Throughout my life, I had significant experiences that developed the person I am today. As I was bullied in high school, I did not have a positive high school experience and have spent years feeling low confidence and worthless. Looking back years ago, I remember feeling embarrassed I was a triplet, and all I wanted was for people to accept me for who I was as a person and not label me as one of three who were “all the same”. What I learned from my past experience, was I never wanted to treat anyone like I was treated. What I learned from my adverse experience was the need and passion to make people feel comforted, loved and secured. Throughout this experience, I developed a strong emotional intelligence to allow me to be empathetic, understanding and kind to others in support of my strategic leadership competency.
Another circumstance I faced in my life is the failure of relationships. In my 20’s, I wanted to be friends with anyone who entered into my life (due to the gap in my High School years), and as a result, I did make a lot of friends. Reflecting back, I was always the one doing nice things for most of them and not receiving the returned effort back. What I learned from my failed relationships is, I did not set up boundaries and did not listen to my inner voice and judgement. Furthermore, I learned to trust my better judgement and choose friends with similar values and virtues to me.
As a transformational leader, I learned we can choose to evaluate circumstances as opportunities or failures. Therefore, I can choose to remember my circumstances as nightmares or circumstances shaping my abilities and strengths. Moving forward, my general response to my circumstances in my life lead me to be mindful and understand my inner self- core and my values. By reverting back to former memories, it allowed me to look at myself from a different perspective and understand past failures are in the past and I have the opportunity to move forward. I have the gift of my values and virtues to develop my future leadership ability. Studies indicate “values give us our sense of purpose. On a leadership level, when we align with our values on a daily basis, we have more energy and feel more fulfilled because we are leading from what’s important to us. When we don’t align with our values, we feel less authentic and become demotivated about our daily lives, which reflects in our leadership” (Loehr, 2014).
To optimize my strategic leadership ability, I believe I need to consider my values and my relationships and define what is important and what will make me my anticipated best self. I must surround myself with people who are similar to my virtues and values and make me a stronger transformational leader.
My current lifestyle is very busy and I am learning (gradually), I need to slow down. I prioritize too many things in my life and often feel bogged down. I am a different person in different environments. At work, I am highly motivated by being productive, seeing results, working in teams and showing results to my Manager. My Managers’ trust in my abilities allows me to be motivated and energetic in my workplace. However, I realize the more energetic/positive I portray myself, I am setting a bar dangerous to my health and my well-being causing me to be burnt out. I realize when I get home from work, I am literally exhausted and my humble self comes into play. I feel like my energy is drained but I still have the energy to answer the phone and have my family vent to me, because I know I am a “listening ear” providing helpful advice. Therefore, I analyzed myself in three different ways:
|Brittany at work
|Brittany at home with husband
|Brittany with family and friends
|Traits: energetic, hardworking, results-driven, team player
Realities: Allows herself to say “yes” to too many things, overextends her help to others, and doesn’t take lunch breaks very often. Stays late/doesn’t account for the time or tells Manager
|Traits: tired, drained, overworked, emotional, love for her husband and is appreciative of his efforts in helping/supporting her school and work schedule
Realities: Will not give up, hopeful, believes in good karma
|Traits: Listening ear, genuine, communicative, makes social plans, reaches out, makes people feel good.
Realities: is more of a giver than a receiver, sometimes is “taken advantage of”
My Stressors in my Personal Life
In my personal life, I get stressed easily. It is challenging to play my roles as a student, working professional, wife, daughter and sister and to feel accomplished and balanced in all these roles. The way I handle stress is eating, drinking and scheduling too many commitments I think will make me happy, but in reality it can get overwhelming. As a result, I get tired and frustrated and often lose sight of my inner self because my busy life takes over any personal time and doesn’t allow me to self-reflect.
My stressors in my Professional Life
In my working career, I like to be the person to depend on to get things done, because it makes me feel valued. At work, I do not want to be seen as stressed, so I hide my stress. My Manager once told me, “never let anyone see you cry”, and his words encouraged me to stay and be strong at work. I am very results and goal orientated at work and always fill up my calendar with tasks to help achieve the results of my goals. I often work through lunch and will check my email over the weekend to see if I can stay ahead. At work, I wear a mask- a mask of the go to HR person and the energetic worker bee. Studies indicate ´masking is a process where an individual changes or “masks” their natural personality to conform to social pressures” (Wikipedia, 2017). As a transformational leader, I feel like I am changing in my professional life. I once stressed about people liking me or thinking I was smart but now what stresses me is the worry of not accomplishing everything I am expected to accomplish. When I leave work, this is when I unleash stress and vent to my husband and sisters or I try and keep it inside which is not healthy either.
My Plan to Strengthen and Change my Life
As there are 168 hours in one week, it is important to stay on balance and understand the fine line of saying no and to retain calmness, protect my values and to be happy. I know I need to take more care of myself and need to set personal boundaries and not feel guilty if I say no. Additionally, I need to refocus my energy to lift my inner core and spirit. I need to go for more walks, and exercise as well. In regards to my personal life, I need to assess the time spent with my friends and family and not lose sight that personal time is just as important.
In regards to my professional career, I realize I am constantly trying to please and accomplish my goals I set on my own, but I need to consider is my current job providing me happiness and am I utilizing all my skill potential? As I understand, the capability to release talent emerges out of how leaders see people and their potential and how they interact with those they lead. Studies show “in an economy where competitive edge relies on the employee skills and knowledge, today’s leaders must know to help individuals unleash their talents and understand what motivates them, what matters most to them and what their strongest abilities are” (Franklin Covey, n.d., p. 1). Currently, I am not acknowledging what is motivating me and what my strongest abilities are; I am simply trying to achieve results to my employer. Moving forward, I need to assess my personal worth and what my strengths and capabilities are and if my current position aligns with it.
Understanding my Strengths and Weaknesses In Order To Move Ahead
My strengths of being kind and hardworking and weaknesses of being firm and having challenges to say no may hinder my future leadership credibility. As a transformational leader, I have a strong ability to persevere and to build relationships with people, but I must look and analyze how I portray myself in front of others. For example, if I am continually building relationships with others around me, I may be foreseen as “too nice” or the person who will not say “no”. By knowing what my vices are and understanding the characteristics of being respected, I need to practice my self-awareness of my strengths and weaknesses. As a transformational leader, I must analyze what is working well and what is not in my professional and personal life to help shape my future credibility and my character.
By strategically planning, envisioning my future, prioritizing my time efficiently, promoting synergy and taking care of myself are all progressive elements to help me to become a stronger servant and transformational leader.
My Personal Mission, Vision and Values
Personal Vision: Passionate for building and retaining relationships around me. Be true to yourself, build your credibility by being authentic and do not give up. Work hard and listen to yourself.
Personal Mission: To fulfill personal and professional accomplishments in life
My Positions: Human Resources Professional, Supervisor, Wife, Daughter, Sister and Friend. In each role, I take initiative and perseverance
My Gifts: Authenticity, dependable, reliable being a listening ear, seeking and receiving results through my professional and personal life. Working hard- can do attitude and does not give up.
My Desires: To find true happiness, to be healthy inside and out and to live my values
Throughout my leadership path, I learned I have eight values and virtues: making a difference and influencing change, empathy, achievement, dependability courage, authenticity, persistence and generosity.
My values and virtues are continually a progress in action and am trying to pertain them in my professional and personal life. I have learned values and virtues shape my leadership behavior. Values are so powerful and can stem from me being a little girl and are still alive inside my adulthood. I have discovered I highly admire people who encompass courage, genuine humility and competence.
My Strategic Drivers to move ahead
Hughes et al (2014 ) indicate “strategic drivers are called key success factors” (p. 26). The following strategic drivers will support my strategic thinking and my strategic leadership capabilities.
- Demonstrating Character: “One measure of character is the degree to which you put the interests of your company and colleagues ahead of your own. Excellent leaders are willing to do things for others without regard to what’s in it for them” (Kaplan, para 3).
- Determination is the desire to get the job done and includes characteristics such as initiative, persistence, dominance and drive. People with determination are willing to assert themselves, they are proactive, and they have the capacity to preserve in the face of obstacles” (Northouse, 2007, p.20). By persevering through challenges and not giving up, it will allow for results to eventually occur in my personal and professional life. Also, determination “is defined as having willpower, not allowing your attention to move on to something else” (Kosco, 2003, p.49).
- Collaborative Thinking: “a collaborative mind-set is another helpful thinking stance for leaders who want to work in an inclusive way to achieve results” (Ungerer et al, p. 11).
- Possibility Thinking: Ungerer, (2014 ) emphasises “leaders of winning teams and enterprises think positively and focus on possibilities. You cannot do strategy work that focuses on changing, improving and transforming an organization when your mind-set and attitude are negative” (p. 09). I believe possibility thinking is a strong key performance indicator which will direct me to positive leadership outcomes.
As a transformational leader, I believe I will excel in all strategic drivers in my professional life but will need to be cognisant of my character. I will need to abandon “being too nice” because I want to be seen as fair, firm and friendly. For my future development as a leader, I will need to keep building my brand with my team to collaborate, participate and integrate strategic direction and ownership across the organization I will be working with.
In my personal life, I will need to work on work-life balance and challenge myself to use possibility thinking as a personal strategic driver to change my busy life and re-shift my priorities to enhance my personal leadership.
My professional and personal culture I envision to develop
Making a difference in my professional and personal life is my goal and influencing change is valuable to me because I am a strong believer of transformational positive change. My vision is for the people in my organization to understand possibility, their strengths, and opportunities and understand they have choices. They have choices to be positive, to utilize their talents, to understand themselves and to know they have the courage to speak up. By creating a shared visionary culture which fosters trust, teamwork, accountability and results, I believe I can instill change by transforming the mindsets of the people in my professional and personal life.
I want people to develop asset-based thinking and understand they can flourish, develop and are masters of their destinies. They are not broken, they are people who can utilize their strengths and potential to flourish into a change agent they never knew they could be. This virtue can help me create a more positive and better life for the people around me in my personal and professional life. By mastering this virtue, it will allow for me to develop inner confidence to lead others and influence change around me.
I am very interested and intrigued to make my virtues, values, personal and professional life experiences alive. I see my personal vision becoming alive and constant to the person I am and to the people around me. By developing my true self, I can inspire, promote and motivate transformational change around me.
Leadership values are slowly changing from coercion to collaboration. In my current leadership practice, I delegate tasks to my colleague and assign priorities needing completion. As a result, I receive favorable and completed work, but have I ever asked my colleague how she felt about the work or her thoughts on completing the task a different way? The answer is no, because I can blame it on the fast paced work environment we work in, but if I took the time to come up with new strategies under the new economy values (like guide and not control), then my result may be more strong.
Currently, we are living in a fast paced world where servant leadership is more recognized. Ungerer (2014) indicates paradox thinking is the future of organizations where creative thinking and doing is key (p. 19). As transformational leaders, we have the capability to release talent as it emerges out of how leaders see people and their potential and how they interact with those they lead.
Ungerer (2014) also reveals “the twenty-first century is the age of knowledge workers and the intellect of people requires for us to re-think the assumptions we make about abilities” (p. 16).
For strategic leadership to be alive in organizations, I must develop trust with my people (like my colleague) to achieve leadership transformation. I must be aware my actions will contribute an evolutionary trusting culture allowing for people to utilize their abilities and strengths. I understand this action may sound attainable and simple, but in hindsight it can be difficult to do.
My Personal Assessment of Needed Personal Development
Leading professionally and personally will be an exciting challenge. To foster performance potential to myself and to people I lead, I will need to develop a leadership strategy to shape the organizational culture I aim to develop and retain. I want to gain an understanding of the following questions in reference to (Hughes et al, 2016):
– “What perspectives and abilities must I have and need to be successful?
– What will I need to do develop these skills and perspectives?
– What tactics do I need to consider to be consistent with strategies I am developing?
– How will I make my vision last in the future?
– What strategic drivers will I be developing to measure my success?
– What can I be the best at?
– How do I approach my leadership interactions with others to engage their hearts and minds in work” (Hughes et al, 201(Hughes et al, 2014).
In addition, I need to “manage self, internally through reflecting and strategic thinking, manage self externally by focusing on time, information, stress and career, do scheduling by applying agenda-setting and timing” (Ungerer, 2014, p, 36).
Furthermore, my strategic leadership strengths are my loyalty, workmanship, altruism and empathy and realize my unconscious motivators are to be strong and self-reliant and to be special and find meaning in life. I am my best self when I am positive and productive and these strengths shine through when I am able to be this way. When I am feeling under pressure, I can speak my mind and put undue pressure to do things quickly and immediately. These behaviors can shine or shadow my leadership behavior and my character.
What I can offer as a strategic leader (currently) are my values of making a difference and influencing change, empathy, achievement, dependability, courage, authenticity, persistence and generosity.
I have realized my core values for myself, my friends and family and my working career share commonality but are used in different ways Currently, I choose to prioritize my family, friends and careers’ needs by being selfless and responding to requests without considering the time or the health of myself. As a growing leader, I need to provide more time for me and this will allow to become more balanced
My Plan for the Future
I plan on strengthening my personal and professional habits and reduce my stressors, in the following ways:
– Personal Life: I plan on exercising, getting out in nature and start to love myself
– Relationally (Trust): I plan to spend time effectively with my husband, family and friends
– Physically (Well-being and self-care): I need to listen to my inner voice when my body is telling me to stop.
– My Career: I need to instill trust in my colleague and empower her to do tasks and utilize new skills for myself by asking for more projects or look for another position to allow me to shine my inner strengths.
By completing this assignment, I learned a lot about true self. I believe a successful leader must understand their own inner core values and virtues to understand who they are. I determined values are what shapes and helps create purpose and creating a vision for thyself. In addition, this exercise will help develop my strategic leadership skills and it will be my leadership bible I can refer to in the future. By planning ahead, envisioning the future, prioritizing my time efficiently, promoting synergy and taking care of myself, these are all elements to help and guide me to become a stronger servant and transformational leader.
Franklin Covey. (n.d.). Unleashing Talent. Leadership Modular Series, 1-2. Retrieved from https://franklincovey.ro/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/MODULE-UNLEASHING-TALENT-unleashing_talent-pdf.pdf
Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader your role in your organizations enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kaplan, R. S. (2016, November 15). Reaching Your Potential. Retrieved October 06, 2018, from https://hbr.org/2008/07/reaching-your-potential
Kosco, S. (2003). Determination/leadership/loyalty (Book). School Library Journal, 49(2), 137.
Loehr, A. (2014, May 06). How to Live With Purpose, Identify Your Values and Improve Your Leadership. Retrieved September 30, 2018 from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-loehr/how-to-live-with-purpose-_b_5187572.html
Masking. (2017, December 23). Retrieved October 3, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masking
Northouse, P.G. (2004). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Ungerer, M., Ungerer, G., & Herholdt, J. (2016). Navigating Strategic Possibilities : Strategy Formulation and Execution Practices to Flourish. Randburg: KR Publishing.