SJasmins - Strategic Professional Development Assessment
A Strategic Assessment
My overall strengths as a strategic leader is my confidence, courageousness, discipline, insightfulness and accountability. Collaboration and my ability to inspire are two areas that I am still developing. My lack of collaboration and ability to inspire others can be noticed in how I respond to the circumstances I currently face in my life. An overflowing plate of responsibilities and a general lack of time are the biggest stressors I encounter both personally and professionally. The combination of competing priorities requires a high level of organization, quick decisions to be made and action plans to be executed effectively and efficiently. When confronted by these stressors, my tendency is to become more controlling as there is no time or room for errors. Consequently, there is no additional time left for collaboration and inspiring others. I would like to keep these as a priority, especially in times of stress, but realistically would need my workload to be lightened first.
Professionally, this could be hiring an assistant or redistributing responsibilities. Personally, this could be ordering in food more often or hiring a housecleaner. My strengths, with regard to this desired change, is knowing personally and professionally where the problems lie, and am aware of my stressors. However, my personal weakness is my lack of energy and drive required to make this change. Professionally, my weakness is my ability to effectively communicate the unrealistic requirements of my role. Three years ago, ten full-time employees executed the work of my department. Now there are just three of us completing the same amount of work. Financial restraints and competing priorities led to several downsizes and the option to reduce or redistribute my responsibilities seems unlikely.
My personal leadership mission is to engage, educate, support and empower others to achieve results. My personal leadership vision is to utilize my experience, knowledge and skills to effectively, courageously and compassionately lead others through change on an individual, team and organizational level. My personal values are excellence, adaptability and integrity. Excellence to me means I give my best every day and am always striving to do better. Adaptability means I embrace and courageously lead change. Integrity means I will always do the right thing, even if difficult. I am honest, transparent and reliable. When I originally set out to create my personal mission, vision and values, I wanted to ensure what I valued most and what I was practicing was reflective in both my personal and professional life. I believe this mission and vision aligns with me and the future professional development I desire because it is a combination of my head in identifying and challenging ones’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and my heart which compels me to help others. My purpose in life, and what gives me the greatest joy, is helping others. It is supporting a friend through a difficult time, finding a lifesaving stemcell match for a patient, and helping build the confidence of a teenager with cancer to go swimming for the first time since having his leg amputated. It is holding the hand of a first-time blood donor who is terrified of needles, cheering on a stranger on their weight loss journey, and reassuring a tired new mother that they are doing a great job. While I have yet to determine the specifics of my future professional vision and mission, I do know replicating those feelings is going to be the backbone of my vision and mission.
The key strategic drivers to help me create significant impact for achieving my potential will be my values and customer responsiveness. My values of excellence, adaptability and integrity will help ensure I am trustworthy, progressive and the best at what I do, ensuring I stay ahead of the competition. Customer responsiveness means I want to stay focused on who I serve. Who is my customer? What are their needs? And how can I best serve them?
One area I’ve chosen to abandon in terms of future professional development is any aspiration to work at a c-suite level. I excel at and am happiest working in middle management. I like to be the expert in my field, create actions plans, make decisions, be hands on with projects, and lead teams. I prefer to be given the vision, but have the autonomy to decide on how to achieve the objectives. Personally, I excel in my academics and running of the household. Both roles require a high level of organization, strategic thinking and strategic acting. I like to set goals and take decisive action to achieve them.
The personal and professional culture I want to develop will be engaging both internal and external stakeholders and strives for continuous improvement. Good enough is never enough. Professionally, this means the work place environment and culture is a place where people feel empowered, and their professional development is not only encouraged and supported but is provided as well. Our organization would consistently assess and evaluate the work we do remain focused on continuous improvement. Personally, this means I take accountability for and prioritize my personal and professional development. This could be pursing education to further develop my leadership skills, taking cooking classes, or even researching new and exciting ways to teach my children valuable life skills. This personal and professional culture is what allows me to be so successful in the past and aligns with where I want to go in the future.
After careful review, I’ve found my leadership style to be more in line with new economy values, however, there is one old economy value I still practice and struggled to overcome. In times of stress, I find myself revert to controlling as opposed to guiding my teams. While this old economy thinking of controlling has the positive effect of ensuring a task is completed correctly and on time, it is not effective in encouraging, inspiring or developing leaders within my team. This old economy strategy works in the short term, but eventually causes more stress as my workload increases. In the end, I end up having to take on more tasks because I didn’t give my team the opportunity to learn and complete these tasks.
The first step in changing my habit of controlling into a more productive habit of guiding and unleashing energy, is being aware of my triggers. When I start to feel myself becoming stressed or overwhelmed at work, I will stop, breathe, and make a list of some tasks I can delegate to my team. I will then assess to see which tasks required which skills, and assign the tasks accordingly. I will work with each member to ensure they understand the task, have all the tools required to complete the task, and feel supported to accomplish the new assignment. For this change to be successful, I also have to change my mindset that it is okay if some tasks are completed differently from how I would have done them. If the quality of work was not compromised, then my team did a good job.
When it comes to strategic leadership and the skills required to be a successful leader, I believe I have a solid understanding of and regularly demonstrate strategic thinking and acting. Although in my position I am not involved in setting the direction of the organization, I do create the strategic plan on how to best achieve the set objectives. I also have a “shared understanding of the complex relationships between the organization and its environment” (Hughes, Beatty & Dinwoodie, 2014, p. 49). I would consider strategic acting as my greatest strength. My position is heavily dependent on my ability to make decisions that align with our organizations strategic direction. I am very comfortable and experienced in gathering information, analyzing the data, making an informed decision, creating and executing an action plan. These strategic strengths align with my current middle management position, but for advancement within my organization, I need to further develop my strategic influence. While I am confident in creating and managing relationships with our patients, volunteers, colleagues, management and stakeholders, I do not make a concerted effort to engender “commitment to the organization’s strategic direction by inviting others into the strategic process” (Hughes, Beatty & Dinwoodie, 2014, p. 49). My natural tendency is to involve others on an as needed basis. To further develop my strategic influencing skills, I need to change my current practice and purposefully start engaging others to participate in our strategic process.
Hughes, R. L., Beatty, K. C., & Dinwoodie, D. L. (2014). Becoming a strategic leader: Your role in your organization’s enduring success. (2nd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.