note how people become impatient when they are put under a timer and how some people manage to remain calm despite the situation. From this activity I learnt that I tend to become highly impatient at times and hence end up losing my temper. A calm temperament and the ability to make the right decision even in the face of extreme pressure is an important leadership attribute (Brasfield, 2015). While working in business organizations, the work pressure and close deadlines can often take a toll on the decision making ability of a person. However, a sensible employee and an effective leader will ensure that a calm temperament is maintained in order to make right decisions for accomplishing team objectives.
Being successful feels great but an important aspect that I learnt through this trip is failing. We conducted several activities in different teams. Everyone put their best foot forward in order to win. However, there is always only one winner. It is important to understand that failing too, is an art (Straehler-Pohl & Pais, 2014). Failing in an effective manner leads to learning as well as personal growth of the person. Therefore it is imperative that individuals do not get demotivated if they fail but rather learn from the same in order to improve themselves as people. This is where leaders play an important role. A leader must work towards motivating their team members despite winning or losing (Hantula, 2015).
The three days of this trip was a major learning experience for me. There are various aspects of my personality that I was able to identify and explore in a better manner. We worked individually on several activities and we worked as a team on various activities. During some time, we were highly coordinated and there was a lot of trust but during some time there were a lot of conflicts that we faced. Overall, I learnt the importance of leadership as well as the traits that are possessed by an effective leader. I was able to analyze my shortcomings as a leader. This included my lack of patience and inability to take decisions under pressure. I also learnt the importance of number crunching as that was the only activity where my performance was really poor.
Through this trip and in the duration of this course, I also learnt the importance and the dynamics of working in a team as well as my responsibility as a team leader. One of the predominant learnings that I had was the importance of feedback within a team and specifically as a leader. Over the coming years, I will continue to improve upon my leadership traits by reading various books, taking initiatives, responsibilities and several leadership roles as the opportunity presents itself. I believe that there has been an improvement among my leadership traits through this trip and I will consistently strive towards improving the same.
References
Anderson, M.H. and Sun, P.Y., 2017. Reviewing leadership styles: Overlaps and the need for a new ‘full?range’theory. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(1), pp.76-96.
Arnold, K.A., Connelly, C.E., Walsh, M.M. and Martin Ginis, K.A., 2015. Leadership styles, emotion regulation, and burnout. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 20(4), p.481.
Batra, S., 2016. Fighting for innovation: exploring the role of conflicts in enabling team innovation. Strategic Direction, 32(1), pp.11-12.
Bolman, L.G. and Deal, T.E., 2017. Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership. John Wiley & Sons.
Brasfield, D.A., 2015. The effects of leadership traits in change management on operational excellence (Doctoral dissertation, Capella University).
Day, D.V. ed., 2014. The Oxford handbook of leadership and organizations. Oxford Library of Psychology.
Dijksterhuis, C., Lewis-Evans, B., Jelijs, B., de Waard, D., Brookhuis, K. and Tucha, O., 2015. The impact of immediate or delayed feedback on driving behaviour in a simulated Pay-As-You-Drive system. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 75, pp.93-104.
Dodgson, M., 2018. Technological collaboration in industry: strategy, policy and internationalization in innovation. Routledge.
Georgiadis, G., 2014. Projects and team dynamics. The Review of Economic Studies, 82(1), pp.187-218.
Glauser, M. and Holland, D., 2016. The Leadership Traits Shared by Successful Entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur & Innovation Exchange.
Hantula, D.A., 2015. Job satisfaction: The management tool and leadership responsibility. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 35(1-2), pp.81-94.
Hart, L. and Silka, L., 2014. Building Self-Ef?cacy Through Women-Centered Ropes Course Experiences. Wilderness Therapy for Women: The Power of Adventure, p.111.
Men, L.R., 2014. Why leadership matters to internal communication: Linking transformational leadership, symmetrical communication, and employee outcomes. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(3), pp.256-279.
Quirke, B., 2017. Making the connections: using internal communication to turn strategy into action. Routledge.
Ryan, H., 2017. Educational Justice: Teaching and Organizing Against the Corporate Juggernaut. NYU Press.
Saleem, H., 2015. The impact of leadership styles on job satisfaction and mediating role of perceived organizational politics. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 172, pp.563-569.
Storey, J., 2016. Changing theories of leadership and leadership development. In Leadership in Organizations (pp. 33-58). Routledge. United Kingdom.
Straehler-Pohl, H. and Pais, A., 2014. Learning to fail and learning from failure–ideology at work in a mathematics classroom. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 22(1), pp.79-96.

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