As a follower, I am drawn to leaders who are driven, positive and motivated. Whether they’re athletes, business leaders or everyday people who tenaciously work on improving themselves, I draw encouragement and motivation from their examples. Actually, the reason I am pursuing my bachelor’s degree as an adult learner is in part due to the example of another person in my life. It is absolutely not because it is the easy thing to do. I find myself up at 4 a.m. weekdays, in order to get my coursework done, my son out of the door on time, get in some exercise and head out to my full-time job. Even though it was my dream to finish my education, I never saw myself actually doing it until I met this person, who was a leader in her own right. As a manager of physician educational programs at the medical device company I then worked for, she seemed like such a strong and powerful woman to me. She was someone who clearly had pursued all of the “right” paths in life. She was smart, beautiful, educated and had a great career and I wanted to be like her.
After joining her for lunch one day, I realized how wrong I had been in my assessment of her. Like me, she had broken away from a high control religious organization as an adult. As a result, she had pursued her college education as an adult learner. She did this despite many difficulties – a strained marriage that didn’t last and the birth of her daughters. Also, like me, because she had turned her back on her religion, her family had disowned her, so she had very little support. I was really in the right place at the right time with the right leader to look up to. My friend was driven, positive and motivated – all of the qualities that I am drawn to naturally. Her leadership style influenced me to follow suit and pursue my education. Additionally, she was also supportive and empathetic to my situation.
This situation exemplified Fiddler’s Contingency Model of leadership, which matches leaders with specific situations and works off of the premise that leader’s traits and behaviors remain consistent over time (PSU WC, 2019). Because she and I have a great rapport, as a follower, I was motivated to focus on the task of completing my education (PSU WC, 2019). Therefore, in terms of situational favorability, our leader-member relationship created a friendly bond between us, which was instrumental in my choice to move forward with my education (PSU WC, 2019). In terms of the least preferred coworker (LPC) scale, I would imagine she is a high-LPC leader (PSU WC, 2019). This scale describes a leader’s general style, and high-LPC leaders are motivated by building relationships, which seems to describe her to a tee (PSU WC, 2019).
I am glad to have bonded with a leader of her caliber. Knowing her helped me realize that there was no reason why I could not follow her example and pursue my dreams. I have not looked back since and am on track to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology next spring.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 281 Lesson 6: Contingency & Path-Goal Theories. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008237/modules/items/27074671