Leadership and motivation styles vary from person to person, that is why it is essential for managers to know and understand their leadership style and how their particular leadership affects their workplace. Leadership is influenced by many things that is why it is so important to know how and why your leadership style is what it is. There are many contributors that come into play when a leadership style is developed within a person. During the course of the last eight weeks I have been taking a hard look at my own leadership style and what I can do to improve myself to better serve both my co-workers and subordinates.
Upon being tasked to disburse the LIP forms to my managers, co-workers and subordinates I become somewhat distressed by what they might have to say about me and how I lead. After pondering about what the results could or could not be I disbursed the forms and found out a tremendous amount about myself as a leader. In this paper I will discuss my growth as a leader and what has helped mold me into the person am today. I will also discuss both my strengths and weaknesses that were pointed out by the surveys I distributed, as well as what I can do to improve upon those weakness.
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Leadership style is not et in stone, it is important for leaders to evaluate themselves to find out where their strengths and weaknesses are to insure that they are continually striving for excellence. My personal leadership style has been molded in part by the environment that I have been raised in during my adult work life. Have worked in a federal position that deals exclusively with Air Force personnel for the past seven years. Being exposed to a stringent workplace that makes personnel adhere to all rules and regulations has really helped me to become very organized and time efficient.
It has also, helped me to realize that compassion is key piece that is missing in the military lifestyle. Empathy and understanding that people have families and they work to live, not live to work has been a saying that I live by in the workplace. I have ensured all the people that I work with know that they must take care of their family before they can take care of work, this may not be the case in the civilian world but in the military environment is has been proven true many times over the past seven years.
Having such an empathic leadership style in a predominately male, military environment sometimes made my counterparts doubt my abilities in the military world. But, after a few months and the increased productivity of the workforce as well as the increased moral I did gain some backing from the higher echelons. I also believe that each person within a team has a voice and the right for that voice to be heard. Empowering and giving each individual the opportunity to be heard and their ideas to be shared builds confidence and overall team unity.
I have done my best and will continue to do my best to foster teamwork and encourage each individual to have a voice and an opinion. On several occasions empowering workers to share their ideas has led to new policies that save time and money. Eve left the federal government and entered the private sector and I have quickly realized that the leadership that worked in the military environment needs updating and changing to survive the much more liberal civilian workforce. Eve learned quickly that being lenient does not motivate the new workplace as it did in my previous workplace. Also, the respect and admiration that was given in the military environment for being empathetic and understanding is considered to be a weak and somewhat timid characteristic within my new workplace. It is difficult to change jobs but, in my instance it has been extremely official to alter my way of thinking about how to lead my fellow workers.
Before it was pretty much known what was expected and if you did not adhere to those standards you would have to find a new position and if that did not work you would more than likely find yourself a new line of work outside the military. In the civilian workforce it is very different, it is not expected that I know all about their families and what their financial situation is or all their personal information, all I need to know in the civilian world is the individuals name and what their particular job is.
Of course if that is how I treat the people I work with it would be hard to be a good leader. So, I have taken it upon myself to get to know each person within my work area, I have tried to learn about their families, goals, likes, dislikes and pretty much everything in-between. It has taken me a couple of months to gain some trust and respect but can see that it is budding just like the spring flowers. This brings me to the topic of the Alp’s that I distributed throughout my workplace.
I am currently responsible for leading a team of eight individuals in executing and monitoring an annual budget of 584 million dollars. I distributed my L Pip’s to my co-workers, subordinates and my direct manager. The results brought to light some areas where I need some improvement and coaching but overall I felt the results were positive. This particular exercise has made me take a step back and evaluate my values, goals and expectations I have as a leader, it has made me realize that I do have some areas that need more work that I thought.
The survey has provided me with a tool to evaluate myself as a leader in a new work environment, which could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Some of the strengths that were pointed out were somewhat surprising. I believe that will be able to improve upon my leadership skills based on knowing that the people I work with know that I take a personal interest in knowing them and ensuring that they receive praise and are told that they are doing a good job.
Knowing that the people I work with know that I appreciate them and the contributions to the team makes me feel better not only as a leader but as an individual as well. I also believe that, the efforts that I take to make sure I know my co-workers and the effort I make to ensure they know they are appreciated has allowed me to gain respect and trust more quickly than ad anticipated, within my new workplace. I also, found that I have a few areas that need some attention.
The areas of weakness that I will be concentrating on in this paper are my ability to challenge my workforce to try new approaches, ensuring that I seek out challenging opportunities for myself and my co-workers, ensuring my co-workers grow in their jobs and asking for feedback from my co- workers on how my actions affect their performance and abilities. Upon finding out the weaknesses I decided to take a look at each area individually and define what needs to be done to correct the inefficiency.
The surveys have pointed out o me the fact that the biggest area that I need to work on is in my abilities to challenge the process to try new approaches. The lowest marks I received were in this area. I believe this is due to the environment that I came from had such strict rules and guidelines to follow and my new environment is actually an environment that encourages challenges and new approaches. I tend to believe that the people I work with know what their job is and what it takes to get it done.
Sometimes I do not provide clear and concise direction as to the overall vision of the office. Working toward a common vision within the office hat I work in is of course something that needs to be done. I have decided to encourage and enable myself and my co-workers to search for opportunities to excel and implement new and updated ways to accomplish our tasks. As a group we have set a goal for each of us to take on a project that will enable us to grow and improve. Our goal as a team is to keep each other informed and aware of the projects and deadlines that each of us face.
As a team we will make each other aware when help or information is needed that is unattainable by the individual that is leading the project and the other team members will then tepee in and help that individual attain the pertinent information needed. By sharing vital information our team will grow and learn to continually accept greater responsibility and we will also become a more cohesive team. Another area of concern brought forth by the LIP survey is my ability to challenge the process and seek challenging opportunities to test my own skills.
I believe that this area scored lower than I expect because of my newness to my workplace. Have set goals for myself to seek opportunities to challenge my leadership and technical skills by informing my superiors that I am willing and able to take n more responsibilities in my day-to-day work. This has resulted in two new projects being presented to my team. The first of which has allowed me to set a goal to learn about an entirely new department outside of my area.
I have been challenged with creating and analyzing our continuing education department and how they set their fees. The current processes in effect in that department are not sufficient and I have been tasked with ensuring they have a fee schedule that will allow them to not only break even for the fiscal year but have a profit margin that will allow them a cushion for the next year. This is a challenge that normally would not have volunteered for but based upon the finding that were provided by the LIP survey I need to learn to seek opportunities to test my skills.
This particular project has a timeline of one month and in that timeshare I will continually seek other opportunities to challenge my both my technical and leadership skills. The next area that I have set my sights on improving is ensuring my work center is challenged to grow in their positions as accountants, analyst and administrators. Our yearly budget season is in full swing and each of my am members have been employed within the department on average seven years. Each of them has specific areas that they are responsible for, this year we have decided to challenge our usual process.
I have tasked each member to work together to learn every piece of the budget process not just their particular part. Budget season lasts approximately five months, so the goal is to have each member of the team trained and ready to take on other team member’s duties in the budget process. I will also be evaluating all of our duties that are performed on a daily basis and create a new work schedule that will allow my team the ability to continually challenge themselves and grow in their current positions as well as expand their knowledge to take on greater responsibilities as well as promotion.
It is also encouraged for everyone employed by our organization to seek outside training to continually update their skills. The organization provided up to 15 hours of tuition reimbursement through the university and each member is allowed to attend two conferences each year. My team has not been interested in participating in furthering their education and attending conferences. I have decided to implement some incentives to get hem to participate in these activities to help them grow and continually educate themselves. Eve offered them higher raises for taking the maximum credits that the university pays for. We have implemented a policy within our department that we will pay for books out of our office budget if they take courses that have direct impact on their job growth. I have also allowed them to take two extra days on either end of their conferences for personnel time at their conference location to sightsee or vacation. Out overall goal as a team is to have fifty percent of our team enrolled in graduate courses by next semester.
I also found out that I am not seeking an appropriate amount of feedback from the people that I work with. I have not asked their opinions or their feedback on how my actions and leadership affect their daily work. I have taken the time to sit down with each of my team members and asked them to fill out an evaluation on my leadership and what their likes and dislikes about me are. They each were given a week to fill out an evaluation, just like the ones that they are graded on by me twice per year.
I instructed each of them to be honest, and that there would be no reprimand or consequences for their answers. I then set up a team meeting for them to discuss how they felt as a team about my work and leadership style. I was not present at the meeting. Then we all had a meeting together and each person was allowed to point out anything they felt was appropriate. After the meeting I found that I was not providing them an outlet to vent their concerns about how work was distributed or a way to tell me they were not happy with leadership.
After wrapping up the personnel surveys that I distributed I decided to implement a comment box outside my office that would allow my team the ability to voice their concerns and comments anonymously. Since implementing the comment box, I have found out many areas that I could work on. The team has also used this avenue for commenting on improvements through out the work center such as renovations to the work center to facilitate better communication they have also requested flex time and time share positions.
My goal is to take the feedback from my team and use it constructively to create a cohesive workplace that everyone is happy to be a part of. My team seems to be happier as the days pass because they have a leader that cares about their concerns and they are seeing that I am a leader that will try to incorporate their dieback into our work center. We also begin each staff meeting by allowing each person the opportunity to tell about the projects they are working on and how other team members and leaders can contribute to make their project a success.
Every leader needs to create goals and be aware of what they can do to improve their leadership abilities. This exercise has taught me that I need to continually challenge the process, ask for feedback, try new approaches and ensure that my team members are offered the opportunity to grow in their jobs. All of which I have overlooked to a certain degree in the past. I have realized here will always be areas that need improvement and constructive criticism is good.
In the past I have always been somewhat hesitant to ask for my team members comments and concerns about my leadership style but, after this course I am happy to receive their comments and concerns. I have opened a new door for my team to walk through, they feel empowered by being able to tell me their feelings. They are more eager to take on more responsibility and more difficult projects because they now know that I am there with them every step of the way. They know that they can state their opinions and concerns without Ferdinand which is different from their leaders of the past.
My leadership style of the past was not all bad but needed some updates to accommodate the civilian sector. This exercise has provided me with the tools and confidence to ensure my workforce is ready to take on anything that is thrown their way. I am eager learn and take on new and exciting challenges, as well as meet both my team goals as well as my own. I found out about the areas that I need to improve and I am working on those areas as we speak. My team can see a difference and they are excited to be part of my growing process.