Over the last few weeks of course work, we have seen many types of leadership styles and have debate their strengths and weaknesses, along with their effects on the people they influence. While reading the text and the lessons provided, I have been reflecting on all of them and relating them to my experiences as the follower…the good, the bad, and the ugly! What I wasn’t taking into consideration, though, is the fact that I too am a leader. I have been so focused on recognizing the leadership in others and failed to realize that I also exhibit leadership in my work as well.
In running the day to day operations of our learning center, I manage at least 40 student tutors every semester. Though not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I think the thing that my supervisor sees in me and appreciates is my ability to adapt my certain leadership styles to the many individuals that I supervise. I feel, and I’ve been told, that I possess certain traits that reflect a positive approach to leadership. Based on the Five Factor Model in Lesson 2 (Goldberg, 1990) these are conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness, and extroversion. To me, agreeableness is probably most important in working with students in an academic environment. (Barrick, 1999 as cited in WC PSYCH 485, L2, p. 4). I have to understand the population that I am working with and be empathetic to their needs and their circumstances of being a student. Most of my employees are young, deal with the stresses of a full course load and financial constraints, and are academic aggressive. They also take their job seriously because they wouldn’t be tutoring if they didn’t have the need to help others. Taking all of these issues into consideration, I have to walk a balance of holding them accountable for their job responsibilities but be cognizant of the fact that there may be times that they need time off for a school related event or other academic responsibilities.
This balance also lends me to being a skills based leader as well. The Three-Skill approach encompasses technical skills, human skills, and conceptual skills. (Northouse, 2016) While I don’t profess to be able to tutor math (at all!), I do know what to look for in a math tutor. Rather, my skills would be of the human and conceptual nature. I am very adept at working with people and like to collaborate with others, and since I don’t have the math background I frequently talk to my tutors about their needs and what they perceive are the needs of the students they work with. This type of communication allows us to look forward conceptually and make the changes needed to make our center better for everyone. (Northouse, 2016)
As we’ve learned, no one approach is the best one. It is the combination of these styles that enhances your attributes and allows us to accomplish goals. Being able to self-assess is an important part of leadership. It is through this self-assessment that growth occurs, changes are made, and relationships are built. It is provides a more holistic view of everything that is important within an organization: the leader, the follower, and the situation.
Goldberg, L. R. (1990) An alternative “description of personality”: The big-five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59, 1216-1229.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
WebAccess. (n.d.). Retrieved June 01, 2016, from https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/su16/psych485/001/content/02_lesson/04_page.html