Any leader has a set of guidelines that they believe to be most effective in reaching their leadership objectives. This set of belief system is leadership philosophy and they reflect what an individual thinks about leadership. A person’s view about leadership is shaped by what one is taught in school as well as the practical applications of those principles in real life. Leadership can be an attribute that one acquires at birth or one that can be gained through formal training. Traditional societies had effective leaders yet they never had any formal education. Today some people have discovered their leadership abilities after attending training and mingling with successful leaders whom they emulate. Individual leadership philosophy is a set of principles that the person perceives to be effective in leadership
Definition of leadership
Leadership is the process of rallying other people to a common end. This definition is in line with my personal view of leadership. Leadership is a personal way of getting things done. Personal achievements act as motivation to the followers of a leader and they follow the same pattern of doing things without being forced to do their work. A good leader need not be physically present for work to be done or goals accomplished. For that to happen there must be mutual respect between the leader and the followers. My personal view of leadership was developed when I worked in a certain university as department head. I had a role model whose method of leadership I admired and tried what he did at my personal level. My role model was respectful to all the members of staff irrespective of their position or nature of the issue at hand. His office was open to all, no one hand to go through red tape procedures to access him.
When I was made director of my department, I was the same age with my subordinates. To earn their respect, it was critical to make use of the open door policy like my role model. Some leadership qualities are inborn while others are acquired through interaction with other people.
My personal values and belief system
Personal values refer to an individual’s pattern of relating with others. It is by these values that a person is able to determine right from wrong and good from bad in every day relations with other people. These values are also the driving force of personal emotions and actions. In general terms, these guidelines are designed to institute in an individual, behavior that other people will not find offensive. Included in my personal values are friendship, vision, achievement and creativity (Hull, 1979).
When people are friends, the relationship between them is mutual and they often enjoy one another’s assistance. Nobody can be self sufficient. We will require the assistance of others at one point or another. In my position as director of a university department, I realized that being friends with my juniors was crucial in achieving my goals. It was important to develop a mutual understanding between them. When I talked to them for the first time, I told them the nature of work was not an issue as we would always find a way of dealing with any challenge if we worked together as friends. As their leader I had to demonstrate exemplary skills in leadership to nurture friendship between me and them on one part and among themselves on the other. Friendship will thrive where there is trust. Therefore I worked towards instilling trust among all who worked under me. When subordinates have trust in their leader they will be able to take instruction positively. Lu, (1999) believes that a leader should be pragmatic and should take part to assist in carrying out the duties assigned to juniors. A leader who does this is able to reduce complaints among the subordinates and it motivates them as they see the leader as one of them. This is one of the principles that contributed to my success as the department director.
Any leader must have a vision of the destination where he is taking his followers. All the efforts of the leader and his followers must be directed to that vision. A vision helps to see the final result as well as any hindrances towards its achievement. In my capacity as director at the university, my vision was to provide the best of my service to whoever required it. Towards achieving this, I ensured my juniors were motivated enough as I would require their input in my work. I devised ways that would lead into achievement of my goals. I adopted the open door policy that would play a crucial role in my objectives. With this policy I would have to be a good listener of the issues my subordinates had (Hogan, 2010). I was required to listen to them at their time, not when I wanted to, and provide ways of overcoming their challenges. I did this with the realization that accomplishments for them would have a direct impact on my own goals. The open door policy allowed my subordinates to discuss with me not only their challenges, but also their opinions on how we could improve our operations. This unrestricted interaction allowed then to see me as a compatriot and not a lord watching over them. This earned me their respect and loyalty. I could therefore allocate them duties which they accepted positively.
Any activity that is undertaken by humans must have a result. The achievement or outcome is a justification of any engagement. I am obsessed with achieving anything I set my eyes upon. All my life I have believed I can conquer any challenge. Thus I believe that there is no excuse for anyone to fail in what they can think of after thoroughly evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of any endeavor. This really helped me in my work as director as I aimed at accomplishing all the goals that my position expected of me. To help me in this I had to build a loyal and united team filled with the spirit of teamwork.
An effective leader must be creative. Leaders are supposed to take their followers over challenges that we are certain to encounter in life. Successful leaders must devise ways of overcoming trying situations in life. It should be noted that the followers are different in their backgrounds, personalities and ambitions. The leader should be able to harness all these together in a way that will accomplish the goals, of both the corporation and individual employees. One way of overcoming the challenges is by developing friendship among all employees. A leader who is able to nurture friendship among the subordinates will get their respect and loyalty. Such juniors will be managed and motivated more easily. The best approach to motivating subordinates is to listen to their concerns and offer suggestions of overcoming them. As much as people work for financial reward, a complement may work better than any amount of money they may get paid. Workers who are appreciated are ready to work even when the pay is not very pleasing. Appreciating the workers who are doing well is a perfect way of making those who have not done so well to emulate those who have done better. A leader must be honest, fair and transparent in all dealings with the subordinates. No employee should feel sidelined for any reason.
My beliefs and assumptions
Individuals, groups of people or societies have generalizations they regard as true towards various issues. Regarding leadership I have the following assumptions of effective leadership;
Motivation is critical in making any workforce carry out its responsibilities effectively without the need of supervision. Motivated employees are committed to the vision of the company and they will work hard to achieve it. Motivation of the employees can be achieved by involving them in the decision making process and recognizing and rewarding their efforts. Assumption number two is about teamwork and being united in purpose. When there is friendship among the employees and their seniors it is very easy to have team work among them. The third assumption is about helping staff members develop professionally. This can be done by delegating duties and give them a chance of other duties and responsibilities which make it easier to give them instructions to execute duties as they understand what is expected of them. The fourth assumption is continuous learning. Leadership may be an inborn quality but it can be perfected or improved through formal education. The fifth assumption is about the leader being honest. Being a leader does not mean one know everything. An honest leader who admits his mistakes and shortcomings will earn the respect of the subordinates. A leader who admits his shortcomings gets the chance of learning from the subordinates. A leader who insists on being right all the time will lose the respect of the subordinates.
Leadership values are influenced to a great extent by an individual’s personal values. Some leadership skills are acquired at birth but others are discovered by interacting with already accomplished leaders. Respect for the subordinates is critical in ensuring the success of a leader. To get that respect the leader must be honest, fair, motivating and listens to the plight of the subordinates.