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leadership reflective essay

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The Importance of Reflective Leadership in Business

Business leader speaking to three members of their team, who are seated at a table with laptops

  • 05 Sep 2023

Effective leadership is essential to business success. As an organizational leader , you not only guide decision-making but create your company’s culture, retain its talent, and move it toward bigger, better things.

Your leadership style —the behavioral patterns consistent across your decision-making—influences your impact on your organization and team. One of the most beneficial styles to adopt is reflective leadership.

If you want to learn more about reflective leadership’s role in business, here’s an overview of its components, why it’s effective, and how to become a reflective leader.

Access your free e-book today.

What Is Reflective Leadership?

Reflective leadership involves self-awareness, introspection, and continuous learning and growth to make better decisions, enhance leadership skills , and improve team performance .

“Reflective leadership requires the continuous practice of reflection over time,” says Harvard Business School Professor Nien-hê Hsieh in the online course Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability . “This allows you to regularly examine and re-evaluate your decisions and responsibilities to practice, broaden, and deepen your skills, and to apply this knowledge when analyzing present situations.”

Reflective leadership also enables you to help your team grow.

“Reflective leadership is about helping others on your team or in your organization,” Hsieh says. “It’s about helping them develop their own skills in awareness, judgment, and action.”

In Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability , Hsieh delves into the reflective leadership model , a framework for conceptualizing your responsibilities as an ethical leader.

The Reflective Leadership Model

The model has four components:

  • Awareness: Recognize your legal, economic, and ethical responsibilities to stakeholders.
  • Judgment: Consider biases and shared concepts that influence your decision-making.
  • Action: Act on your decisions in an accountable, consistent way.
  • Reflection: Reflect on all three components throughout the process to learn from past experiences.

“The reflective leadership model involves not only reflection on business decisions but also continuous reflection on your own personal beliefs, goals, and commitments,” Hsieh says in the course. “These aspects of self are often significant influences on your decisions and internal guides when navigating difficult situations.”

The Importance of Reflective Leadership

Before diving into the importance of reflective leadership, it’s critical to note the pitfalls of being an inadequate leader.

According to recruitment services company Zippia , 79 percent of employees leave their companies because they don’t feel appreciated by leaders, and upwards of 69 percent believe they’d work harder if recognized. In addition, only 33 percent report feeling engaged in the workplace.

Companies also lack focus on leadership development. Zippia reports that 77 percent struggle to find and develop leaders, and only five percent implement leadership development at all levels.

Since reflective leadership focuses on continuously improving and developing, it’s one of the more effective leadership styles. By regularly reflecting on your beliefs and values and incorporating them into your actions, you can make ethical decisions and enable your company to be more purpose-driven .

“Along with responsibility, leadership brings opportunities,” Hsieh explains in Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability . “These include opportunities to make ethical decisions where someone else wouldn’t, to influence others to do the right thing, and to make a positive impact on the world.”

Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability | Develop a toolkit for making tough leadership decisions| Learn More

Reflective leadership also helps you build authentic, supportive relationships with team members and create a workplace of ethics and accountability .

If you want to adopt a reflective leadership style, here are the competencies to develop.

How to Become a Reflective Leader

Be self-reflective.

Self-reflection is at reflective leadership’s core. According to Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability , you can practice self-reflection by:

  • Reviewing, analyzing, and evaluating your decisions—in the moment and over time.
  • Continuously deepening your awareness and self-knowledge.
  • Developing a general framework for judgment.
  • Improving your capacity for action and leadership.

Leading with self-reflection won’t just help you learn from past experiences but also encourage and enable your team members to adopt reflective mentalities.

Identify Your Commitments

Knowing your commitments is also essential to effective leadership.

“It’s important to identify and define your own commitments,” Hsieh says in Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability , “both to set a baseline for what you will and won’t do and to evaluate and clarify your thoughts, opinions, and feelings when making decisions.”

To create that baseline, Hsieh recommends asking the following questions:

  • What’s core to my identity?
  • What lines or boundaries won’t I cross?
  • What kind of life do I want to live?
  • What kind of leader do I want to be?

By identifying your commitments, you can better guide yourself and your team.

Consider Your Accountability

Becoming a reflective leader also requires accountability to successfully execute on your values and implement them into action plans.

This refers to the reflective leadership model’s “action” step—putting your decisions into practice in a way that’s accountable and consistent with your responsibilities.

“When leading reflectively, straightforward action planning may not be enough,” Hsieh says in Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability . “An accountable leader will go beyond just answering ‘How will we do it?’ to ask ‘How can I do it accountably?’”

How to Become a More Effective Leader | Access Your Free E-Book | Download Now

Reflective Leadership Training for Businesses

By incorporating your values into your leadership style, you can learn from your experiences on a deeper level and develop into a better leader.

One way to gain the skills and frameworks to succeed long term is by taking an online course, such as Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability . Through a dynamic, interactive learning experience, the course provides the opportunity to apply the reflective leadership model to real-world business ethics challenges.

Are you ready to become a reflective leader? Apply to Leadership, Ethics, and Corporate Accountability —one of our online leadership and management courses —and download our free e-book on effective leadership.

leadership reflective essay

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A Reflection on Leadership based on my experience with the LEADER Project

Nov 2, 2012

A Reflection on Leadership based on my experience with the LEADER Project

Leadership is a quality that's innate in me. Whether it was in the playground at pre-school, the soccer-field growing up, student council in high school or various teams I am involved in at Ivey, a common theme has been my desire and willingness to lead. For a long time I thought this was because I enjoyed being in a position of control, a position of influence where I could shape the direction of a particular project or initiative. To some extent, this was the case; but I only recently realized that it was the desire to have an impact that I love most about being a leader. In fact, the ability to make an impact is how I would define leadership. Often times, leadership is seen as a title, a position that one is chosen for or given to make decisions and lead a group of people. These individuals are leaders, of course, as they're able to make significant impact on a large group of people; but we forget that leaders are everywhere in our society and more often than not they are leaders in an unorthodox sense. Whether they are artists, teachers, or musicians, many of them make an impact on their communities and those who choose to do so intentionally are leaders in their own right.

Danish Ajmeri

This is not to say that everyone can be a leader. I believe there are certain personality traits, skillsets and motivations that need to be present for effective leadership to take place. However, I believe leadership is a means to generating impact and I believe there are numerous individuals out there who do this on a daily basis who we would never consider as being leaders in the traditional sense of the word.

My LEADER experience has been paramount to me redefining my definition of leadership. I have personally been very fortunate to have had formal opportunities to develop my leadership skills and be provided with opportunities to exhibit it as well. This has given me tremendous exposure to new opportunities and only accelerated my growth as a leader. However, after visiting Russia I realized that such opportunities are unheard of in their communities. They don't have student councils, leadership institutes, summer enrichment programs or entrepreneurship incubators. These were all formal institutions that allowed me to practice and develop my leadership skills. This begged the question: is there a lack of leaders in Russia? Absolutely not. Many of the students I had a chance to work with were budding entrepreneurs with ambitious goals for solving critical problems in their communities. Several of them had already pursued various community service projects and some even had international experiences which they sought out on their own.

One student in our class, Julia, was particularly inspirational. She came from a very low-income family and was financing her tuition by founding an adventure sports startup. Specifically, she had partnered with a hot-air balloon pilot and began offering excursions to individuals in the nearby city of Samara. This was a brand new offering unbeknownst to a region that attracted little to no tourists. Despite this seemingly massive hurdle, Julia persevered with her vision and successfully ran this business over the course of the last two years. Since then, she has expanded their offerings to include mountain biking and hiking tours as well. This just goes to show the determination and commitment she made to her education and creating a service that genuinely added value in a unique way for her community. Julia didn't have mentors, venture capitalists or incubators to help guide her through this process. She did her own research, invested the little capital that she could afford and courage to take on this enormous challenge. Julia is a true leader.

Despite a lack of formal infrastructure in place to foster leaders in the traditional sense, many students were still forging their own ways of making an impact. This is what leadership is all about. I'm extremely fortunate and grateful for having the opportunity to experience this first hand. It inspires me to know that youth all around the world embody a passion for change, a desire to lead and a commitment to making an impact. LEADER is a phenomenal initiative that is supporting this dream and opening doors that otherwise may never have opened - for our students, the entrepreneurs, and for us, the LEADERites.

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Writing an Effective Leadership Essay: Tips and Examples

definition of "leadership essay" that is restated in the article

  • DESCRIPTION woman writing with leadership essay definition
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Whether you’ve led a horse to water or led your team to a victorious championship, you’re probably more of a leader than you give yourself credit for. It turns out, college admissions officers want to hear about that horse and/or championship in your application essay. The leadership essay is one of the hallmarks of college essays, but what’s the right way to do it?

What Is a Leadership Essay?

A leadership essay is a subset of college application essays that help college admissions officers understand your previous experiences as a leader. While that might seem extremely specific, it comes with the understanding that leadership looks and feels different based on the person and situation.

To give you a real world example: The president is ostensibly the leader of the United States. However, the president has a whole cabinet of other leaders for every other aspect of running a country. You might not be a leader of foreign policy, but you might be a leader on the football field or within your community volunteer group.

Leadership Essay Ideas and Topics

While you might see a few variations, almost all leadership essays go back to two main forms:

  • What is your leadership style?
  • Describe a moment when you showed leadership.

There’s inherently a bit of overlap with both of these. You’ll likely give an example of a leadership moment when talking about your leadership style, and you’ll probably talk about your leadership style when talking about a leadership moment.

In either case, the school will want you to use anecdotal evidence that demonstrates the idea. Go with what feels right, whether that’s leading a club or team in school or leading some ducklings across a busy highway. Even if your experience sounds cliché, it’s unique because it involves you.

How To Write a Leadership Essay

Probably the biggest trap that people fall into is “Well, I’ve never been a leader.” Even if you’ve never held some sort of leadership position at school or had an official title, chances are pretty high that you have exhibited some form of leadership at some point in your life. Beyond that, the actual writing of the leadership essay is fairly straightforward.

Formatting Your Leadership Essay

Your leadership essay will include an introduction paragraph, one or more body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Depending on the word or page limits, you can almost treat this like a five-paragraph essay .

  • Introduction - Capture the reader’s interest, define good leadership in relation to you, and directly address the given prompt
  • Body paragraphs - Give some background information using anecdotes to describe your leadership style or moment
  • Conclusion - End with a compelling statement about your leadership qualities and how you hope to apply them to your education, career, and the world in general

How Long Should a Leadership Essay Be?

The length of the leadership essay depends on what the college or application system says. Thankfully, this is the one part of the essay that you don’t need to question. Nearly every school will provide a word limit, typically ranging from 250 words (for supplemental essays) potentially all the way up to 1,000 words.

In the rare event that you don’t see an obvious word limit, stick to a maximum of about 500 to 600 words.

Tips for Writing a Leadership Essay

Unfortunately, we don’t know your personal life, and we certainly don’t know moments where you exhibited leadership. So we can’t write your essay for you, but we can give you some tips to at least guide your writing process.

Define Good Leadership Before You Start

Before you begin writing your essay, think about what qualities make someone a good leader, at least in your opinion. What great leadership qualities do you have? What makes a “good leader”? Make a list before you begin writing your essay. 

Leadership qualities can include:

  • The ability to motivate others
  • Personal integrity
  • Placing a value on relationships with team members
  • Prioritizing the larger good over any individual

Review your list and choose the qualities you want to highlight. Write your own definition of what makes someone a great leader as it relates to the quality you chose. It should be one or two sentences long. Use that definition as the backbone of your essay.

Tell a Story About Your Leadership

It’s time to turn that list of potential leadership qualities into something meaningful and interesting. The best way to do that is with an engaging narrative.

You should obviously state good leadership qualities, but that shouldn’t be your entire essay. Tell a story about your leadership.

  • Did you face a specific challenge?
  • How did you overcome that challenge?
  • How has your leadership style changed over the years?
  • Was there a specific moment or experience that caused that change?

Really ask yourself questions and dig into the concept of leadership as a real thing that has had real effects on your life.

Write With Your Own Voice and Style

Although you shouldn’t be super informal in college application essays, they are also designed to help you display your own voice and personality. College admissions officers want to learn about you, and your writing style is inherently a big part of that, whether that means using humor or puns, maintaining a unique level of sincerity throughout the essay, or being invitingly verbose.

Don’t Be Down On Yourself

Whether it’s your personal statement , a supplemental essay, or this leadership essay, avoid being too down on yourself. Admissions officers want to hear about all your successes, trophies, and kittens saved from trees. They really don’t want to read a whole essay about you saying you’re a bad leader.

Humility is definitely an important leadership trait, but there’s a fine line between being humble and being hurtful to yourself. Even if you’re normally prone to some self-deprecation, try to keep it at a minimum for this essay.

Leadership Essay Example

If you’re not sure where to start, take some time to brainstorm ideas. Even the weirdest idea can blossom into something neat. If you need inspiration, one of the best things is to look at other examples of leadership. That could be from your favorite show, a good nonfiction book about sailors, or the essay below.

full text essay example with labeled parts restated from the article

  • DESCRIPTION leadership essay example chart
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Leadership Essay Introduction Example

The introduction should pull the reader in while directly answering the prompt. When in doubt, try to start with something concrete over something abstract. Or as writers and writing teachers like to say: Show, don’t tell.

The room was filled with the gentle hum of microphones and video cameras, cut only by the occasional cough or cleared throat. It was easy to feel out of place in this room full of wood furniture, leather seats, and powerful men capable of changing not just my life, but an entire sector of television programming as we knew it. I had never thought of myself as a leader, but I also knew that this was about something bigger than me, something that I could actually influence.

Leadership Essay Body Example

The body is where you’ll get more into the details of your narrative and connect it to ideas of leadership. Try not to get too hung up on the exact wording of what makes a leader. That can get far too abstract. Let your story speak for you.

I took a deep breath and began to talk. I wasn’t known to have a particularly commanding or powerful voice, but people always seemed to listen, including these men with their name placards and tall seats. They had been ready to cut funding for public broadcasting, which included programming that they had never seen. I was simply someone who lived in a neighborhood and cared about children’s education, beyond just math and reading. All I could do was be honest.

Leadership Essay Conclusion Example

Your conclusion considers the broader effects of your leadership. How might your leadership evolve or change? How can you apply that leadership to your education, job, or community?

To me, leadership is about connection. I know that I have a voice and an immense dedication to emotional intelligence in children. My ability to focus on other people goes hand-in-hand with my ability to speak through a tiger puppet. Both are about closing gaps and bringing people closer to a basic understanding. I hope to use my leadership abilities within the field of psychology to build more connections between people and communities.

Open Access is an initiative that aims to make scientific research freely available to all. To date our community has made over 100 million downloads. It’s based on principles of collaboration, unobstructed discovery, and, most importantly, scientific progression. As PhD students, we found it difficult to access the research we needed, so we decided to create a new Open Access publisher that levels the playing field for scientists across the world. How? By making research easy to access, and puts the academic needs of the researchers before the business interests of publishers.

We are a community of more than 103,000 authors and editors from 3,291 institutions spanning 160 countries, including Nobel Prize winners and some of the world’s most-cited researchers. Publishing on IntechOpen allows authors to earn citations and find new collaborators, meaning more people see your work not only from your own field of study, but from other related fields too.

Brief introduction to this section that descibes Open Access especially from an IntechOpen perspective

Want to get in touch? Contact our London head office or media team here

Our team is growing all the time, so we’re always on the lookout for smart people who want to help us reshape the world of scientific publishing.

Home > Books > Contemporary Leadership Challenges

Reflective Leadership: Learning to Manage and Lead Human Organizations

Submitted: 02 July 2016 Reviewed: 20 July 2016 Published: 01 February 2017

DOI: 10.5772/64968

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This chapter mainly focuses on the concept of reflection as a process, both individual and collaborative, involving experience and uncertainty under the theme of reflective leadership. This type of leadership basically means learning to manage and lead human organizations. It originates from the concept of reflection defining leadership roles and responsibilities in all types of organizations. Focusing on reflection for learning in an effort to create reflective learning communities for all stakeholders taking part in both administrative and executive positions in organizations, this chapter is expected to contribute to leadership theories, to link theory and practice in concrete terms describing new leadership roles and responsibilities under the reflective thought considering its unique impact on organizational functioning.

  • reflective practice
  • organizations
  • reflective learning

Author Information

Süleyman davut göker *.

  • Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education, Artvin Çoruh University, Turkey

Kıvanç Bozkuş

*Address all correspondence to: [email protected]

1. Introduction

In the literature, leadership is defined by many theories that try to explain what leadership is, in terms of different standpoints. However, the real world is very complicated that cannot be prescribed in some given patterns. This is the very first fact that leaders realize once they enter into professional practice. This is when prescribed theories do not meet the requirements of real practice. How can leaders be effective in an environment that is so distinct from those portrayed on paper? The answer is the grail that many if not all practising leaders had committed him-/herself to following of it. Reflective leadership goes to bat for anyone in the realm of leadership which is not mapped yet.

We start to explore reflective leadership by discussing what reflection is and then its role in creating reflective learning communities in organizations. The route to leadership through reflective thinking is the next topic we will address. Finally, we conclude with reflective practice which is the essence of reflective leadership and its models of implementation.

2. Reflection

Reflection is not only a personal process but also a collaborative one, which involves uncertainty along with experience, and consists of specifying inquiries and essential components of a thing that came out as important, later taking a person’s thoughts into dialogue with himself or herself and with other people. Individuals evaluate insights developed from that process in regard to additional perspectives, values, experiences, beliefs and the larger context within which the questions are raised. Through reflection, new-found clarity to base changes in action or disposition is achieved. New questions naturally arise, and the process spirals onwards [ 1 ].

Within this context, we argue that reflection is a vital component of leaders’ daily life, not a detached or disconnected action but primal, promoted by the culture and structures of an organization, which affects choices, policies and decisions together with the emotions and politics related to them. Considered from this angle, to be reflective should not be considered as a method, which has been acquired and occasionally used, but an inherent component of what to manage or lead means.

2.1. Dewey: father of reflection

Thinking includes all of these steps, - the sense of a problem, the observation of conditions, the formation and rational elaboration of a suggested conclusion, and the active experimental testing. [ 2 ]

For him, reflection is a deliberate and cognitive process triggered by a state of doubt, mental difficulty and hesitation. He sees reflection as a process of researching, clarifying and finding the right way that eliminates the doubt and difficulties. The mental process of reflection is activated by a problem, unstructured ideas and complicated situations to find a solution.

Forestalling something of the spirit of the progresses we maintain in this chapter, Dewey conceptualized this aspect of learning as more important than a problem-solving process. Dewey’s vision was of an educational process which had reflection and action linked at its core and was the means by which individuals gained ‘a personal interest in social relationships and control’—a platform for social change to a more democratic social order and preparation for membership of it [ 2 ].

2.2. Schön: reflection in action

Schön sees reflection as closely related to action and personal experience. The reflective practitioner engages in thinking along with the effect of action. Thus, Schön classified reflection into two types: reflection in action and reflection on action. Reflection in action is conscious thinking and modification while on the job [ 3 ]. The reflective practitioner immediately reflects on the action upon confronting it. Reflection on action is the reflection done after experiencing the action. The practitioner evaluates to understand whether the activity was successful or not by making judgements.

On-the-spot surfacing, criticizing, restructuring, and testing of intuitive understanding of experienced phenomena; often it takes the form of a reflective conversation with the situation. [ 4 ]

… on the feeling for a situation which has led him to adopt a particular course of action, on the way he has framed the problem he is trying to solve, or on the role he has constructed for himself within a larger institutional ‘context.’ [ 4 ]

As discussed above, this included ‘reflection on action’ and ‘reflection in action’ in practical terms. Human beings always tend to take shelter in experienced and accustomed forms of working and in practised processes or similar methods. That is to say, all endeavours to see the unknown in everyday life let people confront routines and connections and to alter those sides of working thought and practice taken for granted. For example, the capacity to make use of certain images, emotions, metaphors, to engage both rationally and aesthetically and to look at relational dynamics considering settings allows for the production of discrete styles of practising and thinking.

2.3. Reflection for learning: creating reflective learning communities in organizations

Ultimately, the outcome of reflection is learning [ 6 ]. It widens our perspective on a problem (broadens knowledge). It helps us develop strategies for dealing with it (develop skills). It helps us acquire new insights into our behaviour (changes attitudes).

Learning is not an individual behavioural attribute or capability but a ‘double-loop’ cognitive learning process that can be shared, and if everyone can participate in shared learning, then, in principle, everyone is capable of leading [ 7 ]. Within this context, the learning organization assures whatever the classical human-centred view about learning treasured at all times that commitment to learning will rescue us from obedience in blind authority in the end.

Even though learning itself as an action could seem self-evident, it is concerned with many issues in determining in what ways learning individually could be ‘effective’ or ‘rational’ against ‘self-deception’ and ‘defence reasoning’ [ 8 ]. As the difference between reflexivity and learning is hard to understand, in all attempts to understand that difference, reflexivity in the organizational development tradition has often been problematic [ 4 , 9 , 10 ]. The question is so clear: is it a neutral and instrumental expression of expert knowledge and control, or is it a methodology of feedback and diagnostic practice that pursues to develop really inclusive forms of distributed knowledge and learning [ 11 ]. The former position treats self-reflection as ‘I think’, whereas the latter tends to treat it as an expression of ‘I do’ [ 12 – 14 ]. What can be said here is that these two conflicting positions usually finish up as remedial approaches to learning. Learning could be thought as a deliberate way of ‘reflexive thinking’, allowing us to keep our distance from existent actions or behaviours and alter them. In contrast, learning as doing is bound by pre-reflective practices, so it is difficult to retrospectively translate or transmit learning or knowing in practice into intentional actions designed to change behaviour [ 13 ].

Leading for learning is an essential aim in creating reflective learning communities, which aim to create strong and fair opportunities of learning for all in an organization and encourage them to benefit from these opportunities. Leaders can accomplish this by committing themselves to the following areas of action: establishing a focus on learning, building professional communities that value learning, engaging external environments that matter for learning, acting strategically and creating coherence [ 15 , 16 ]. The perception suggested centres on supplying each learner, no matter what problems they confront, the ways to overcome intriguing skills and to advance habits of mind for additional and autonomous learning.

‘Let’s try it out and see how it works’ is an active learner’s phrase; ‘Let’s think it through first’ is the reflective learner’s response in a reflective learning community [ 17 ]. Leaders’ learning incorporates skills, the knowledge and standpoints, which they obtain while getting ready for and regenerating their practice. Interacting with other professionals who offer moral support, critique, ideas and inspiration for the renewal process will also promote opportunities for effective professional development.

Nearly all managers wish to create more powerful and equitable learning opportunities when they are given time to reflect. Nevertheless, their abilities depend on how they perceive the existent and prospective links between learning and leading in their own context. Managers can use reflective tools like optimizing video as a self-assessment tool, strengthening electronic portfolios with reflective journal writing, making use of associated resources on the Internet, taking advantage of on-line peer mentoring and stimulating reflection via learning communities as part of professional development.

Creating such a reflective learning community requires building professional communities that value learning, acting strategically and sharing leadership and engaging external environments that matter for learning. This type of reflective learning also fosters system learning, in which opportunities come up by means of evaluation of policies, programmes and resource use, strategic planning endeavours, action research focused on system-wide issues and application of indicators to measure progress towards goals defined. Leaders will be able to support system learning through inquiry into how an organization performs.

2.4. The route to leadership through reflective thinking

Reflective thinking is not only an internal process but an external one promoting improved critical thinking skills together with self-understanding as an essential way of inner work which emerges in the energy for employing in outer work. This type of thinking is required for understanding what it means to be significant for oneself and in one’s organization or practice. Being aware of one’s thinking is essential to make informed and logical decisions while working with others. In other words, taking to heart the feelings, thoughts and behaviours of other people also eases improvement in accomplishing organizational and professional objectives. In this chapter, we keep focusing on becoming a reflective thinker as a means to becoming a reflective leader. Therefore, we believe that managers can raise their awareness on their potential capacity for leadership.

Reflective leaders regard learning as a lifelong process, and they tend to equilibrate the practice ‘telling’ with ‘asking’ and frequently depend on the collective intelligence capacity of the teams formed in their organizations. Rather than being ‘in judgement’, these leaders ‘use judgement’ in handing down significant decisions. They regularly tend to step out of their routine and accustomed settings to think, explore and learn. Because the business environment has grown more complex, volatile and fast paced, leaders are more and more willing to adopt a ‘bias for action’, but effective leaders reflect on their past experiences and search for relevant, different insights before decision-making process.

What have I learnt?

What were my feelings and thoughts as it was happening?

How could I explain my experience?

How could I make use of learning for my future actions?

What is your opinion of way I felt and acted?

How have I reacted and behaved?

Based on the answers to the questions asked above, reflective leadership can be considered as a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one’s life with presence and personal mastery. In other words, it requires learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people in our daily life, and it regards leadership from the standpoint of human experience. Taking the science of phenomenology into consideration, self-awareness and reflection on one’s own experience together with the experience of other people are the starting point for the process of reflective leadership, which ultimately aim to achieve improved communication changing leadership practice.

We have developed further questions and possible responses to encourage managers to become reflective leaders. Through these six questions and responses, we aim to create awareness on how to become a reflective leader in practice:

2.4.1. In what ways can reflection evoke my self-interests?

People’s self-interests can be met if they reflect on how their work has affected their learning and lives. These effects entail their progress and apprehension in some fields like career search, development of leadership, social justice, civic responsibility and consciousness, intellectual interests and self-actualization. People tend to concentrate on self-learning on particular occasions. They also consider issues related to career search when they finish university. For example, people remember their civic responsibilities only when they vote. The forms of reflection we have been discussing are drawn up to link people’s work experiences to personal development.

2.4.2. How should I proceed to be a reflective thinker?

A reflective thinking model illustrating the process of reflective thinking was developed by Taggart and Wilson [ 18 ]. To identify a problem, dilemma or challenge could be one of the initial efforts. As the next step, you should draw back from the problem concerned for a while and use an outsider perspective to re-evaluate that problem. Within this process you can employ ways of observation, data collection and reflection. They will help you obtain a cognitive picture about the way you think for the sake of defining the setting of that circumstance. This position may be integrated with a similar event in the past to lead you to get probable ways to attempt to solve the problem. You should ask a question at this stage: How have I dealt with the almost identical situation in the past and what makes the present situation different from the one in the past? You will naturally remember your experiences and make predictions and create different approaches. Doing so, you will also have tested the approaches used systematically. Finally, you will review the actions you have taken together with the consequences, and that process will provide you with a new opportunity to reframe the situation concerned.

2.4.3. What do I understand by reflective leadership?

As discussed earlier, a dedication to the continuous process of maintained critical self-awareness and development is essential in reflective leadership. How can you do that? If you are determined to become a reflective leader, you should exchange reflective thoughts of yours with those of others establishing new relationships and ask them to see the situation. We tend to make use of feelings that we highly value, let ourselves experience them and pass along them whenever available. This sort of approach, which is genuine, will certainly give us a space where we will be able to value the contributions of others. This is how we support other people by means of our own reflective practice.

Learning from others basically requires listening to them within the framework of reflective leadership, which will require receptivity to other people. Listening attentively is both an art and a skill to be practised. Effective leaders must listen to cases and stories from all workers to reflect on in what ways they could enrich and change practices. Within this context, those stories providing data about what does work or what does not will tell us to look for significance. Any discussion and reflection on those stories will enrich, change and provide us with opportunities to install any possible changes into practice.

2.4.4. What types of strategies, resources and tools do I need to be more reflective and self-aware?

Awareness is created through communication. To achieve a high level of communication, awareness on what you have been thinking is necessary. In other words, it will enable you a tool to discover yourself and become more self-aware. To do so, any sort of conflict should be seen as an opportunity to understand more of your true self as well as other people. The questions and answers to what you are sensing, thinking, feeling and willing or not willing to do will take time to get. So, you should go on asking them till you could past strong emotions like resentment and anger, because those emotions play a key role in guiding you to what you have been thinking. After reflecting on genuine answers, you can share them with other people directly. Whatever language you use in answering to those questions will encourage ownership, thus enhancing connection. Through this process, you could get a tool to monitor your awareness, expand your opinions and listen to others attentively to resolve problem.

Another efficient approach to work with other people effectively is to be aware of your natural talents. This is something to do with exploration of your strengths. Identifying your talents will naturally provide you with many strategies to build them into your strengths. Knowing what gifts and talents you possess will help you see your weaknesses and align your goals and job with your own talents.

2.4.5. In what ways do reflective leaders affect leadership practice positively and create reflective leaders to be?

Reflective thinking lets you both share your concerns and reveal the concealed issues for you and other people concerned. This process will create an opportunity for you and other people to reflect on your and their point of view, thus providing a sort of catharsis. Doing so will help you develop a wider viewpoint, a new appreciation for everybody and deeper understanding.

As reflective practice is seen as a transformative process, you and the other people around could proceed in a more interconnected way. So, you could define common objectives and goals together with guidelines to avoid possible conflicts in the future. In creating open channels of communication, this environment will bring informal and regular meetings to allow reflective practices supporting reflective leadership. These types of meetings are highly valued by reflective leaders as they see them as productive environments to provide collaborative work supporting the greater sense of collegiality.

Being open and letting testing of propositions and inquiring about one’s strength are another significant task for reflective leaders. It could be necessary for you to face problems like defensiveness of yours and that of other people and the inefficiency of your team for the sake of ensuring the impact of approach you use. So, a reflective learning community, in which reflection is an ideal way of support and learning, should be created by reflective leaders. In such a community, you provide a safe environment for self-expression, identify objectives, give feedback and stimulate self-observation. In defining the strengths of the individuals, you offer other people optional approaches to be successful in their work.

2.4.6. Which leadership processes enhance reflective leaders’ powers and achieve success in other people?

First of all, peer reflection, which helps question assumptions, is one of the main means for reflective leaders to carry out with other reflective leaders. Peers are of paramount importance in clarifying our values. This process helps us build our and peers’ strengths, compensate weaknesses and search for better problem-solving approaches [ 19 ].

To be able to achieve the task, effective leaders should form and maintain the teams in developing individuals. The aspirations can best be achieved if leaders can function in a collegial and collaborative ways by means of reflective practices, which initiate the process of perspective transformation. In other words, reflective leadership is considered to be transformative as long as it builds success in other people by reducing barriers while implementing leadership behaviours. Barriers, to a certain extent, are determined by means of reflection. They are regarded to be intrinsic to our human ego—strivings to achieve, to manage our situation and to compensate for our lack of confidence. The barriers can be reduced by deliberately reacting to what challenges us as a leader under different circumstances. Reflective leaders do that by having a deeper awareness of what sort of leader he/she wished to be, what sort human being is required and what sort of legacy is left by them. These choices direct leaders in how they take up daily leadership. That is to say that the way how leaders go about their day will determine ultimately whether they feel successful and rest with integrity and peace of mind or not.

The rapid rate of changes in our age seems to be one of the biggest demands for leaders. The other striking demand is the need for new frameworks for leadership skills. Leaders can cope with those challenges as long as they can bring each individual to the table to model the future with strong collective dialogues and cooperative actions. Among the other reflective leadership skills, they should be able to manage conflicts, model an adaptive capacity and be efficient in establishing and maintaining relationships. As they are expected to be the cocreators of change, they should accept that any individual or circumstance cannot move out their individual peace or competency. Viewed in this light, they should be able to communicate those feelings to other people in a way that will encourage and enable them to clasp the future and partake in its formation. Ultimately, they should be able to act as a model for other people in their exploration of the value and meaning of whatever they do. They can exhibit behaviours of personal growth and self-awareness if they have a commitment to the ongoing reflective practice.

To conclude, being a reflective leader is initiated through reflective practice. You can begin by being more fully present in every task in your daily life. This requires attending to verbal and nonverbal communication in your interaction with others, often inquiring and clearing up worries and being an attentive listener. You should further take your own experience into consideration together with the experience of other people and each assumption before making decisions. Only after these reflective practices can you establish a sense of mutual respect and sound relationships and see that other people are drawn to you and search for your compassionate consideration about any problem encountered. This transformative process followed will make advance on the way to becoming a reflective leader.

3. Reflective practice

Managers and leaders focus upon events through an intellectual exercise in order to determine in what ways individual assumptions and beliefs together with their experiences and background impact organizational functioning. This is what we call reflective practice that inculcates the intellectual discipline needed to discern ‘what is’ in practice episodes as well as to engage in the self-growth necessary if one is to manage and lead others.

The success of reflective practice depends on learning. For reflective leaders, doing immerses learning. Being aware of what we have been doing does not always create learning as it is a purposeful endeavour. Approached from this angle, realizing the required role of reflection in taking out learning from experience and being aware of the essential principles of a reflective practice will let leaders begin to act on the conception that knowledge is planted in their experience and understand the significance of that knowledge in fostering their practice.

Through learning from experience, reflective practice aims to create a structure, habit or routine. So, a reflective practice can differentiate with regard to how much, how often and why reflection is carried out. Carrying out a reflective practice requires not only clearing the aims it needs to serve but also creating opportunities to install reflection into our activity that are down to earth and yet come about at the right intervals and with adequate depth to be meaningful. However, it is structured; sustaining a reflective practice will transform the probability of learning from our practice into an actuality.

Sergiovanni [ 20 ] classifies three distinct knowledge of leadership conceptions regarding the relationship between theory and practice: (1) there is no relation, (2) theory is superordinate to practice, and (3) practice is superordinate to theory (p. 7). People who adopt the first conception believe that professional practice in leadership relies solely on intuitive feelings disconnected from theory and research. People who put special emphasis on theory feel that leadership is an ‘applied science’ which can be prescribed by theoretical concepts, strategies and depictions. Believers of the last conception see leadership as a ‘craft-like science’ consisting of reflective practice not prescribed but informed by theory.

Since the first conception claims no relation between theory and practice, implication of leadership as no science makes no sense to many, and thus it did not find enough grounds to permeate. Unlikely, the theory-oriented conception of leadership as an applied science pervades throughout the literature on leadership. Its clear-cut linear fashion simplifies every decision to be made into steps and processes predefined in literature. When one has to end organizational conflicts, then there are models of conflict management. When some important decisions have to be made, there are decision-making processes that explain every step in detail. This tool-based approach to leadership has long lived for its feasibility, but when it was realized that the real life is more complicated that it cannot be predetermined to a degree which enables theory to make tools for every situation in leadership, then reflective practice seemed a more realistic way of generating professional knowledge that is different from scientific knowledge. It is different because professionals create it by crafting their intuitions once they encounter situations not defined by scientific knowledge unlike ones in applied science conception. Thus, the craft-like science conception distinguishes professional knowledge from scientific knowledge; the former is created on demand, while the latter is predetermined as a contingency. Reflective practice is about professional knowledge creation by ‘deciding what to do. What purposes should be pursued? What strategies and practice should be used? What should be emphasized and when? In what ways should resources be deployed? How will we know we are on track, and so on’ [ 20 ].

Another distinction implicit in our understanding is that scientific knowledge is prescribed by theory, while professional knowledge is informed by theory. It is informed by interacting elements of reflective practice: practice episodes, theories of practice and antecedents (p. 15). Practice episodes consist of intentions, actions and realities. Leader’s priorities, preferences, strategies and decisions determine his or her intentions that impel actions in the form of leadership and management tactics and behaviours. After actions are performed, realities occur as results, outcomes and consequences. The realities further affect intentions and then actions in a loop which never ends ( Figure 1 ). This infinite loop of practice episodes affects and is affected by theories of practice and leadership antecedents. Theories of practice are mental scenes of a leader’s beliefs and assumptions about how things work in the real world. These are greatly affected by leadership antecedents especially by the theoretical knowledge antecedent. These mental images perform as mindscapes that govern leadership actions both consciously and unconsciously. ‘A reflective mindscape is a perspective in which purposeful activity…is always subject to disciplined examination and re-examination using whatever resources are helpful’ [ 21 ]. Theories of practice may arise from social interactions between leader and others or even from myths on how organizations work. ‘The bundles of beliefs and assumptions about how organizations work, the role of power, authority, management, and leadership, the organization’s purposes, the role of competition, and the nature of human nature’ may evolve into theories [ 20 ]. Workplace is where leaders can best learn about their theories of practice. Therefore, a detailed explanation of these implicit theories cannot be made.

leadership reflective essay

Figure 1.

Elements of reflective practice [ 20 ].

At this point, we will focus on five key leadership antecedents, which play an essential key role in understanding the reflective practice. They are cultural milieu, theoretical knowledge, craft knowledge, self-knowledge and critical knowledge.

3.1. Cultural milieu

As reflective practice is expected to be contextualized in work, it should not be considered separately from the cultural milieu together with the setting and purposes of organization. The cultural milieu includes the elements of educational background, social background, religious background, economic background and historical background, which plays a key role in shaping in what ways a person sees and interprets the outer world. This means that reflective practices will differentiate from individual to individual and from organization to organization and that companies will form different reflective practices that emerge from and further inform their backgrounds mentioned above.

On the other hand, reflective practice can occur through a visioning process or a bigger process of culture change or organizational change. Tucker and Russell [ 22 ] concluded that transformational leaders can have a major influence on organizational culture and change. As culture is a medium by means of which leadership travels and affects performance of the organization, reflective leaders play a key role in transmitting the culture that they believe will most augment organizational functioning.

3.2. Theoretical knowledge

The second antecedent of leadership is the theoretical knowledge, which consists of technical, cognitive and rational knowledge. It means that theoretical knowledge is factual in nature, based in scientific rationality. Reflective approach to leadership is important to the integration of theoretical knowledge, skill development and individualized contexts. The learning organization was often based on a systems theory that handled practice as a result of theoretical knowledge [ 23 ]. Professional learning communities, the name given to leaders’ collaborative professional learning, have become so overused that the term’s meaning is often lost. Only when leaders reflect on their practice based on their theoretical knowledge, consider the impact leadership has on workers and implement insights gained from a meeting to improve their leadership performance can this process be called a professional learning community.

3.3. Craft knowledge

Craft knowledge is believed to be implicit in practitioner; it provides the ‘feel for’ what one does [ 24 ] and manifests itself in the refined ability to interpret what is and to discern what ought to be and what one should do to get there. According to Kluge [ 25 ], knowledge management shows unique leadership challenges. ‘From a leadership perspective, knowledge management has been viewed more like a craft and less like a science. Because of the very nature of knowledge, it is difficult for managers to predict what measures can really improve performance, and how to encourage and guide knowledge flows within an organization’ [ 25 ]. The leaders, according to them, should presume the function of advancing leadership and knowledge in the organization. They should set the tone for the organization and demonstrate that knowledge together with its administration are carefully taken into consideration.

Leaders, from this standpoint of view, should signal a shift in tone when they ask their team to reflect on their learning. Reflective leaders help them realize that they can now look back rather than move forwards. They will take a break from what they have been doing, step away from their work and ask themselves, ‘What have I (or we) learned from doing this activity?’ Some leaders could use music to signal the change in thinking.

In the reflective settings, leaders could invite the teams to learn from their experiences orally or in written form. They ask them to reflect on their learning, to evaluate their metacognitive strategies, to compare intended with actual outcomes, to analyze and draw causal relationships and to synthesize meanings and use their learning in different and future events. Members of the team realize that they will not ‘fail’ or make a ‘mistake’, because these terms are broadly described. Nonetheless, reflective teams realize that they can learn from all their experiences and develop personal insight.

3.4. Self-knowledge

Self-knowledge, even though it is often neglected, enables a vital lens through which leaders could better understand, realize and interpret organizational reality and their position in it. It mainly includes self-awareness, self-understanding and self-management. Without self-knowledge, it is hard for the leaders to understand their weakness and strengths together with their super powers. It lets the best business builders walk the tightrope of leadership: projecting conviction while at the same time staying humble enough to be open to different ideas and opposite thoughts since it is an essential element for organizational functioning. To improve self-knowledge, we highly recommend reflective leaders to (1) observe yourself to learn, (2) keep testing and knowing yourself better and (3) be conscious of other people as well.

While building a team, self-knowledge is also a crucial factor as being aware of one’s weaknesses together with strengths makes them a better recruiter and allocator of talent. In the meantime, you should also be an acute observer of others’ weaknesses and strengths. Reflective teams consist of people who both understand and complement each other. Whenever you notice people developing a common goal by pursuing different ways, there is an implied feedback loop based on peers and systemic learning in that observation itself. Should you have the right complement of people as well as a supportive learning organization, it lets you look at yourself and other people.

That is called the leash of self-awareness: know, improve and complement thyself. They are the common sense principles even though they are not generally practised. In other words, people do not often commit to stand in the face of truth. Rigorous commitment, intellectual honesty and active truth seeking are sine qua non to any process of self-awareness.

3.5. Critical knowledge

The final antecedent of reflective practice is critical knowledge, which includes assumptions, beliefs and values. In other words, critical knowledge (sometimes called ‘philosophical’ or ‘ethical’ knowledge) is a conscious awareness of that which is of transcendent or ultimate value and which perjures beyond the individual. Reflective practice creates an opportunity for development for people holding leadership positions. If you want to manage a team, you should have a clear balance between technical expertise and people skills because this type of role is hard to play. Reflective practice gives an opportunity to leaders to re-evaluate what has been achieved and what improvements could be made.

As discussed earlier, reflection is the conscious and intentional examination of one’s behaviour. Through this process, new understandings and appreciations may be acquired. Leaders should be an active reflector keeping their personal journals. When a difficult event takes place, they can often scribble in their journal to decanter their emotions and thoughts. Schön [ 4 ] described three processes to reflection—awareness of uncomfortable feelings or thoughts, followed by a critical analysis of experience, leading to the development of new perspectives. The phases are not necessarily linear and can involve both looking forwards and looking back.

Asking open and curious questions: let yourself practise asking genius-level questions, which only other people can answer, and about which you should not have any possible theory. For example, you could ask your colleagues about what they are genuinely excited in their work or what their biggest worries are.

Reflecting on the iceberg: doing so takes us back from repairing symptoms and being sensitive to what is going on around us. For example, you can think of a certain event and detail whatever you saw at the level of any event or action. You can then note the different patterns of behaviour seeming to contribute to that action. Detail on different organizational structures and cultural milieu, which created those behaviours.

Using visual art: this is basically a practice for shifting out of words. You could use newsprint or flipchart material with large coloured magic markers and start scrawling, drawing, scribbling or sketching whatever you think. Do not use any words till you feel that you are tired and leave the ‘artwork’ overnight. Look at it for a few minutes, give a name and date it the following day.

Journal writing: to give a chance to what our own inner wisdom says and listen. Doing so, you could learn from your own lives. This sort of practice helps create a greater awareness of your processes of thought. Give yourself some time every day to write in a free way with no prejudice. This process of writing might reflect the sense you possess about tomorrow or what now breaks for you about yesterday.

Role models: without any prejudice, you could observe a leader having a different approach different from that of ours. This practice will help you identify leaders whom you admire. To shadow those leaders, give yourself a day and observe them. Try to have a short interview with any of them asking how they think about leadership and handle the change.

Tackling creative endeavour: spend some time each day for some creative capacity such as writing poems, cooking, playing music, painting or sketching. These can rest our mind placing you in a flow state and enable significant perspectives to understand the world in different ways.

Reaching physical wisdom: to have a better reflection, you should devote to attempt in processes creating different understanding in your body. You may spend some time for some activities like playing golf, jogging, taking up skiing, woodworking or gardening courses.

Discovering people who draw the best out of you: identify who in your life draws your best energies and in whose presence you are the one who you would like to be. Also identify what you have in common. Spend more time with those people who give you best energies.

Through these processes, it will be much easier to learn from colleagues; write downshifts in your awareness and in your sense of purpose. Ask yourself whether you are aware of things you have not noticed earlier, by virtue of any of these processes or practices. The possible responses you will have will contribute to your effectiveness as a leader; increase the capacity to lead change. When people are asked about the most effective leaders, they will talk about the extraordinary capacity of leader to listen. Listening is an essential cognitive skill for a leader. One might conclude from this that reflective practice begins within yourself, and it is a significant transformational leadership skill, which will help you notice and change the profound processes of thought.

3.6. The models of reflective practice

To make reflective practice more concrete, there are some models offered to leaders. A useful model that explains reflective practice is the ALACT model of Korthagen [ 26 ]. The model has continuous phases of action, looking back on the action, awareness of essential aspects, creating alternative methods of action and trial ( Figure 2 ). A leader or manager does an action; judges how well he or she did the action; considers elements that attributed to success of the action or prevented the action to be successful, based on that judgement develops better ways of doing action; and finally tries the action in a better way. Note that the first and the last phases are the same. A sample implementation of this approach would be like this one [ 26 ]:

A: A mathematics lesson was given.

L: This lesson went fine. They were a bit noisier than usual, but I could control them all the same.

A: Ronnie was not present; that may have been a cause of the extra noise. In my opinion he is a kind of ‘leader’, and because he was always cooperative, the others cooperated too. Now that he wasn’t there, the others didn’t know how to behave. Yet they all worked well. Another cause may be that we started at 8:30, which is earlier than usual. The children hadn’t blown off steam yet, but I wanted to start quickly all the same, for I had only 1 h.

leadership reflective essay

Figure 2.

The ALACT model of reflection [ 26 ].

C: The next time I will take more time.

Reflective questioning is another way of performing reflective practice. This model offers questions to be asked by reflective practitioners in three levels of reflective practice, which are descriptive, that is, theory-building, knowledge-building and action-oriented levels of reflection ( Table 1 ). The levels are a type of reflection in action. Reflective leaders first describe the situation they are in and then move to scrutinize the situation to construct knowledge to be used in the action-oriented level of reflection. In this final level, questions to improve the consequences of the action are asked by the reflective leaders.

Table 1.

Reflective questioning [ 27 ].

Gibbs’ model of reflective cycle takes feelings into account when reflecting on and learning from experience. It starts with a brief description of an event and then feelings about the event are expressed ( Figure 3 ). In the evaluation stage, value judgements are made for further analysis in the next stage to draw a personal understanding of the event. In the conclusion stage, insights into how behaviour affected the outcome of the event are developed. Finally, an action plan is developed to be used when encountered the same or similar event. The plan should constitute learned intuition of what a leader would do differently in the next time. This model is a type of reflection on action. A very good example reflection done by a leader using Gibbs’ model can be read at [ 29 ]. Instructions about how to implement each stage are further detailed in Table 2 .

leadership reflective essay

Figure 3.

Reflective cycle [ 28 ].

Table 2.

Stages of reflective cycle [ 28 ].

Kolb’s reflective model presents another circular approach to reflective practice ( Figure 4 ). New knowledge is generated upon experience building on prior experiences and knowledge. The cycle starts with a concrete experience in which a person is actively involved. In the reflective observation stage, reviewing of what has been done and experienced takes place. The next stage is called abstract conceptualization that involves making sense of what happened by interpreting relations between events. The final stage of active experimentation is about testing implications of concepts, which are developed in the previous stage, in new situations.

leadership reflective essay

Figure 4.

Kolb’s reflective model [ 30 ].

Experience needs to be seen as constructed, shaped and contained by social power relations.

Complex and unequal relations around knowledge are constructed between people as an integral part of the learning process.

There is a need to focus on the here-and-now experience and the mirroring process between the people within the education environment and the organizations they represent.

Finding ways of working with underlying and unconscious processes, particularly defence mechanisms, is necessary.

Second-order or metaprocesses relating to each aspect of the cycle are included.

4. Conclusions

Leadership is so complex that everything about it cannot be written in a handbook nor can be prescribed in the literature on leadership. So, how can new knowledge about leadership be generated when it is needed but not available at hand? Reflective leadership fills the gap between theory and practice by enabling leaders to construct their own theories of practice during, after and even before their actions. It teaches leaders how to catch fish instead of giving them fishes. It is a self-development tool and requires little mastery to use. We believe that this chapter is a good starting point for all leaders to acquire this mastery that paves the way for growing as reflective leaders who are self-efficient in creating and updating their own practice of leadership.

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Published: 01 February 2017

By Dee Gray


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By Sharon K. Stoll, Jennifer M. Beller, Peter VanMull...


Leadership and Management Essay

Introduction, organizational learning, leadership and management.

The world is so dynamic and competitive. In this regard, most organizations are capitalistic in their operation and always want more. They want more profit, more shareholder value, and more market share, among others. The realizations of these objectives have been attained through the successful initiation, development, management and above all by the application of strategic human resource management.

However, within this cacophony, the role of the H.R. as a specialist is not only changing, H.R. practitioner is also sifting towards taking the roles of a manager. Indeed, human service sector has paid cognizance to the effective development and management of social services.

After serving as a social worker in the United Arab Emirates and taking cognizance of the family, social, and emotional adjustments and experiences, one thing that rings into the mind is the role of leadership and management in non-for-profit sector.

If reward and the driving factor in business is profit, one striking factor that remains a concern is how the non-for-profit sector can effectively achieve its broad objectives without focusing on profit.

The purpose of this study is to draw personal experiences in leadership and management as a social worker in the United Arab Emirates, explore the aspects of human services funding and examine leadership and management to ascertain whether they are mutually exclusive or interdependent.

Postmodernism marks a departure from the approaches of the modernist and views the world in a state of objectivity and progress towards enlightenment. The systems and culture within organizations are in constant demand for change. This is core reason behind challenges in assessing organizational strengths and weaknesses.

One specific area of research that has attracted interest from researchers is the impact of postmodernism philosophy on current theoretical and empirical research on management and leadership in human services.

According to Andersen and Taylor (2005) “postmodern critique of contemporary critical social theory under theorizes the current historical conjuncture, overstates its discontinuities with the recent past and foregoes responsibility for explaining why their views ought to be privileged or even entertained as serious cultural criticism.”

This example represents the current critique of postmodernism philosophy. However, its aspects have raised critical questions about classical traditions of approaches to leadership and management.

There is abidance in the fact that there stands a strong connection between a narrative and an action in management. According to Hudson (2009), “the action derives from intention or motivation, based on the particular narratives of an individual, irrespective of whether these are self-generated, after appropriation from a culture.”

The understanding is that the line of action taken by a leader or a manager largely depends on a wide range of situational factors, organizational cultures, and objectives. However, this is analyzed from narrative and postmodernism theory to achieve a deeper dissection of how to articulate strategy into mainstream management roles and sustain the outcomes of the plan.

In the analysis of leadership and management approach within the non-for-profit sector, success in management and leadership revolves around complex approaches to the management of human services.

Organizational behavior is perceived as obtaining the capacity to build effective relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives.

However, organizational behaviour has been advanced as presenting numerous challenges and implications to the organizational context, and thus enlarging the complexity of organizational behaviour.

“A whole cocktail of factors has been presented as forming the basis for the adoption of organizational behaviours strategies, including costs reductions in transactions and strategic human services management (Harris and Hartman, 2001).

All these aspects of human services demand the delivery of leadership and management that foster positive transition along the increasing demands of organizational management approaches. One critical aspect of the reflection is process is the role of organizational learning.

Harris and Hartman (2001) define organizational learning as “the ability of the institution as a whole to discover errors and correct them, and to change the organization’s knowledge base and values so as to generate new problem-solving skills and new capacity for action.” In the recent past, learning has emerged to be a fundamental factor in every successful organization and include three common levels.

These are team learning, organization learning, and individual learning. Successful management of human services must integrate the concepts of organizational learning. This is more poignant in the case of non-for-profit organizational where the debate on sources of funds to finance human services still rages.

Despite the fact that leadership and management are not the same things, one clear fact is that they must go hand-in-hand. According to Gardner (2006), “leadership and management are necessarily linked, and complementary and any effort to separate the two is likely to cause more problems than it solves.”

Two aspects of leadership and management that encompass the current theoretical and empirical research on management and leadership in human services upon this reflection are consistency and valuing others.

Both postmodernism and narrative theories posit that the society is always in constant pressure to change and that change must have with the capacity and sustainability to ensure success. Consistency and value for others and their contributions are core determinant of change and eventual sustainability because the two are interlinked and congregate for improvement on organizational bottom-line.

One successful factor within this area of leadership and management involves developing teamwork and a sense of collective responsibility.

By appreciating the role of team members and how unique the chemistry that exists between team members, and internal and external communities, a leader or manager within the non-for-profit sector is likely to draw in the inclusive approach to leadership that seeks to appreciate the diverse thoughts of team members.

To achieve sound leadership that is compassionate and people-centered, there is need to understand not only the unique cultures at of the stakeholders but also the complexities and make adjustments in regards to leadership styles to the local context.

Having a complete analysis of the economic, political and social aspects that surround the non-for-profit organization has the capacity to enable a leader or manager discharge his or her services in sound manner.

The results of the analysis of self-reflection on leadership and management approaches within the non-for-profit organization in U.A.E. also indicate that leadership is not theoretical but is practical in that they act within the applicable and practical wisdom that draws its basis from the existing realities.

The understanding is that motivating others has a moral nature because it is concerned with the development of human beings in all dimensions. The philosophy of postmodernism asserts that the organizational must view its culture past the realms of modern approaches.

To understand this moral perspective of organizational management, there is need to underline the importance of being sensitive to the complex local context and grow along a continuous learning path.

The personal reflections of leadership and management within non-for-profit sector in U.A.E. point to the critical component of consistency in organizational ethics, values, beliefs and principles. In fact, consistency forms an essential trait in leadership standards, forms a significant theme in transformational leadership and transcends all levels and forms of leadership.

The understanding is that social workers are volunteers who are not only the most prized assets of these organizations but are in need of leadership and management that inspire and motivate. It there calls for leadership approach that is encompassed by a process that involves continuously influencing people and staying consistent throughout.

In the understanding that this is a growing subsector, the core values that define her leadership in the context of organization is character, honesty, integrity, equity, trustworthiness, self-discipline, courage, fairness and a range of positive leadership and management attributes are critical for success. These demonstrate the ethical leadership within this context must be devoid of controversy but compounded by consistency.

Furthermore, consistency of values forms a critical component of transformational leadership. In this regard, a leader is likely to lose support and following in the event of lack of consistency because the ability to stay consistent forms the true definition of effective leadership. This is in the view that employees look up to the leaders and the process of staying along the path of consistency must be continuous.

Consistency, therefore, forms entrenched belief and values of a leader in that in influencing others to follow their steps, leaders within organizations pursue a moral cause that is definitely not a one instant or a cause that is of short period. The ideology of consistency in transformational leadership within a non-for-profit organization is a crucial determinant to success.

On the other hand, bestowing great value on others and their contributions is a seed for success in leadership and management. As a growing sub-sector, non-for-profit calls for innovative leadership and management approaches capable of motivating others. Valuing others includes a distinguished view of others, respect for individuals and relationships, constant interaction and communication with people, and shared leadership.

Despite pitfalls and hurdles within the developing non-for-profit sector in U.A.E., The analysis of its leadership and management approaches project that having a fundamental respect for others and relationships has been considered as a critical factor in successful leadership within the context of organizational leadership and is considered central by all stakeholders.

This is an approach to transformational leadership that has been proposed by researches as effective in eliciting motivation and commitment. The pivotal role of valuing the contributions of others and having a fundamental respect for others’ opinions constitutes the definitive elements of transformational leadership.

Within the context of transformational leadership, this approach has been demonstrated as fundamental commonality in the analysis of the case of non-for-profit sector in U.A.E.

Within this emerging theme, leading from an ethical perspective is about working interdependently to construct a collective good for an organisation. This means that effective leadership calls for a collective responsibility for the achievement of set goals and objectives.

The importance of giving enough value to within this emerging sub-sector cannot be underestimated given the unique leadership and management challenges it faces. It is imperative and common knowledge that to effectively engage, influence followers and share values, beliefs and goals, each participating side of the engagement must appropriately value the opinions and contributions of others.

In fact, this technique of leadership has been documented to have the greatest effect on its ability to influence others and achieve their trust and loyalty.

In addition to the above, effective leaders understand and respect others’ values and, in turn, seeks to reconcile the potential tensions between personal values and organisational values.

Most participants within this sub-sector abide in the idea that valuing other people is the best strategy to the development of quality relationships that is critical for human diversity. The abidance in the critical role of valuing other people has been advanced by a number of literatures in the analysis of effective leadership.

Emerging themes from the above discussions demonstrate that both narrative and postmodernism philosophies continue to point out critical questions in sociology and within this aspect, the management of human services. The dynamic and competitive world brings with it changes in human service management.

In non-for-profit organizations, leadership and management are interdependent and any attempt separate the two remains disastrous for an organization attempting to portray the best in human service management.

Andersen, M.L. and Taylor, H.F. (2005). Sociology: understanding a diverse society. Cengage Learning.

Gardner, F. (2006). Working in Human Service Organizations: Creatng connections for practice. South Melbourne. Oxford University Press.

Harris, O.J. and Hartman,J. S. (2001). Organizational Behavior. N.Y. Routledge

Hudson, M. (2009). Managing without profit: leadership, management and governance of third sector organizations in Australia. Sydney. University of New South Wales Press.

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Leadership Reflection Essay Examples

Self reflection leadership essay example, reflections on leadership, introduction.

Leadership Reflection Essay Examples

When we talk about leadership, it’s not something that is practiced in the workplace but in fact it is in every little thing that exists around us. The phenomenon comes handy in any situation where a leader steps in and takes control. The place doesn’t matter; it could be your home, your office or any public place.

For those who think leaders are born, let me correct, leaders are made, with the ability and the credibility that people put their trust into. In this leadership reflection essay example I will be discussing my leadership strengths and the areas for improvement and growth.

Over the years, I have had the privilege of observing the concept of leadership in different contexts, which made me understand the traits that an effective leader requires. In this reflection essay I will be sharing my learnings and viewpoints on leadership drawn from observations and personal experiences.

Understanding the Nature of Leadership

As mentioned in the beginning of this reflection on leadership essay, leadership is not about imposing power over others. Practically, leadership is a complex blend of character, skill set and decisions that steer people towards one single goal.

Leadership is all about inspiring and influencing individuals that motivate them to complete certain tasks or achieve goals instead of coercing them. In my experience, leadership is a continuous journey to self discovery, its perseverance towards continuous learning and personal growth.

The Role of Vision

One of the most important aspects of leadership is to be clear about your vision and mission. The leader must thoughtfully come up with a vision that is in sync with goals of the team and the organization. If curated carefully, this vision acts as a guiding light towards a shared goal and purpose.

In my experience over the years I have witnessed leaders who have a focused vision are able to inspire others to follow their steps that ultimately lead to success.

Effective Communication and Empathy

To put your viewpoint across, effective communication is key especially when you are leading a team. The role of a leader demands clear communication of the vision, expectations and objectives so that he is able to be persuasive accordingly.

Many fail to understand that listening is equally important as communicating. It is extremely crucial for the leader to listen empathetically and comprehend so that he/she is able to address the concerns of the team.

During my learning experience in the role of a leader I found that when you listen to your team, and you are empathetic to their concerns you build trust, collaboration and people have a sense of belonging.

The Ability to Adapt and Resilience

Leadership is a concept that is variable and fits each to its own, there is no one leadership style that can be used for all. I can tell from experience that the role of a leader is quite challenging, where he has to face uncertainty, adapt to different situations and show resilience.

A good leader is the one who is flexible enough to steer through challenges, learn from the setbacks and have an optimistic approach towards inspiring teams. The ones who persevere through such challenges are able to pull through difficult times. So that makes flexibility, resilience and openness to new ideas as important qualities of a leader.

A Leader Show Lead by Example

The most important trait of a leader is to lead by example. Their role demands to practice the same values, attitudes and behavior that they expect from their team. This way, they lead by example and build trust and authenticity. Below mentioned are 7 ways you can lead by example:

  • Polish Your Leadership Skills – One of the best ways to lead by example is by getting training and learning how to build your skills and mindset accordingly.
  • Handle Conflict in a Constructive Manner – You cannot expect your team to handle conflicts if you are unable to do so yourself. Learn to address conflicts in a calm and productive way.
  • Communicate Kindly and Respectfully: A conflict can only be managed well if the tone is respectful and kind, reflecting that you care about your team.
  • Revert After Failure: Failure is natural in a business or personal life that can take place anytime a decision is made or risk is taken.
  • Practice Ethical Leadership: Never let moral values like honesty, transparency, integrity, respect and fairness leave your side.
  • Embrace Diversity: Create policies and procedures that make employees feel comfortable and welcomed. Keep an open mind and encourage different viewpoints.
  • Take Care of Your Well-Being: If you are unwell, it would be difficult to lead the team in compromised health.

To sum it all, leadership is a continuous journey that continues for life. My reflections on these leadership reflective essay examples have led me to understand the complexity and depth of how this concept works.

Leadership is a lifelong journey, and my reflections on this subject have led me to appreciate its depth and complexity. It is not a destination but a continuous process of growth and self-improvement. Effective leaders are not born; they are made through experiences, self-awareness, and a commitment to keep inspiring and empower others.

As I move forward on this journey, I have learned to evolve as a leader. These reflections would work as a guidance manual. So far, I have learned that leadership is not a title or an authoritative state, it’s how we affect others lives in a positive manner.

Beyond a role, this is a great responsibility that I carry with great enthusiasm and strive to make a positive difference in the lives of people surrounding me.

It is a responsibility that I embrace with humility and enthusiasm, driven by a desire to make a positive difference in the world around me.

  • https://www.betterup.com/blog/leading-by-example
  • https://www.ipl.org/essay/Reflection-Paper-On-Leadership-PKERL7HESCFR  

Leadership Style Reflective Essay Example

Reflecting on leadership styles.

Leadership Reflection Essay Examples

Usually, when one is integrating effective leadership styles into routine practice, there is a need to self-reflect to know your standing and then trying out different approaches to see which one clicks. But at the base, in this reflection on leadership essay I can confidently share that leadership is a concept that one can only develop through time and with continuous development.

In this leadership reflection essay example , I plan to explore the concept with a wideview and walk you through different leadership styles and share how they have impacted my growth and improved me as a leader.

Autocratic Leadership

During the initial phase of my career I realized I was more inclined towards the autocratic leadership style. Since it was so early in my career, I was of the view that being authoritative and decisive is what shapes up a good leader. Most of the time I would find myself making important decisions without keeping my team in the loop or seeking to ask for their advice.

As amazingly effective this authoritative leadership style was in numerous situations, I soon realized its limitations. It tampered with creativity, isolated my team and created an unwelcoming environment where open communication was discouraged because there was only one person in charge.

When I reflected on this style I realized that no matter how important quick decision making was in certain situations, it’s equally important to involve your team in the decision making process. This not only gets you to get creative ideas and different perspectives but also makes the team involved and gives them a sense of ownership.

Democratic Leadership

Once I realized that I need to include my team and give them a sense of ownership, I transitioned towards a more inclusive approach, the democratic leadership style. My team was very happy with this approach since they were more involved, and encouraged collaboration. I started getting some amazing ideas from my team and they too got comfortable in sharing their perspective.

While this leadership style empowered my team and promoted creativity, it had its own set of challenges. It would take a lot of time to reach a consensus and hence delay the decision making process slower. Also, it was difficult to reach a consensus everytime, with so many different perspectives.

So finally I realized that a democratic approach is viable only when you have sufficient time for the discussion and the team is equipped with the relevant expertise. It was necessary that a balance was achieved when it came to making the decisions in a timely manner and involving the team.

Transformational Leadership

My journey as a leader has been a great learning experience and I took each of the lessons to bring about a positive change. As I continued further on my journey of refining my skills, transformational leadership style caught my attention. This style is inclined towards motivating and inspiring individuals so that they can explore their full potential and achieve their best.

This approach included setting up a vision that was compelling to foster innovation and strive for personal growth. The biggest trait of transformational leaders is that they lead by example and bring about a positive change in the work environment where everyone works with full zeal.

When I started practicing this leadership style I found out that it encouraged both personal and professional development amongst the members of the team. But it’s not simple as it sounds, it requires full commitment to the vision and a high level of emotional intelligence to regulate your feelings and connect with people on a personal level.

Servant Leadership

My yearning to be a holistic leader brought me to a phase in my journey where I got an opportunity to explore servant leadership. With this style, you prioritize others’ needs over your own, reflecting an empathetic nature and practicing selflessness and humility. This style demands an active listening ear so that you as a leader are able to understand their concerns, address them and provide support accordingly.

I realized that servant leadership helped me create an impact on the team where I was able to build trust and build strong relationships with my team. Also, putting your team’s needs ahead of your own is something that requires a strong will power and a lot of patience.

To conclude, my leadership journey has been very explorational in nature where I got the opportunity to learn and experiment with my leadership styles, not once but several times. Along with highlighting my strengths and weaknesses in the leadership reflective essay examples in the initial phase of my journey I got to learn, unlearn and relearn a lot of things.

I got clarity that when it comes to leadership, there is no one size that fits all, it is multifaceted. In order to practice an effective leadership style it is important that the leader is flexible and can adapt to different styles according to different situations and different teams.

Furthermore, as I look back and reflect on my past experiences, I am looking forward to polishing my leadership skills and styles all the while seeking opportunities for growth and advancement. Also, I will try to integrate the best of the learnings on my style that I have come across so far.

I strive to be a leader who is quick to think on his feet and is able to make instant decisions. Also, I want to inspire and motivate individuals with my transformational approach and practicing servant leadership. I aim to be empathetic enough that I keep the needs of others above myself.

Eventually, leadership is a dynamic and overwhelming journey that leads to self discovery, growth, and persistent improvement.

izzah ahmed

Izzah Ahmed

This is Izzah, a content writer and editor who creates SEO-friendly content and has experience in academic writing. Backed by 10 years of experience in writing and editing, she is equipped with the skill to create content that is backed by thorough research and has impeccable structure.

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How to Write a Reflective Essay

Lindsay Kramer

You’re probably used to responding to different sources in essays. For example, in an academic essay, you might compare two books’ themes, argue for or against a position, analyze a piece of literature, or persuade the reader with facts and statistics.

In one way, a reflective essay is similar to an academic essay. Like an academic essay, a reflective essay can discuss ideas and concepts from books, literature, essays, or articles. However, unlike an academic essay, it focuses on how your personal experience relates to these things.

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What is a reflective essay?

Reflective essays are a type of personal essay in which the writer examines a topic through the lens of their unique perspective. Reflective essays are more subjective about their subjects than an academic essay, use figurative language, and don’t require academic sources. The purpose of a reflective essay is to explore and share the author’s thoughts, perspectives, and experiences.

Reflective essays are often written for college applications and cover letters as a way for the writer to discuss their background and demonstrate how these experiences shaped them into an ideal candidate. For example, a college applicant might write a reflective essay about how moving every few years because of their parent’s military service impacted their concept of home.

Sometimes, reflective essays are academic assignments. For example, a student may be assigned to watch a film or visit a museum exhibition and write a reflective essay about the film or exhibition’s themes. Reflective essays can also be pieces of personal writing, such as blog posts or journal entries.

Reflective essay vs. narrative essay

There are a few similarities between reflective essays and narrative essays. Both are personal pieces of writing in which the author explores their thoughts about their experiences. But here’s the main difference: While a narrative essay focuses on a story about events in the author’s life, a reflective essay focuses on the changes the author underwent because of those events. A narrative essay has many of the same elements as a fictional story: setting, characters, plot, and conflict. A reflective essay gets granular about the circumstances and changes driven by the conflict and doesn’t necessarily aim to tell a full story.

Reflective essays based on academic material

You might be assigned to write a reflective essay on an academic text, such as an essay, a book, or an article. Unlike a reflective essay about your own personal experiences, this type of reflective essay involves analysis and interpretation of the material. However, unlike in an analytical essay , the position you support is informed by your own opinion and perspective rather than solely by the text.

How to choose a topic

A reflective essay can be about any topic. By definition, a reflective essay is an essay where the writer describes an event or experience (or series of events or experiences) and then discusses and analyzes the lessons they derived from their experience. This experience can be about anything , whether big life events like moving to a new country or smaller experiences like trying sushi for the first time. The topic can be serious, lighthearted, poignant, or simply entertaining.

If your reflective essay is for an assignment or an application, you might be given a topic. In some cases, you might be given a broad area or keyword and then have to develop your own topic related to those things. In other cases, you might not be given anything. No matter which is the case for your essay, there are a few ways to explore reflective essay ideas and develop your topic.

Freewriting is a writing exercise where you simply write whatever comes to mind for a fixed period of time without worrying about grammar or structure or even writing something coherent. The goal is to get your ideas onto paper and explore them creatively, and by removing the pressure to write something submittable, you’re giving yourself more room to play with these ideas.

Make a mind map

A mind map is a diagram that shows the relationships between ideas, events, and other words related to one central concept. For example, a mind map for the word book might branch into the following words: fiction , nonfiction , digital , hardcover . Each of these words then branches to subtopics. These subtopics further branch to subtopics of their own, demonstrating just how deep you can explore a subject.

Creating a mind map can be a helpful way to explore your thoughts and feelings about the experience you discuss in your essay.

Real-life experiences

You can find inspiration for a reflective essay from any part of your life. Think about an experience that shifted your worldview or dramatically changed your daily routine. Or you can focus on the smaller, even mundane, parts of life like your weekly cleaning routine or trips to the grocery store. In a reflective essay, you don’t just describe experiences; you explore how they shape you and your feelings.

Reflective essay outline


A reflective essay’s introduction paragraph needs to include:

  • A thesis statement

The hook is the sentence that catches the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more. This can be an unexpected fact, an intriguing statistic, a left-field observation, or a question that gets the reader’s mind thinking about the essay’s topic.

The thesis statement is a concise statement that introduces the reader to the essay’s topic . A thesis statement clearly spells out the topic and gives the reader context for the rest of the essay they’re about to read.

These aren’t all the things that a reflective essay’s introduction needs, however. This paragraph needs to effectively introduce the topic, which often means introducing a few of the ideas discussed in the essay’s body paragraphs alongside the hook and thesis statement.

Body paragraphs

Your essay’s body paragraphs are where you actually explore the experience you’re reflecting on. You might compare experiences, describe scenes and your emotions following them, recount interactions, and contrast it with any expectations you had beforehand.

Unless you’re writing for a specific assignment, there’s no required number of body paragraphs for your reflective essay. Generally, authors write three body paragraphs, but if your essay needs only two—or it needs four or five—to fully communicate your experience and reflection, that’s perfectly fine.

In the final section, tie up any loose ends from the essay’s body paragraphs. Mention your thesis statement in the conclusion, either by restating it or paraphrasing it. Give the reader a sense of completion by including a final thought or two. However, these thoughts should reflect statements you made in the body paragraphs rather than introduce anything new to the essay. Your conclusion should also clearly share how the experience or events you discussed affected you (and, if applicable, continue to do so).

6 tips for writing a reflective essay

1 choose a tone.

Before you begin to write your reflective essay, choose a tone . Because a reflective essay is more personal than an academic essay, you don’t need to use a strict, formal tone. You can also use personal pronouns like I and me in your essay because this essay is about your personal experiences.

2 Be mindful of length

Generally, five hundred to one thousand words is an appropriate length for a reflective essay. If it’s a personal piece, it may be longer.

You might be required to keep your essay within a general word count if it’s an assignment or part of an application. When this is the case, be mindful to stick to the word count—writing too little or too much can have a negative impact on your grade or your candidacy.

3 Stay on topic

A reflective essay reflects on a single topic. Whether that topic is a one-off event or a recurring experience in your life, it’s important to keep your writing focused on that topic.

4 Be clear and concise

In a reflective essay, introspection and vivid imagery are assets. However, the essay’s language should remain concise , and its structure should follow a logical narrative.

5 Stay professional

Although you aren’t bound to a formal tone, it’s generally best to use a professional tone in your reflective writing. Avoid using slang or overly familiar language, especially if your reflective essay is part of a college or job application .

6 Proofread

Before you hit “send” or “submit,” be sure to proofread your work. For this last read-through, you should be focused on catching any spelling or grammatical mistakes you might have missed.

Reflective essay FAQs

Reflective essays are a type of personal essay that examines a topic through the lens of thewriter’s unique perspective. They are more subjective about their subjects than an academic essay, use figurative language, and don’t require academic sources.

What’s the difference between a reflective essay and a narrative essay?

While a reflective essay focuses on its author’s feelings and perspectives surrounding events they’ve experienced or texts they’ve read, a narrative essay tells a story. A narrative essay might show changes the author underwent through the same conventions a fictional story uses to show character growth; a reflective essay discusses this growth more explicitly and explores it in depth.

What are example topics for a reflective essay?

  • Moving abroad and adapting to the local culture
  • Recovering from an athletic injury
  • Weekly phone conversations with your grandmother
  • The funniest joke you ever heard (and what made it so funny)

leadership reflective essay


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A guest post from Sadhana Hall , an instructor for the YALI Network Online Courses , including lessons on “ Networking to Get Ahead ,” “ Creating and Managing a Team ” and “ Setting and Achieving Goals .”

I am fortunate to reflect on leadership and management concepts regularly, but not because these ideas are necessarily “new.” Many leadership concepts may be simple, but they are not just “common sense”; if that were the case, why don’t we see them being practiced more frequently? In my experience, I’ve found that great leadership requires intentional reflection on key concepts; here are a few that are important to me.

Effective management and leadership begins with being self-aware . This simply means that you need to work hard to intimately understand your strengths and weaknesses, model ways in which your values are congruent with your behavior, and develop a culture of respect for yourself and for others on your team. Recently, a new employee said to me: “Although I already had a strong sense of my core values before joining this organization, working here has pushed me to practice a higher level of professionalism. Our organization’s culture doesn’t just teach leadership to our students, but expects faculty and staff to model what leadership actually looks like on a daily basis. We are responsible for an array of excellent courses, effective programs, and skill-building events, but the most personally rewarding aspect of my work is participating in an internal culture that is congruent with our external message.” Explicit and implicit in this employee’s observation is the way in which our team practices shared management and leadership with awareness and authenticity.

Consider also what integrity means to you as a manager or a leader and why it matters. Integrity has been defined and described in many ways, but there is one idea that has stuck with me: A person’s integrity is a matter of the value of his or her word, nothing more and nothing less. If you keep your word for every task, large or small, people will naturally trust you with more complex responsibilities. Responsibility and trust create credibility, which then makes the conditions ripe for leading people towards achieving common goals. This is how your organization and your role within it can grow. So consider developing a habit of keeping your word — to yourself and to others. I know from personal experience that this is not an easy thing to do all the time. If you break your word — to yourself or to another person — apologize and figure out a way to fix the problem you might have created by breaking your word.

Finally, as a leader, pay attention to self-care . Taking care of your team starts with taking care of yourself. Understand your limits and what you can reasonably accomplish in a finite period of time. Identify tasks only you can accomplish and delegate other tasks in ways that will engage your team members and encourage their development.

These are my reflections on self-awareness, integrity, and self-care. What do these concepts mean to you?

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leadership reflective essay

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Leadership and Management Reflective Essay

The development of leadership skills is very important because they help to achieve both personal and professional success. At the same time, often people faces difficulties with the development of their leadership skills and abilities. In this regard, it is important to focus on the development of an effective leadership style that can help an individual in their professional and personal development. The development of leadership skills should be an integral part of education of students because students should learn different leadership roles. The latter will help students to be flexible, while applying their leadership skills and abilities and they will be able to use the most effective leadership style. Thus, students will be effective leaders. As for me, I am currently inclined to use transformational leadership style, which I believe to be particularly effective in the health care environment where I am currently working in.

Today, the role of leaders is extremely important for the successful performance of various organizations. At the same time, the effective application of leadership qualities highly depends on the approach used by leaders to their associates and subordinates. Among the variety of approaches existing in the contemporary business environment, transformational leadership is one of the most popular and widely spread approaches, which is considered by many specialists (Northouse, 2001) as highly prospective. In this respect, it is important to underline that the transformational leadership has not only benefits but it may have certain risks which can threaten to the normal development and performance of the organization, where this approach is applied.

At the same time, through the development of positive interpersonal relationships with associates, the contemporary leader can implement the full potential of his or her leadership because associates, being highly valued by the leader, grow more confident in the leader and, simultaneously, they feel more responsible for their own performance. To put it more precisely, the associates do their best to maintain the positive performance in order to avoid changing the attitude of the leader and to feel valued by the leader (Dessler, 2004). In such a way, the associates are conscious of their importance to the organization and its leader.

Furthermore, along with the growing responsibility of the associates, their productivity and effectiveness of their work grow too that also produces a positive impact on the development and performance of the organization. In such a way, the transformational approach can be use effectively used in order to improve the relationship of the leader and his or her subordinates and to improve the performance of the organization.

However, it is necessary to remember about certain risks that accompany the implementation of the transformational approach. To put it more precisely, the transformational leader can face a problem of the adequate treatment of him or her as a leader. What is meant here is the fact that often transformational leaders are perceived by their associates as personalities above all, while their leadership position is treated as secondary compared to their personal traits (Hesselbein and Cohen, 1999).  As a result, the leader can undermine his or her authority as a leader, while his or her personal qualities become of the utmost importance for his or her relationship with the associates. Also, the application of the transformational approach may lead to the abuse of power. Using the transformational approach the leader can use his or her power to manipulate his or her assoicates, forcing them to do tasks as a personal service to the respectable leader. Alternatively, the associates can use their good relationship with the in their own interest to achieve personal goals. Such effects of the use of transformational approach may produce a negative impact on the performance of the entire organization.

Nevertheless, the aforementioned difficulties the transformational leader can encounter while applying the transformational approach, it is still possible to overcome all these problems through the use of various factors that can be applied in terms of the transformational approach. To put it more precisely, the transformational leader can have an idealized influence on his or her associates. In such a context, the leader is an exemplary model for his or her associates and it is up to the leader what model his or her associates learn. In other words, if the transformational leader does not abuse the power and shows a positive example than his or her associates are likely to follow this positive example and they are likely to follow his or her model of behavior in their professional work.

At the same time, it is important for a leader to keep distance between him or her and his or her associates in order to maintain formal relationship. In fact, interpersonal relations should be rather intertwined into professional relations than substitute them that will lead to the perception of a leader’s personal trait as superior to his or her leader’s trait.

However, in spite of all my efforts to use transformational leadership style, I still face certain difficulties with the implementation of this leadership style in my professional work. In this respect, I should say that I am inclined to the authoritarian leadership style and I have to cope with my internal inclinations to develop new, more effective leadership style. In addition, I am working in quite stressful environment that raises certain barriers to the development of the transformational leadership style. In fact, I have to cope with stressful factors to avoid conflicts with my colleagues and clients. In this regard, conflicts may be a serious threat to my leadership style.

Taking into consideration the aforementioned problems and barriers, I have developed the plan which, I expect, can help me to overcome all the difficulties I am currently facing. Firstly, I will focus on learning the conflict management strategies that will help me to avoid conflicts in my professional relationships. Secondly, I will need to change my leadership style and refuse from authoritarian elements in my leadership style. For this purpose, I will study transformational leadership style in details and probably I will ask for advice of a psychologist who can help me to change my leadership style. Finally, I will need to establish a system of control over my progress. I am mainly focused on self-control using the self-efficacy assessment. In such a way, I will define my efficacy in the change of my leadership style.

Thus, in conclusion, it should be said that the application of transformational approach may be very prospective for the improvement of the performance of the organization and organization culture, but it is important to apply this approach very carefully in order to avoid its possible negative effects. The transformational leadership style is particularly effective in health care environment and I believe that I will use this style effectively in my professional work. However, to change my leadership style effectively, I will need to implement accurately the plan I have developed above.


Brown, D. C. (2003). Leading complex change. New York: Touchstone. Dessler, G.  (2004). Management: principles and practices for tomorrows’ leaders (3rd ed.). New Jersey: Upper Saddle River. Hesselbein, Frances, and Paul M. Cohen. (1999). Leader to leader . San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. Northouse, Peter G. (2001). Leadership theory and practice , second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Walton, Sam and John Huey. (1996). Sam Walton: Made in America: My story . Canada: Bantam Books.

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leadership reflective essay

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Reflective leadership  

Reflective leadership is something relatively new to me as a formal concept, I have over the years thought about my own personal leadership skills so maybe in hindsight I was being reflective? One of the best ways of describing reflective leadership is from a web article I discovered whilst researching this narrative.

“ Reflective leadership is a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one’s life with presence and personal mastery. Learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people throughout the day is the focus of reflective leadership .” (Sara Horton-Deutsch, 2013)

It struck me that taking a personal leadership journey, one of self-awareness and self-challenge adds a whole new dimension to the way in which I have reflected on my leadership and engagement with colleagues in the past. I was reminded of situations where I had adopted a more direct approach where, on reflection, it required more collaboration; a bitter pill to swallow in many respects.

What interests me about being a reflective leader is it moves you from an “action bias” to a more reflective and collaborative approach one where you are constantly in a cycle of learning; effective leaders reflect on their past experiences and search for relevant, different insights before the decision making process. (Goker & Bozkus, 2017) Some of the questions you might ask yourself:

  • What have I learnt?
  • What were my feelings and thoughts as it was happening?
  • How could I explain my experience?
  • How could I make use of learning for my future actions?
  • What is your opinion of way I felt and acted?
  • How have I reacted and behaved?
“Reflective leadership can be considered as a way of approaching the work of being a leader by leading one’s life with presence and personal mastery . In other words, it requires learning to be present, to be aware and attentive to our experience with people in our daily life, and it regards leadership from the standpoint of human experience.” (Goker & Bozkus, 2017)

So the journey has to start with a series of self- assessments, in my own personal experience I often look forward, look back and ask myself, is where I am  where I want to be? If the answer is yes then great you must be a great leader…but I suspect, as is with my journey the answer and reflection meant I needed to improve.

The question remains: how is being a reflective leader linked to engagement? I think the short answer is it’s a critical part of the whole process. One model sticks out for me developed by (Taggart GL, 2005). ‘One of the first steps to reflective thinking involves identifying a problem, challenge, or dilemma. Next, step back from the problem and look at the situation from a third person perspective in order to frame or reframe the problem. Ask yourself: How might an outsider view this situation? This second step involves observation, data gathering, reflection, and consideration of moral principles. These aspects help to provide a mental picture of your thinking in an attempt to define the context of the situation.’

Reflective leadership coveys a sense and practical application of collaboration, it involves listening and learning from the experience and from others.

“As a reflective leader, share your reflective thoughts with others and invite them to consider things as well. Enter into relationships with others without presenting a front or pretense, but instead being self-aware, this type of real and genuine approach supports an even playing field and conveys that I value other persons and their contributions.” (Sara Horton-Deutsch, 2013)

I believe that engagement must start with reflection simply so that both parties or at the very least the leader in the conversation has the presence of mind to understand the discussion as a whole and listens without judgement or predetermination; mindful of their responses and open to the process whilst active and fully present in the moment. By considering your experience, their experience and reflecting before a decision, you help to build a collaborative environment and nurture mutual respect in that’s instance and hopefully, as you become a more reflective leader, those future opportunities to engage with your people.

Written by: Richard Louw, Senior Officer, Border Force and Virtual Content Team Volunteer

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Goker, S. D., & Bozkus, K. (2017). Reflective Leadership: Learning to Manage and Lead Human Organizations, Contemporary Leadership Challenges,. In Aida Alvinius (Ed.)Ph.D., Contemporary Leadership Challenges (p. Chapter 2). https://www.intechopen.com/books/contemporary-leadership-challenges/reflective-leadership-learning-to-manage-and-lead-human-organizations.

Sara Horton-Deutsch, P. C. (2013, February). Thinking it through: The path to reflective leadership. American Nurse Today, Vol 8 no 2. Retrieved from American Nurse TOday.

Taggart GL, W. A. (2005). Promoting Reflective Thinking in Teachers. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.

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Critical Reflection Report (Leadership)

Introduction, literature review, critical reflection of my leadership, critical reflection of peer’s leadership, critical reflection of my project team’s performance.

Many people mix-up the concepts of Leadership and Management with each other. Leadership and Management are not the same thing. Leadership comes from within the person; where as, management does not. Leadership is not just all about managing people, tasks or resources; it is much more than that. A good leader possesses some good interpersonal and as well as social skills such as Emotional Intelligence. He knows how to motivate, influence, and manage people along with their emotions. In order to be a leader, (Freeman, Edward, & Stoner, 1992) it is important to understand what motivates the employees around you. It is necessary to discover the fundamental needs that employees, coworkers, and bosses have.

As far as the projects are concerned, since projects cannot be easily handled by a person or two; therefore there must be a leader who can make the whole group or team to flow in such a way that ends up with the successful completion of tasks and accomplishment of goals in a harmonious manner. The leader’s task is not only to let the team workers work, but he is also bound to create a vision, coordinate or communicate with them, understand them, motivate them, model the vision by himself, and make the team cohesive enough that eventually result in the successful accomplishment of tasks and goals without any conflict among them.

There are many leadership styles and strategies that leaders adopt to make the work come along in a favorable way. In this report, we would discuss some of the leadership’s styles and strategies and would apply to the team working situation for the completion of project related to PID (Project Initial Document). First we would discuss the theories in the literature review section, and then would apply them to the respective working situations.

Lewin’s leadership style theory was the result of the experiment conducted by Kurt Lewin and his colleagues in 1939; after which they proposed three distinct styles of leadership. 1 – Autocratic, 2 – Democratic, and 3 – Laissez-Faire. In an Autocratic style, there are two levels of social status: upper and lower, which means that the upper level keeps the lower ones to gain leadership (Daniel, 2003). Moreover, authoritarian leaders make the decision without consultation that leads to discontent of other party; moreover, this style is adopted when there’s no time for group-decision making (Wagner, n.d). In Democratic style, lower status can acquire leadership because of slight gap between the statuses. Lewin’s study found it the most effective style, where leaders guide the group members and also participate. In Laissez-Faire or Delegative style, leaders provide negligible guidance to members and leave the decision-making up to them. It often leads to lack of motivation and direction. Lewin’s research showed that (Borkowski, 2008) leadership style affects the group productivity, behaviors, and relationships of the team members.

Blanchard’s Situational leadership model tells that the leader can adopt different styles of leadership based on the given circumstances; or it revolves around the act of directing and supporting the group members (Chimaera Consulting Limited, 1999). The four behaviors of a leader in this style are, 1 – Telling/Directing 2 – Selling/Coaching 3 – Participating/Supporting, and 4 – Delegating. In Telling, the leader defines the roles and directions, and is more task focused than relationship focused (12Manage, 2009). In Selling, focus is both on task and relationships; leaders look for ideas and suggestions from members, and the communication is two-way. In participating, the leader is more relationship and low task focused; moreover, members are encouraged to make decisions (Watkins, n.d). And in Delegation, there is low focus on both relationship and task by the leader. The leader just delegate the tasks and the members perform on their own since they have ability and willingness to participate. Functional leadership focuses on the decision-making when there’s no specific leader. Leadership functions happen in three areas, 1 – Task 2 – Team and 3 – Individual. Or, “the leadership functions meet needs in these three areas” (Shead, 2006). The leadership can be by an individual or a team.

The ways to have influence on projects as proposed by Thamhain and Wilemon include: 1 – Authority: the hierarchical right to make orders 2 – Assignment: manager’s ability to control a worker’s assignment 3 – Budget: manager’s ability to approve the use of funds by others 4 – Promotion: the ability to ameliorate a worker’s position 5 – Money: the ability to raise worker’s remunerations 6 – Penalty: the ability to punish workers 7 – Work Challenge: the ability to assign work that capitalizes on a member’s enjoyment of doing a specific task 8 – Expertise: the manager’s special knowledge that others believe are crucial, and 9 – Friendship: the ability to set up friendly personal relationships with the workers (College of North Atlantic, n.d).

Tuckman’s model of team development includes five stages Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning; each stage confronts team leaders and members with unique problems and challenges (Daft, 1997). The model shows how teams evolve through these stages and progress from one stage to the next in an orderly fashion (McShane and Travaglione, 2003). Before, these stages were labeled as, Orientation to task, Emotional response, Exchange of interpretations, and Emergence of solutions (Tuckman and Jensen, 1977). In this process, teams might regress back to earlier stage of development; nevertheless, this model is helpful in explaining team dynamics easily and in a simple way (Rickards and Moger, 2000).

Our project was to evaluate, research, and recommend our clients about the improvement in the quality and efficiency of their websites; and for that project we had a meeting every week in order to communicate with each other the probable ideas and information regarding the project. Since the team members were from different cultural and educational background, so we did have certain problems in communication, managing, and performing of tasks.

The aspects of leadership that I performed well are mentioned as follows: 1 – Democratic style. Since there was dissimilarity among the nature and background of the members and they didn’t perfectly know what to do, how to do, and when to do. I showed integrity and modeled the vision that we had; I guided my team members about the performance of tasks and participated myself in accomplishing them. 2 – I played the role of Participating quite effectively, which comes under the Situational leadership style. Since I believed that members of the team are not familiar with each other, not frank, and not cohesive enough to move on with the tasks swiftly; therefore, I focused more on the relationships among them and played a participative role along with encouraging them to give suggestions and make decisions. 3 – As far as the ways to influence are concerned, I emphasized on friendship among members, gave them freedom to use budget, promoted their work designation, and favored them by providing with benefits and bonuses.

The aspects of my leadership that require improvement include – being strict and being directive. The ability of being slightly strict is lacking in my leadership style, because I realized that being too lenient and relationship focused can result in the increased demands of workers, lack of motivation among them, and the completion of tasks that are not meant to be done in a certain manner, hence creating other issues in achieving the goals and objectives. Moreover, I can improve my leadership style by focusing on the team development process too. The stage of ‘Norming’ was not properly handled by me due to which the team members were not stuck to a certain procedure of rules and norms.

My leadership influenced the following aspects in a way that is expressed as follows:

  • Group Dynamics, they were affected mostly in a positive manner than in a negative manner. The team environment became pleasant, friendly, and cooperative due to certain reasons such as, effective communication, reward systems, task interdependence, small team size, and efficient skills and competencies among team members.
  • Task Performance, it was not so greatly influenced because our PDI project was not a complex one; moreover, it did not require standard requirements because the evaluation and recommendations for websites varied from client to client. Nevertheless, performance of tasks was satisfactory.
  • Delegation of Responsibility to team members was adversely affected, because I provided the members with the guidance and participated by myself too. Hence, I didn’t delegate too much responsibility to them since my focus was on the completion of task too along with pleasant relationships.
  • The overall success of the project was good, but not excellent. It is because the completion of the project was not in time and up to the mark, since the members had their own suggestions with them and were stuck to them, which also created some conflict and delay.

The main leadership and management styles and strategies that I employed include, Transformational leaderships style, Participative style, the Democratic style, and Transactional leadership style in which I emphasized on the rewards that would be given as a result of the completion of tasks.

Considering another case, where one my team members was the leader for the project of PDI. That peer was from the different cultural and educational background from other four, including me. He was from the United States of America and possessed a very rigid personality. The critical reflection of his leadership styles and strategies along with their influence over the group dynamics, task performance, and success of the project are discussed as follows.

Since that guy from the United States had a very rigid personality and used to favor punctuality; therefore, his leadership style was an Autocratic one. He performed this style effectively; he used to make decisions by himself and used to set boundaries and limits for us to perform the task and accomplish the purpose. He really kept us on out tows, which really helped the team as a whole and resulted in the completion of tasks without any delay and mistake. Secondly, he was more inclined towards the idea of Telling or Directing. Before the start of any task, he used to define the rules, guidance, and procedures clearly to perform the task, and wanted the task to be done in a way that was defined. It was so because he was more task oriented than relationship oriented. Moreover, he also used to the power to reward and punish other members of the team if the task is done and not done in a defined way, respectively. And those who failed to obey they rules or directions had to face penalty, and was assigned more work to do. Finally, as far as the team development is concerned, he was more into the development of norms and rules rather than the development of cohesiveness among the members of the team. He performed the task to ‘Storm’ and ‘Norm’ the team really well. Clear set of rules and norms were defined and the members were motivated to perform well for rewards; or else, face punishments and penalties.

The leadership of my peer influenced the following aspects in a way expressed as follows:

  • Group Dynamics, they did face some problems such as retaliation of certain members including me due to the coercion that was there by him. Moreover, the group environment was not friendly even a bit, because the focus of the whole team was to perform task and that’s it. We didn’t use to chit chat and have fun with each other; in other words, the group was not cohesive and the environment was boring and monotonous. Since the team composition was not homogeneous; therefore, the motivation and collectivist orientation among the members was not there.
  • Task Performance, there was a great difficulty felt by the members in performing the tasks; it is because there was no task interdependence. All members were supposed to do their task on their own; there was no encouragement over giving suggestions and ideas by us.
  • Delegation of Responsibility to team members was high, since the tasks were assigned separately to all of the members along with the directions and procedures to perform them.
  • The success of the PDI project was excellent. It is because the project was completed within the designated time and with the required quality and mark. Although, the time to perform the tasks was not so pleasant; nevertheless, we managed to accomplish our objectives in a nice manner.

The main leadership styles and strategies that were adopted by my peer included, Task-oriented leadership style, Directive style of leadership, and Autocratic style of leadership in which he used to make decisions by his own rather than discussing or seeking the recommendations or ideas from team members. Moreover, he used to define all rules, norms, and procedures because he had a Directive or Telling style.

Since the members of our team were from different backgrounds and lacked homogeneity; therefore, the team was not cohesive and familiar enough with each other. To make the team cohesive and familiar, there was a great need to develop the team in a certain manner that eventually end up in benefitting the whole team and achieve the favorable results. Therefore, the team went through the process of development as proposed by Tuckman. The effects of team development over the performance of the team are discussed below.

First of all, the team was formed and was assigned the project of PDI to work on for the clients to evaluate, research and provide recommendations for the websites. After then, the storming took place in the team, in which each member was introduced to each other along with reducing the conflicts or misunderstanding that they had. Then the team went through Norming stage, in which certain rules, procedures and methods were elaborated to work on. Then it came the performing stage. The performance of the team was affected in a positive way; it is because the members of the team were defined with a clear set of rules and directions; moreover, the misconceptions about each other were minimized that helped us to understand each of us better.

Each member of the team performed his respective tasks in an efficient way; though we did face some issues in performing the tasks such as, lack of suggestions or alternatives, lack of brainstorming, lack of cooperation for each other’s ideas, and lack of help or assistance from other members of the team. Nevertheless, those issues seem to be too small in front of the successful completion of tasks and the accomplishment of our desired goals.

Of course there were quite a few issues that were faced by me while working in the team include. Among them, some of were positive and some were negative. Positive issues include competition and conflict among the members. Yes, conflict is often considered as a bad sign, but conflict in our case actually allowed us to remove the misconceptions about each other and the respective ways of performing the tasks. Moreover, competition was there because there was negligible coordination among members, hence forcing each member to perform his task at his best as demanded by the leader.

Some negative issues that were faced include, communication barrier that was there for a few days in the start of the group. The group took off late since the members didn’t know about each other and were facing distinct situations, languages, and ways of performing tasks. Another issue that occurred was the leadership style issue; it occurred because different members from different countries were used to of different leadership styles. Some preferred and retaliated relationship-oriented style, whereas, some preferred and retaliated the task-oriented style.

The main contributing factors to team success were the group member’s intellectual capacity, their competencies, skills, and abilities to perform tasks in a way that is required by the leader in such trying circumstances. Moreover, patience, coordination, and determination towards the work were also included in the key factors that led us to successfully complete the tasks and achieve success.

Concluding our report, I would like to shed some light over the performance of my peer, my project team, and my own. As far as my performance as a leader is concerned, I think that things really gone well in terms of relationships, communication, collaboration, assistance, and task completion; but the tasks performed were not up to the mark. It means that they could be improved and made more effective if I would have focused a little more on directive style and being a little task-oriented.

My peer’s performance as a leader was commendable in terms of the successful accomplishment of tasks and goals. his autocratic and directive style no doubt, created many hurdles and problems within the team; but at the end, the performance of the tasks was up to the mark. He didn’t compromise a bit over the performance and achievement of goals.

My project team’s performance was quite satisfactory and commendable. Since we know that the members were from different cultural and educational backgrounds; they still managed to work under unfavorable conditions, didn’t compromise on work, and finally led the team to achieve the success in the project.


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Leadership Experience and Reflection

Introduction, leadership experience, personal reflection, reference list.

Within this reflective treatise, I intend to explicitly evaluate my leadership skills and behaviors. Specifically, I will concentrate on my strengths such as being a good participator and action-oriented leader. I will also reflect on the best strategies I should employ to improve my situational leadership abilities by balancing path and goal areas of my behavior and thinking. In the end, I will present an action plan of how I will endeavor to develop the areas I noticed needed some adjustments.

I am a friendly person and I enjoy hearing about the interests of other people by encouraging them to speak. I ask questions about myself and I enjoy creating a lively interaction environment. I have always enjoyed talking with people but I find myself interested in what they have to say when faced with a situation. I have found myself to be a good listener because I don’t interrupt people when they are speaking. Apparently, this has become one of my greatest strengths as a proactive participator. In several circumstances, I have tested my listening skills through continuous personal engagement in different leadership application environments.

For instance, as an aspiring leader, I have always found myself in different situations that require proactive participation in decision making to ensure that the end result is ideal. In one of such situations, I was able to guide a charged interactive meeting into an objective and result-oriented forum. In the end, I realized that my inner ability to accommodate different opinions without prejudice was very consistent.

In the Leadership Assessment Competency, my main weaknesses are coaching and instructing, developing external contacts, and helping the community. I haven’t had much experience with coaching and I need to work on being better at coaching. When it comes to developing external contacts, I am very friendly to others but I have some trouble with networking and staying in contact with people within my social cycle. Specifically, Tyson (2008) opined that the elements of dependency within conscious and unconscious tenets are critical towards understanding expectations and possible challenges (Tyson 2008).

I have discovered from Tyson’s theory that I am an abstract conceptualizer. This means that I learn by thinking, analyzing, and planning before I do anything. For example, when I was faced with the challenge of making a decision on whether to attend a certain peer group meeting or not, I had to think about it, analyze it, and then I felt comfortable to attend since the organizers were people I liked. This means that I am a very analytical person. My strongest skills are interpersonal; I am a good listener, I build strong alliances, and I am concerned about people (Devito 2006).

I identify with the path goal theory proposed by Tyson. This is a leadership theory that I want to continue to improve on and use as a leader in the future. The path-goal theory is about how leaders motivate subordinates to accomplish goals (Tyson, 2004). It is based upon the expectancy theory, using the expectancy beliefs such as, “if I try harder I will perform better”, “if I perform better rewards will follow”; instrumentality belief, and “I value the rewards available”.

According to Payne (2006), leadership motivates when it makes the path to the goal clear, easy to reach, provide coaching, remove obstacles, and make the work itself personally satisfying. I have used this leadership theory in the past as a leader at my church by rewarding youths in my bible class who have studied the passages assigned to them. I have rewarded them with food, gift cards, and used positive reinforcement. I have found these rewards to work well. The strength of this theory is that it “reminds leaders of their purpose, which is to guide and coach employees as they move along the path to achieve a goal” (Devito 2006, p. 34).

Basing on the leadership practice inventory (LPI) assessment that I have undergone during the performance of different duties on a daily basis, the practice enabled me to develop the following three personal competencies. First, I should be a role model. I need to develop self-confidence by elucidating my own individual values. I should set good examples by conforming to the shared values of the community. Secondly, I need to enliven a common vision.

Indeed, I should visualize the future through perceiving to achieve pleasant and excellent possibilities (Tyson 2004). In addition, I should interact with various people to achieve common objectives that are important in group activities. Thirdly, I should learn through challenging inspirations. In fact, I should struggle to get opportunities and whatever I need in life as a way to develop and grow positively.

Moreover, other people like to take risks in order to learn through experimentation. According to McShane and Travaglione (2005), learning is made possible by making mistakes. These elements were possible since I was able to balance my Psyche ID and Superego as discussed by Bass (2008). As an aspiring leader, I found this experience very instrumental in balancing the expectations and my private thoughts into a pattern of continuous ability to remain focused.

The series of dynamics that interacted between my inner self and the environment in the phase leadership mode experienced a metamorphosis as the unconscious choices began to take shape when I started the process of learning how to practice change a tire. Since I was the leader, there were a lot of expectations from my family members to provide motivation and inspiration (Tyson 2008). As a result, my role was firmly established and I was able to connect the vision, mission, and values of the family members to the individual values and needs. This gave us a better picture of the purpose and how each member can contribute to that purpose (Burns 2008).

Expressing loyalty is a noble act showing a sense of worth and gives meaning to life. However, it is not an easy task; it comes with lots of challenges as some people are naturally rebellious. I learned that in spite of the prodigious challenges leaders go through; they can still inspire loyalty and effort in their team since they trust that the decision made by the leader is in the best interest of the group at heart (McShane & Travaglione 2005). This motivates the followers to work hard knowing that the achievement will be bigger than them. It also creates a culture in the group because members feel they have shared values and beliefs (Tyson 2008).

The knowledge is promoted by the ART model proposed by Tyson (2004) to explicitly review the link between task and role as enshrined in the tenet of authority. To inspire loyalty and effort, I learned that I have to be a good communicator. I have to seek opportunities to communicate. At the same time, I attempted to increase the volume and frequency of communication. Having in mind that 90% of communication is not about what you say but how you say it; I was able to communicate with passion, humility, and enthusiasm in line with leadership aspirations (Bennis and Goldsmith 2003).

Being in a position to offer personal authority is often motivated by past and present experiences, situational factors, and skills within the structure of a group. Using simple words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ has a great impact to inspire the team. Maintaining eye contact, having a relaxed body, and using a warm tone of voice does have an immense impact on the team members. As a leader, I can never be egocentric since it is not about me but about others.

I have to listen to everyone since this encourages them and I also gain great ideas and insight as well (Feist and Feist 2006). In expectations management, I learned that one has to remain consistent by matching his or her words and actions. As opined by Nelson-Jones (2005), beliefs should match with actions as well as my results. With consistency, everyone will see what you believe in. Every person has to be clear about his or her beliefs and make them known. At the same time, they have to remain disciplined and accountable to their own values and guiding principles (Nelson-Jones 2005). This aspect has greatly inspired my ability as a good listener.

I discovered that leadership has to be clear in the job description so that every subject knows the expectations for every day. In order to be successful, I have to proactively prepare personal insight to ensure that the outcome matches any expectations. These should then be communicated with regards to what is supposed to be done and setting out clear guidelines to be followed in order to limit space for vagueness or the contradiction of roles. This would show that the rules and regulations set down apply to everybody including me. This indicates that a good leader is consistent (Nelson-Jones 2005).

LPI assessment is important because it enables a person to perceive how people evaluate his or her leadership skills. Actually, LPI has helped me to be an effective team player. This is a self-assessment strategy that enabled me to inquire about people’s opinions in order to compare their suggestions with my perspectives as a way to improve my personality and leadership skills (Hellriegel & Slocum 2011). For instance, during the role allocation stage, I managed to control the tension and possible conflict that was growing within me since I am rarely interested in the technical parts of any task. I decided to take this part since the conscious and subconscious choices within my personality were well balanced (Sockeley-Zalabak 2011).

As opined by Tyson (2004), past experiences may have a direct influence on the roles of an individual. I learned that LPI assesses human acts that people utilize when interacting with different peoples (Tyson 2004). This assessment is helpful especially for leaders who intend to know how they influence people and how to communicate effectively. In addition, leadership skills are normally influenced by situational and personal experiences. First, I have to build an attitude of encouragement is important in a group (Tyson 2008). Actually, people should appreciate and encourage positive contributions. Secondly, I have to share objectives since they guide a person to embrace desired outcomes while discouraging unfavorable attitudes.

Personal experiences are based on three aspects. First, my past experiences influence people to be aware of which human acts have a positive outcome. Secondly, my personal attitude usually influences people on how to interact with me. Lastly, my self-esteem enabled me to develop inner strength in carrying out various actions (Arslan & Staub 2013). I was able to apply the principle of self-assessment when making general statements to minimize ideological variances. As the weeks progressed, my management approach was maturing at a slower rate than my participatory leadership style since my subconscious mind had placed the management approach within the tenet of experimentation (West 2006; Nelson-Jones 2005).

As opined by Greenleaf (2002), a challenging experience normally compels a person to examine his attitude. Indeed, an individual will attempt to improve his approach to resolve a challenge (Greenleaf 2002). I only realized the steady consequence of my leadership approach in the stage of accomplishing the unit synergy testing exercise. I discovered that it is possible to change toxic followers through interpersonal assessment. The interpersonal assessment examines human acts that people utilize when interacting with different peoples. This assessment is helpful especially for leaders who intend to know how they influence people and how to communicate effectively (Wren 2005).

Self-leadership psychology theorists overtly argue that cognition alters task orientation behavior. Specifically, the discursive approach in explaining and exploring shared and coordinated actions on roles and channels through which an individual’s framework functions in the exchange of information formally is of great essence towards understanding task orientation level (Hacker & Tammy 2004). Despite task orientation being rated as a high self-leadership assessment strategy, my action planning is of the essence to create a solution-oriented task and strategy implementation secession for quantifying task orientation levels as I discovered during the assignment activity review (Fishbein 2007). Thus, I was able to achieve synergy since I offered efficient leadership.

Adopting the model of development processes, my task orientation leadership skills on an individual task management level encompassed actual and expected outcomes. Through designing personal task management model levels, my task orientation module was activated towards developing dependence of interest attached to an activity, creating proactive relationships, and monitoring their interaction with physical and psychological health.

Eventually, this paid off since I learned to appreciate the essence of tolerance and the need to stay active when interacting with other people consisting of different personalities (West 2006). I should improve on excessive independence and intra and interpersonal communication since the two influence the level of task orientation with the third party (Kidd 2006). In fact, I find it difficult to challenge some people for their habit of showing up late for appointments due to the fear of being rejected.

As the weeks progressed, my basic assumptions of people were replaced by an interactive process which was characterized by a mature exchange between the containers (members) and the projector (leader) to steer the valence in line with Bion’s work group model (Tyson 2004). In order to achieve transformational leadership, it was vital for me to recognize the presence of the vice of postponing activities. This should be followed by creating a strategy to address the possible causes of indecisiveness. Through prioritizing and proper scheduling of activities, it was easy for me to manage this leadership module (Eriksen 2009).

At present, I am implementing transformational leadership strategies and have been successful in time management and limiting unpleasant detractors such as lateness, diverted attention, and discussion of private issues during meetings. I have been successful in self-reward creation (Wren 2005). However, the main challenge was to identify an independent reviewer of personal transformational leadership initiatives since I sometimes failed to make sure that other people are committed to a course of action.

I discovered that situational leadership engages in an active process of learning through promotion, facilitation, and rewarding collective learning results in the practical arena. The three building blocks of situational leadership include learning intrapersonal performance; supportive learning environment, concrete learning processes, and practice leadership that reinforces performance (Baxter 2014). Through using the diagnostic tools, I was able to assess the areas of personal situational leadership that require urgent improvement moving the person closer to an ideal leadership sphere (West 2006).

Self-initiative in situational leadership plays a significant role in setting up the leadership environment for situational occurrence management from external factors (Hui-Wen et al. 2010). My self guided approach is based on collaborative procedures that involve designing specific leadership experiences to organize situational management goals on how to monitor automatic response; recognize the relationship between these responses and cognition ways to test the validity of the relationships, and measures to apply to substitute the distorted thoughts with more realistic situational redress (Andreadis 2009).

Since research methods focus on the development of a range of skills that are designed to help the individual to cope with a variety of life situations, they remain indispensable to the personal initiatives I had internalized in practicing a proactive balance in self situational leadership management within the conscious decision-making process to remain active (West 2006). Despite the commitment to direct my skills towards proactive leadership, I had to deal with the challenge of balancing personal perceptions and realities that exist in task management. I have realized that I have the valence of leadership in LPI since I was able to handle personal fears.

I have been successful in applying the three types of leadership styles involving a realization that a challenge exists, the transformation of this challenge into a development goal after which implementation step concludes by developing a solution to the challenge. However, there is a need for improvement in keeping my situational management parameters within the goals and duties at hand (Avolio 2010). Common hurdles in leadership management include internal and external influences that slow down productivity and the ability to proactively handle challenges of the assignment (West 2006).

Therefore, it is factual that productive leadership is directly and positively proportional to the productivity level exhibited in an individual. In my view, it is important to minimize these hurdles to promote and encourages goal achievement within a set plan. I am currently monitoring counterproductive behavior as the negative parameter which limits leadership productivity as a result of these hurdles. Generally, this unsolicited behavior is often associated with ineffective performance (West 2006).

In order to understand the impacts of productive and counterproductive leadership on performance and productivity, my strength has been the ability to establish the scope and characteristics of each behavior module associate with leadership huddles (Casimir & Waldman 2007). However, the strategy requires a systematic and periodic review of the parameters of professionalism, organization, respect, optimal performance, and discipline.

Unfortunately, these indicators are difficult to quantify. Therefore, my productive leadership behavior stresses the need for active cooperation between personality and the roles assigned in the planning and execution of the set targets for the assigned roles within the parameters of situational leadership, task-person orientation, and transformational leadership (Chen, Tsui, & Farh 2002).

Despite task orientation being rated as a high self-leadership assessment strategy, my action planning is of importance to create a solution-oriented task and strategy implementation secession for quantifying task orientation levels (Powell 2005).

Through designing personal task management model levels, my task orientation module has remained active in developing dependence of interest attached to an activity, creating proactive relationships, and monitoring their interaction with physical and psychological health. Eventually, it has paid off since I have learned to appreciate the essence of tolerance and the necessity to stay active. However, I should improve on excessive independence, intra, and interpersonal communication since the two influence the level of task orientation with the third party (Lipgar 2006).

Specifically, transformational leadership identifies a range of problematic situations an individual faces in his or her social environment and generates multiple alternative solutions to those problems. I had to lay a series of procedures that are necessary to achieve desired results rather than postponing response strategies. I have been successful in time management and reducing unpleasant distractions. I have been successful in self-reward creation.

However, the main challenge was to identify an independent reviewer of personal transformational leadership initiatives (Cardenas & Crabtree 2009). I would suggest an improvement in the urgent matrix for duties since it doesn’t remain constant in different situations (Kouzes and Posner 2002). My situational leadership has engaged an active process of learning remaining active, focused, and result-oriented in accomplishing different duties. I am a motivator towards situational leadership management (Wren 2005).

Conclusively, the learning experience and group assignment reaffirmed my leadership skills and ability to manage group dynamics. Apparently, the theories discussed confirm that I am a focused, task-oriented, and participatory leader. However, I need to make adjustments in my situational management parameters within goals and duties at hand since reflection reveals that I not consistent in this area.

I need to be more realistic and accommodative to ensure that I remain sober when handling different situations related to leadership development. In order to make this improvement, I have proposed to enroll in a self-awareness class to acquire the basic skills required to make decisions under pressure and in dynamic environments.

The class will run for the fourth month. During this period, I will create a successful benchmarking blueprint by evaluating my performance through the creation of controlled experiments for testing my performance under pressure. I expect to improve the parameter of situational leadership management after four months of training. I will determine the success of training upon the results at the beginning and the end of the fourth month period. I am hopeful that the adjustment progress will be satisfactory.

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