A year ago, working in a rural community made me realize my desire to give back to society in a way which is more than just providing them with medical care. This understanding led to a decision of coming to a foreign country to learn about the leadership skills which are necessary for my endeavor. With the support of my family and a leap of faith, I came to Canada a couple of months ago for a necessary yet contrasting lifestyle.
Coming to Canada and living on my own for the very first time in my life, I am practically starting from square one. I look at these circumstances as the opportunity to learn new things and become independent. Facing problems and being able to solve them by myself not only gives me a sense of self-dependence but also encourages me to be better in my professional life. I am currently sharing an apartment with three other girls, and no matter how great your housemates are there is always a difference of opinion regarding household matters. We all have to agree on what’s best for the entire house which sometimes mean backing down and accepting other’s point of view. Being the eldest, I am the one having the final say in these issues which also helps in developing my servant leadership qualities by taking into account everyone’s perspective and doing what’s best for all.
Handling the Stressors
I believe personal life experiences should not affect our professional responsibilities; however, both of them intertwine because stress affects the emotional well-being which in turn influences the ability to make decisions and maintain a positive attitude. Adapting to a new place and living with new people is sometimes overwhelming and exhausting. I handle these personal stressors by talking to my family and friends, resorting to my hobby of dancing, listening to music or sometimes just having a quiet time to reflect on all the things I am grateful for in my life. Regarding the professional stressors, reminding myself of the purpose of being there in the first place and thinking of ways to overcome the problem causing stress helps me cope up with it. Whenever in a dilemma, I write down all the things contributing to the problem and all the solutions to find the best way forward.
Strengthening the Responses
To strengthen my responses to both personal and professional stress, I need to have a little more patience and trust in the process and myself. Sometimes things seem difficult and never-changing, and we may not know how and when but they eventually work out. I started believing in it after reading ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne which beautifully explains the law of attraction. It states that thoughts can change one’s life. However, I am still working on it as it is sometimes hard for me to let go which results in impatience. It leads to poor decision making which in turn adds to more stress and unhappiness. Better self-awareness will allow me to act and not react to the situation which will naturally help me to manage stress. According to my Birkman Assessment, I function best when I feel that my problems are important to people close to me and take better actions when they validate my decisions. (Birkman, 2018, p. 19)
Strengths and weaknesses
My Birkman report states I have a warm and accepting attitude which helps me to get along with people well. I have high social energy, and I am an extrovert which helps me to be social and at ease in groups. However, I need a considerable amount of time by myself without which I am likely to become withdrawn (p. 17).
Regarding my professional strengths, I am a person who believes in the overall winning of team and effective at helping other people be productive in the work environment. Prioritizing the organizational needs and ensuring everyone receives effective coaching have strategic implications (Hughes et al., 2014, p.13). This quality will help me become a better strategic leader. On the other hand, my authoritative personality sometimes leads to me making provocative statements and showing undue assertiveness which may hinder me in my process of becoming a Strategic Leader because of overlooking of other’s viewpoint.
Mission, Vision, and Values
Mission- My mission is to maintain a balance between my personal and professional life. Another desire of mine is to attempt doing all that I wish to, so there are no regrets. For instance, taking this masters’ course in a foreign country was a big step for my family and me as I am the only child and have always lived with my parents. Also, I changed my field or work from dentistry to leadership but not taking this leap of faith and pursuing this masters’ would have been regretful for me. Regarding professional aspect, as Hughes et al. (2014) says:
Organization mission, vision, and values are important aspirational components that create meaning and purpose for their stakeholders. These components serve to help people understand why the organization exists, how it intends to make a difference in the world, and what the important beliefs are those drive and connect the people in the organization.
Therefore, I believe my mission regarding where I see the organization going should align with the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
Vision- I see myself being the best I can, and in that process, I want to resonate the same energy to those around me. Here in the journey of becoming a strategic leader, I want to lead by example and become an inspiration for others. Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” There is no point of knowledge if I cannot put it to use. I am hoping to adopt the lessons from my strategic leadership course at my workplace to improve the work environment. Imparting what I know of people as well as learning from them in the process is my goal in life.
Certain values that I live my life by are-
- Being my authentic self
- Being respectful of others perspective
- Being impartial
- Being non-judgmental
- Making ethical choices
To make sure I am on the right path, whenever in a situation, I ask myself certain questions
- Am I faithful?
- Is this fair to everyone concerned?
- Will the consequences of my action be in favor of everyone involved?
As I learned in LDRS 500, a Servant Leader leads in a way which is for greater good of everyone (Northhouse, 2016, p. 226) therefore, it is important for me to address these questions to make sure that I am being faithful and fair to everyone concerned and making decisions in favor of all. Addressing these questions assist me to stand by my core values as I consider everyone’s viewpoint and reach a fair-minded conclusion.
There are certain things I need to abandon to achieve my full potential, one of them being my habit of depending on others for validation of my decisions. While I may feel the need to talk to people while I am under stress, I must refrain from completely relying on them, to be a better leader. Another practice of delaying things until the last moment is also a reason for stress. For personal and professional growth, I need to set small achievable goals, so I do not procrastinate. Also, setting priorities and not letting emotions affect my decision making will help me in becoming a better strategic leader.
The personal and professional culture I would like to develop is the one where everyone grows together. Many times we are so rigid with our ideas and egocentric, we tend to overlook the perspective of others which adversely affects the advancement of the organization as well as individual development. A culture where everyone respects each other is very important for an organization to thrive. It gives a sense of belonging and job satisfaction to the employees which in turn boosts their engagement and output.
Another thing I learned from my current organization is to provide constructive feedback to each other from time to time and have fun activities where employees have a chance to connect on something unrelated to work which helps to achieve a positive work environment where people enjoy each other’s company and work does not become a burden for them. Also, it motivates everyone to work as a team towards a common goal and also strive to be better on an individual level.
Old economy thinking v/s new economy thinking
Reading through the chapters of Navigating strategic possibilities by Ungerer et al., (2016) about old and new economy thinking made me realize how important it is to change my viewpoints about certain things to be a better Leader for my team. “In a new economy values perspective, power is not used in a self-centric way by the leader, but to empower others to do great things.”(Ungerer et al., 2016 p 16)
One of the major perspective shifts I have seen over time, which is the reason of taking up this M.A Lead program at Trinity Western University, is “leadership as position and entitlement” to “servant leadership and stewardship.” Earlier I was under the impression leadership is leading the group, undertaking tasks and making an event successful. Then I learned leadership is all about serving the people, making an effort against the things you think are not going in the right direction and helping everyone reach their full potential as a team and an individual as well.
As stated by Hughes et al., to be a good strategic leader one must keep in mind the long-term goals while focusing on achieving the short-term targets. Often I focus so much on objectives at hand, and I tend to forget about the bigger picture and my long-term goals regarding the same. I need to remind myself of my ambition in life from time to time to not lose sight of it.
My present strategic strength which can help me become a better strategic leader is self-awareness. With each passing course of M.A Lead and this particular first assignment, I am becoming more conscious of my strengths which I can focus on and also the areas needing my attention to be a better leader.
Byrne, R. (2006). The Secret. The United States, Atria books
Hughes, R., Beatty, K., & Dinwoodie, D. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice. Los Angeles, Calif: SAGE.
Ungerer, M., Ungerer, G., & Herholdt, J. (2016). Navigating strategic possibilities. Randburg: KR Publishing.