I have to be honest but it took me a great deal of time to actually realize any sort of significant value that the module added to my career endeavors. I was filled with a lot of scepticism with regards to its purpose, and I often questioned the lack of structure. However, the final three days revealed a lot to me. One of my major realisations is that the module persuades every individual to reconsider their method of leadership by empowering their followers. A lot of leaders feel that the more empowered their followers are, the more threatened their position would be therefore they tend to withhold information so as to maintain that level of dependency from their followers. I realised that there was a correlation between the lessons from the module and the practice of the module. I thought to myself that a module that preaches empowerment of followers must also practice it in some way. Then I sat down to reflect on the attributes of the module. It immediately dawned on me that, this was the module out of every one that I have taken so far, where I was most empowered. I could think freely and creatively; challenge the tutor if I disagreed, and at no point did the tutor feel threatened about any student having a better idea than his. That to me, was enough to make me reconsider my leadership style when I resume employment. I like to see people practice what they preach; its the best way anybody can convince me. I have also witnessed the significance of the class exercises because they provided me the opportunity to test the practicality of the theoretical knowledge e.g follower empowerment. I must say however, that there is still a lot for me to learn about leadership, but I am going to apply that little I have learnt to every leadership position I find myself in the future. I am also going to make an effort to convince as many people as I can about the virtues of employee empowerment from hereon.
May 20, 2010
I had a mistery that lingered on my mind until I sunk into sleep last night. The question boardered around the essence of the coaching exercise and the specific question was "how could someone with the same persistent problems as mine possibly profer any solutions?" It might sound unbelievable but I got my answer from the first three sentences uttered by my tutor. In two straight sentences he said "you should not profer solutions when coaching. Rather, you should draw the individual out to solve their own problems". Another interesting lesson I picked up was that every individual has the answer to his/her problem within, they are just too scared to fish it out. I realised that the reason I was confused yesterday was because my perception of the term coaching had been distorted from childhood. I have grown up thinking the coach should always be more experienced and possibly older than the coachee, thus should be in the position to profer solutions. I also realised that there is a significant difference between a coach and a counsellor. From my understanding, a coach becomes a counsellor when he starts to give advice.
May 19, 2010
After witnessing the team toss the dice a few times and everyone eventually getting a partner, I was left standing alone. I eventually had to team up with someone else that was left over fro another team. I had four areas of improvement which were; communications, planning, time management, and decision making. I had the opportunity to listen to my team mates issues and advise on possible solutions to the best of my ability, and he in turn helped me out with my planning ( my ability to create plans but inabilty to follow through). I got some useful tips from him but I could not help wondering the essence of the coaching session. I was of the opinion that a coach was supposed to be more experienced in order to be able to effectively profer any solutions. I was a bit sceptical about the reliability of the help being offered espicially considering the fact that we had a couple of mutual problems. How would someone with the same persistent problems as mine possibly be capable of profering any sort of solution? That aspect of the exercise remains a mistery to me.
May 18, 2010
Today was particularly a day of self realisation for me as an aspiring leader. We had a class exercise consisting of seven individuals each with a very strong personality. At the beginning it seemed like a potential disaster and I was very apprehensive. As the exercise kicked off, our personalities started to emerge and it was not long before we had about four leaders running the show. I looked at my group members and at some point, they seemed like hyenas devouring their prey. At that point I stepped back and went into silent mode just to mainly observe whilst keeping abreast with the developments. I learnt some essential tips on leadership from the team leader as he continuosly came up to me to inquire about my views and ideas. I realised how effective this was because I immediately felt the urge to participate in the task. I also realised that effective leadership is not always about being at the forfront of every situation. It involves making sound judgements and stepping aside occassionally for others to take charge. On a conclusive note, I realised that a good leader must be a good observer.
May 16, 2010
I have just read a few articles and blogs on leadership. However, the most interesting discovery I have made today is the difference between management and leadership. I remember someone in the leadership and excellence class at the University of warwick raising this particular question. A book by Elwood N Chapman titled "Leadership: What every manager needs to know" highlights the differences in a tabular form. From what I could deduce, management seems more of a task while leadership seems more of a will. A manager views workers as employees while a leader views workers as potential followers. The most interesting of the attributes is that managers accept responsibility while leaders seek responsibility. In my opinion, I feel that management and leadership are both complementary as one cannot be effective without the other. This is a very interesting subject area which I still intend doing more research on.
May 06, 2010
It has been an interesting week thus far, learning about leadership, watching everyone trying to create their own definitions of leadership and advocating for theirs to be taken as the standard definition. Personally, I feel leadership has a lot to do with the perception of the followers. The attributes that one person seeks in a leader would differ from what another individual would seek. This is only a manifestation of the human psychology. My theory therefore is; for as long as there exists an element of variability in the human psychology and perception, there would never be a standard definition of leadership.