According to (Hughes, Beatty, & Dinwoodie, n.d. p. 40) the journey to becoming a strategic leader involves an exploration and examination of one’s behavior, values, and identity as a leader and, therefore, includes potential answers that challenge a person’s sense of self. (Herholdt, Ungerer, & Ungerer, n.d.) state that it is important for a strategic leader to conduct a self-awareness test, encompassing, self-management leading to self-development. As such, this is a reflection of my qualities, strengths, weaknesses, stressors, values, and virtues in relation to my journey into leadership.
My Birkman assessment review indicates that; I tend to be friendly, direct, open with people and do things and tasks logically and objectively. I don’t like to spend much time dwelling on decisions. The world we live in today’s is deemed to be, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) and requires me to be calculative about my approach to challenges and my leadership. I have developed a thinking approach which moves from the “or” response stance to the “and” stance which requires critical thinking, and open-mindedness which arrives at two or more responses (and) rather than this (or) that of response.
Reaction to Stressors
I normally act in response to a challenge without giving much thought instead of processing some thought to decide an optimal course of action for optimal results. This has often resulted in either more energy usage and good but not the best results achieved. My mission is to land on the middle ground where I can think fast and act from an informed standpoint thus promoting critical thinking.
Identified through the Birkman assessment, is that I tend to approach both personal and professional life from a similar perspective which means I am reactive rather than proactive to situations. I internalize my feelings and tend to withdraw myself from the situation; thus, becoming engulfed in thought on how to resolve the problem causing the stress.
One of my strengths are, with every new employment contract, I make it a point to familiarize myself with the whole organizations’ strategy before getting absorbed in my daily activities on the new assignment. This gives me a chance to streamline my contribution to the company as well as establish my internal customers. With experiences in the same industry, I can project a company’s position through foresight and establish a personal strategic contribution to allow for optimal performance. An example is in my last role as a network engineer, arriving at an establishment which was a competitor of my last employer; I could identify almost immediately areas that needed to be addressed strategically to established competitive edge against my previous employer.
Through the lens of foresight, I can encourage teammates into preparation for competition in good time for times ahead.
I am decisive and able to reduce more complex matters to simpler terms. In my social life, I love high energy activities and like to be busy doing things rather than thinking about them. As a bridging trait strength, I enjoy low-key discussions, where everyone’s contribution can be heard as I don’t find it necessary to dominate.
I am a good communicator, improving on my presentation skills and value and respect others by keeping my word as best as I can (integrity). I follow the premise that my word is my bond. I like influencing people and directly, persuading them to my point of view or training them. Additionally, I enjoy and can be effective at helping other people and making their lives better or more productive. I also tend to prefer structure and organization in my thinking and approach and I bring these tendencies to the work I do.
My weaknesses both personally and professionally lie in planning and organizing. I still have challenges in scheduling my tasks to improve my productivity output both at home and work. I have been working tirelessly on several trial remedies as a practical strategic leader who must continually evolve (Hughes, Beatty, & Dinwoodie, n.d.) and have decided to do a today list for every day. This details every waking hour schedule and with the help of my family and alarm prompts, I stick to the tasks to be completed.
Values and Virtues
My values and virtue are Integrity, which I believe is the binding factor for all other virtues, therefore, without it no other virtues matter. Loyalty, perseverance, awareness, and self -confidence.
I have a mission to help as many people as are willing to follow on a self-discovery journey to maximum potential and potential and self-belief.
My vision is to teach as many children the concept of using their brains to think themselves out of poverty, so they can teach others the same principle, and a domino effect ensures. The Bible says “as a man/woman thinketh, so is he/she”
“My” mantra is “KAIZEN” a Japanese proverb meaning continuous improvement.
Qualities to keep
Competitiveness, open-mindedness, self-awareness, willingness to learn, adaptability are some of the key areas I hope to improve on. Continuous self-assessment and evaluation in relation to my environment. My focus shall be on my thinking habits and processes. I will analyze and evaluate my value system and set ways of decision making to accommodate alternative perspectives giving rise to critical thinking in both personal and professional life.
My future success depends on how I process my thinking and responses to alternative perspectives. The culture I have worked off to date involved only what I thought made sense and; thus, my conclusions only would be considered discarding and challenging or alternative suggestions. Being open-minded will lead me to self-improvement, continuous improvement and better contributions in a discussion.
Old Economy Values
In my leadership style, I have been using several ‘old economy’ thinking practices and the outcomes have been nothing but poor results. After exposure to the concepts of ‘new economy’ mentioned by, (Ungerer, Ungerer & Herholdt, pp. 15-16), I am currently trying them out to measure the outcomes in comparison to the former practices. I have used; dependence and co-dependence on me as the leader which has resulted in poor results owing to resistance from the followers. Power to and power over followers, which has also led to a similar outcome as the first approach; poor. The worst of them all was to dictate and control which yielded results only when I was present making the approach unsustainable.
The ‘old economy’ values breed nothing but resentment and resistance from followers; thus, creating an environment which is unproductive stifling growth and progress. According to (Herholdt, Ungerer, & Ungerer, n.d. p. 16), in a new economy values perspective, power is not used in a self-centric way by leaders, but to empower others to do great things. The focus is on the responsibilities of leaders rather than their power.
The strategy involves change and achieving long-term performance potential in an ever-changing environment requires continuous change (Hughes, Beatty, and Dunwoodie, p. 21). This perspective holds true for me as a strategic leader in that I have to keep an open mind in regard to my leadership moving forward. Holding onto long-held perspectives in a VUCA environment (Ugregre 2017) is stagnating and; thus, I should continue learning new things, trying new approaches and considering alternative solutions to challenges I face both professionally and personally. Self-reflection and continuous self-assessment should be ongoing throughout my leadership career from this moment henceforth.
Some of my strategic strengths for becoming a better strategic leader fall under the banner of emotional intelligence and include; self-awareness, self-confidence, self-management – self-control, initiative, and optimism. Relationship management including teamwork and collaboration, inspirational leadership and influence. These strengths are vital to the enactment of any strategy as the human factor is at the center of the success of any strategy. No matter how great a strategy is, there is always a need for attention to human emotions, needs, beliefs, and desires as these are part of the change equation, (Hughes, Beatty, and Dunwoodie, p. 32).
Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader your role in your organization’s enduring success. Jossey-Bass.
Herholdt, J., Ungerer, G., & Ungerer, M. (2016). Navigating Strategic Possibilities: Strategy Formulation and Execution Practices to Flourish. KR Publishing.
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., & Mckee, A. (2009). Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance. Discovering Leadership.