The choice to interview Sarah Cramer came after considering the leaders who have had international impact by changing lives. Before embarking on the interview, it became evident that she had touched and affected the lives of Chinese children considerably. Through her university years and thereafter, Cramer has offered voluntary teaching and training services as an individual and through the Half the Sky organization. Although Cramer has received prestigious education, which other people envy, she chose to pursue voluntary services rather than venture into her career. In addition, many children benefit and have benefited from Cramer’s services. She portrays the traits of a leader because she leaves her community, which acts as a comfort zone and endures the challenges in a foreign land in order to serve and teach the Chinese children. The reason to interview her revolves around the nature of her humility for a woman with her education and the skills she presents as a leader. She began contributing and volunteering at a fundraiser, since the fundraising she has not shown a desire to quit. Cramer possesses the skill and motivation of a leader and this make her and interesting interviewee.
The Leadership Philosophies
Leadership philosophies define the leadership approaches that a leaders implements in their leadership position. Leaders express and exploit different leadership philosophies based on their environment (Gallos, 2008). A leader uses their leadership philosophy to direct and control the environment under which they exhibit their leadership skills. Every leader comprehends that, without a philosophy, they may not provide quality leadership since they lack a definition of what they represent. Cramer too has leadership philosophies, which indicate her stand in leadership.
Cramer stands for developing an influence over people to control the organizational environment in an effective manner through implementing good communication and showing passion in delivering clear messages. As her leadership philosophy, she believes that a leader should serve as the galvanizing force that exists in the organization as projects progress and as they run out. She holds that a leader should conceive and develop their vision and work always in the direction that leads to the visions achievement (Rickards, & Clark, 2006). These strong beliefs, which govern Cramer in her leadership, enable her to internetwork with donors who fund the mission in China. She exhibits a combination of leadership and interpersonal skills to present a case before the donors and to secure funding and support from other organizations. Her philosophies in leadership present her belief in the need of leaders who take action as a motivator within their organizations. She combines the philosophies to establish projects and set the pace around the mission. She also works with a vision, which entails improving the lives and education of these Chinese children. Working with a vision has enabled Cramer to start projects, which run the mission to provide funds when donors withdraw their contribution. She demonstrates her philosophy to work with a vision by developing the mentorship program for the mission students in High School. It shows that Cramer believes that her mentorship can train leaders who will fill the leadership gaps left in future (Rickards & Clark, 2006). As a leader, Cramer invests in the mentorship of future leaders and sponsors their education because she holds a vision for these individuals. Cramer’s success in education presents an example for the students in the mentorship program to work with.
Major Influences in Cramer`s Leadership Practice
A leader’s influence presents itself when he or she manages to gather resources including human and financial resources and channel them towards a project or mission (Schein, 2005). A leader can lack the resources from personal means and their influence becomes evident when they convince other individuals to contribute the resources towards the project the leader has in mind. The resources in this case do not only relate to money and funds, which leaders can raise, they refer to people. Human resources indicate a leader’s influence in terms of how they own the project and work towards its success (Gallos, 2008). In addition, a leader’s influence emerges as the ability to unite people towards a particular direction. It also involves changing the mindset of individuals towards a mission or a project and turning the nonbelievers into disciples of the mission.
For Cramer, her influence appears among the student volunteers. Considering their young age, most students would rather work for pay than volunteer. However, the mission by Cramer manages to influence individuals of a young age to volunteer. Her influence also appears in gathering people to listen to her experiences and use them as life transforming experiences towards picking her direction. Her influence also appears through the positive results that these volunteers present which indicates that Cramer motivates and guides them towards achieving. Cramer has also changed how the beneficiaries of the project perceive themselves and enlightened their world to see greater opportunities. The little help that she offers has changed a community by bringing hope to these individuals and presenting the image of greater leaders than herself. A leader’s role revolves around influencing and making leaders who become greater than one does (Schein, 2005).
Cramer’s Leadership Methods And Approaches
According to Cramer, leadership best takes place when the communication systems present room for the leadership approaches to working. In guiding her leadership approaches, she listens to other individuals who have presented quality leadership skills and used these individuals as mentors through her leadership development. Cramer also believes in challenges as the only approach in learning the leadership process. The decisions she implements to overcome different challenges and situation become her leadership stepping stones, which she uses to move forward with her leadership functions. Through her leadership, Cramer embraces the use of corrective criticism, which presents alternatives for the leader to have options and opinions from other individuals (Schein, 2005). As a motivation to lead, she accepts that the funds in the volunteer sector cannot accumulate a profit for her, but she serves as a duty towards the mission. Her approaches in leadership revolve along establishing a purpose for participation and convincing other individuals on this purpose.
Cramer uses the differences in culture to embrace the diversity and from this; she identifies a need for leadership. She does not allow the distance from home affect her in the work she performs. She works as a delegative leader through assigning roles to other departments and individuals within the organization. The delegation enables Cramer to slot large tasks as a small one since every department works on different aspects (Gallos, 2008). In addition, Cramer presents a chance for openness and employee freedom such that the employees approach her on their issues. She presents herself as an approachable leader to the volunteers in her organization. She finds these approaches effective because the volunteers within the organization can approach her in terms of seeking lasting solutions. They also approach Cramer as their motivator that promotes the leadership and employee relationship within the organization.
Reflections on Her Own Leadership Development
Cramer enjoys her role as an organization leader because she interacts with students who inspire her to work towards developing the organization. Her role in leadership motivates her as she relates with people who motivate her to lead the organization to greater heights (Schein, 2005). Cramer views her leadership role as an avenue to contribute to world change and for this reason; she uses the leadership position to make a difference. She regards students greatly since she enrolled for the voluntary work while she studied. Her leadership role has enabled her to attract other volunteers to work for an organization towards humanitarian services. She uses her leadership role to as a way of giving back to students who form her interest in the society. Cramer view leadership as an opportunity for herself to develop her interest in voluntary service into a lifelong profession. Leadership according to Cramer serves as a career turning point since an individual has to exhibit the traits of a decision maker (Gallos, 2008). She understands that leadership attracts the criticism from different sources but also appreciates the criticism as a source of change within the organization.
Cramer portrays a different style in leadership since she learns from the children and uses her role in the organization to repay and reward the children for teaching her valuable things. According to her, leadership presents a learning opportunity for an individual to learn. The learning opportunities as presented by the leadership roles enable a leader to gain (Gallos, 2008). Cramer claims through leading she learns more than she gives so she appreciates leadership and the opportunities it presents to her.
Cramer shows appreciation for the leadership through her enthusiasm for the next five years. She believes that her leadership in the organization for the next five years will contribute towards the growth of the organization. She explains that her vision for the organization in five years revolves around conducting research and launching an international organization. Cramer holds a vision for the organization to establish a relationship with the religious institutions and create an operations ground which enables the community to contribute to the organization. A leader holds the organization`s vision at heart and Cramer appears to do the same as she holds the vision and eagerly awaits the manifestation of the vision. Reflecting on her leadership within the organization, Cramer perceives that she will implement a strategy, which makes the community to own the organizations projects. She also presents an attitude of rigorously adjusting the systems of operation within the organization.
How the Interview Affected My View of Leadership
The leadership interview changed my perception towards the role of leadership in organizations. Cramer presents a different approach in leading NGO`s and driving community projects. Earlier one could think that such an organization would take advantage of Cramer`s contribution without offering something that benefits her as a leader. However, through the interview she stated that the leadership process presented a learning opportunity, which motivates her towards more contribution. Truly, when a leader feels that they gain from leadership rather than draining themselves with all skills they feel the urge to contribute more in the organization (Rickards & Clark, 2006).
Lessons from the interview teach one that leadership presents a chance for a leader to develop skills and give to the community as they control resources. It also teaches that, through leadership, a person sets the direction for the organization and works with a vision to implement changes that work for the organization (Gallos, 2008). However, leadership does not present itself to and individual, one must show the traits and desire to lead. Cramer applied for the position to lead the organization through determining the needs and gathering resources by identifying the stakeholders and presenting the vision to them. Interviewing Cramer changes an individual’s view towards leadership as she makes one see that the responsibility can turn into an opportunity. Most people offer leadership in fields they have studied and excelled in school, but Cramer presents a different case because she leads from volunteer work. While other leaders engage in leadership for monetary rewards, Cramer engages in the same for personal satisfaction. She uses leadership as a platform to develop her skills in dealing with other individuals and contributing to societal change. Cramer displays leadership philosophies, which appear a uniquely crafted philosophies to fit in the NGO sector. She has displayed a combination of motivational and delegational leadership, which allows her to appear as an approachable leader who openly solves volunteer’s problems. She seems to understand the challenges, which revolve around leading a group of volunteers who do not receive financial rewards.
Gallos, J. V. (2008). Business leadership: a Jossey-Bass reader (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Rickards, T., & Clark, M. (2006). Dilemmas of leadership. London: Routledge.
Schein, E. H. (2005). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.