Leadership; Theory and Practice- Summer 2013
My name is Le Wan, and I come from southern China. I came to US for my college qualifications and plan to go back to China after I finish college. I believe that China is one of the largest and plays a crucial part as one of the world’s financial centers. This is why I plan to go back there, and focus my work on my family’s company, which is currently losing its international competitiveness despite having contributed a lot to China past economic miracle. I hope to accomplish my mission by doing some international transactions, from the unique abilities that I will attain from US. These are my short-term career goals but I intend to do more that these to accomplish my goals in life.
Mission, vision, and goals.
I intend to qualify from college and attain the skills and knowledge required in conducting international business. I also intend to use these skills in running the family business, and making it competitive in both local and international perspective. To achieve this, I intend to maintain focus in college and at my uncle’s business where I am an intern. I need to establish priorities such as employee motivation, and conduct research and developmental programs that would assist in penetrating to the global market. This will be driven by prioritizing on my goals to become an inspirational businessman.
Gifts, passions, and circumstances.
Being the only child in my family, I have come to realize that achievements result from hard work. After a long day’s work, my parent’s share sentiments on how they carried out their daily chores, and how they cope with daily challenges. For example, my mother shares how she deals with different customer needs, and how it is hard to fulfill every customer’s needs. They have become my role models in developing my career and becoming the person they want me to become, and also the person that I would also like to become.
My drive revolves around my gifts such as being courteous and respectful, and the things I am passionate about. At school, I love to make things move forward; be it on timetabling or in problem solving. I am gifted in initiating positive changes, turning around problematic situations, and generating results that lead to growth. I am also passionate on taking challenges in my school work. Such sharpen my thinking capacity, and assists in creating structures that ensure achieving results. As Northouse (2010) indicates, challenges assist in solving situations, removal of obstacles, and circumstances that may weaken abilities. I intend to use any challenge as a chance to improve on my abilities.
I am ambitious to grow, be the best, and be collaborative in working as a team. I am also challenged in doing tough jobs like in my family business, and achieve what my mother deems as impossible in the family business. This will be achieved through my ability to taking things that are perceived as failures, and turning them to exceptional successes.
Values that guide my decisions.
My values are based on skills acquired from school, during my internship, and from experiences in my family. In school, I have learnt the value of listening, asking questions, and hard work in achieving individual goals. I have also learnt how to lay foundations of business, how to become a professional, and how to make decisions. Northouse (2010) views professionalism, integrity, and team work as critical elements in business success. During my internship, at my uncle’s, I have learnt the importance of these elements as I have watched my uncle succeed and gain competitiveness due to the value e accords to these elements. These experiences have led to identification of personal skills, and in making the decisions that I have made pertaining to my career development.
Throughout my life, I have always valued growth and achievements. I have always believed that culture and beliefs are elements that massively contribute to diversities in innovation and development. Without these cultures, there would be no specialization, product differentiation, different tastes and preferences, and uniqueness. Working with my uncle has enabled me to embrace the culture and its differences, and developed my ability and skills in dealing with cultural differences.
This has also worked close to my ambitions in being consistent with my family’s business mission and visions. Like Northouse (2010) puts it, professionalism, integrity and teamwork are strategic features, which contribute to meeting an objective or mission. I stand for integrity, honesty and accountability in meeting my daily expectations, which build on my mission. I base my decisions on professionalism and team work; this works from integration of different opinions from team members, family, and me.
My behavior and character are based on believe in commitment, candor, courage and competence. This ensures hard work, professionalism, and focus towards meeting my objectives. Additionally I perceive communication as vital as this enables gathering of knowledge and skills and allow sharing of personal experiences. Ricketts (2011) values communication as vital as it assists in assessing what others feel about ones conduct, realization of strengths and weaknesses, and in valuation of opportunities and threats. These values act as my motivational forces as they assist in attaching meaning, worthiness, and importance of every decision that I take.
Relationship of these values with ethical theories
These values act as moral rules, which guide me in making decisions and in differentiating between what are right or wrong. As Northouse (2010) puts it, these values assist in determination and in differentiating between doing right and wrong. They act as guidelines to living and acting ethically, and according to individual expectations. I believe that character matters in determining personality, and in development of personal virtues. Such allows dealing with real-life situations in a professional manner, which defines my personality.
One of the most functional perspectives in managing my values is the application of the egoism element of ethical observation (Ricketts, 2011). This theory instructs me in working with the outcomes that will give me the most advantage or happiness. The observation of my values enables minimization of limitations that may hinder the achievement of my goals, and in strengthening my abilities.
What is right or wrong to u?
Deciding on what is right or wrong is based on three backgrounds; results of my decisions or action, rules or expected behavioral conducts, and in what I believe in. The third perspective always works out for me as making decisions based in believe does not restrict me to rules or results: I judge my decisions from my values (Northouse, 2010). For instance, in making a decision on whether it is right or wrong to cheat on an exam, I base my understanding on being the honest person, a person of integrity, and accountable.
I use the egoism ethical principal in defining the person whom I am and in such a case, the rules that restrict cheating on exams or the results of cheating do not matter in making such a decision. I believe that it is wrong to go against my values, and ethics such as avoidance of greed, selfishness and jealousy. Instead, I demonstrate virtues such as wisdom, courage, temperance, and compassion. I believe that deviating from these values would result to loss of focus, and this would hinder achieving my objectives.
Ethical challenges that I foresee in my chosen career, how to handle them and why, relate these decisions to ethical theory
Being in the international front will imply dealing with different nationalities with diversities in needs, values, norms, ethics, and beliefs. Such will induce cultural conflicts in terms of meeting the needs of every customer, and in balancing between the values of these customers and my values. Dealing with these diversities may imply overlooking some of their beliefs as well as some of my values in order to create a balance. I also foresee challenges in forced change of character accruing from the need to strike a balance and solve the diversity puzzle. Dealing with the family may also create dilemmas in terms of valuation of family and career development and professionalism. For instance cases of handling cash, employee motivation, and business expansion may create dilemma as everyone might have his/her idea. Solving such dilemmas may involve skills, which would balance all the players’ ideas and opinions without anyone feeling invaluable.
Dealing with such challenges will require a strategy so that societal values will be integrated in my personal values. First, there will be the need to analyze the consequences of the actions I may choose to consider as appropriate. This will be a consideration of the positive and negative effects so that the decisions made integrate such values. For instance, who will be hurt, who will be helped, what benefits will be achieved, and the short and long rum effects of the decisions. Like in the utilitarian ethical perspective, the best criterion will be that which produces the best mix of benefits (Ricketts, 2011).
Secondly, I will analyze the actions against moral principles like respect, fairness, and honesty, and in judgment between what is right and wrong (Palestini, 2009). This will be a measure of the extent to which the actions ‘cross the lines’ in terms of decency and ethical principles. The idea will be making a decision with the least problematic outcomes.
What is leadership to me? And what is your role as a leader?
Leadership refers to doing what is best to an entire group, and not to just a few individuals in a team. It means letting others shine, being passionate and motivational, inspirational, visionary and an advisor (Palestini, 2009). Being a leader means being responsible, accountable, reliable, and positive. To me, leadership is not about seniority, attributes, power and authority; it is a social influence to organize the efforts of others, and integrate them into successful projects. It includes a goal, and not influenced with unintended outcomes; effective leadership has outlined objectives and goals and has projected outcomes (Palestini, 2009).
The roles of leadership include organizing, negotiating, communicating, persuading and influencing others to carry out roles (Palestini, 2009). As a leader, I am expected to be inspirational and to set examples to others in the quest of achieving organizational purposes. I would facilitate and support other committed team members, and offers guidance where necessary. This would allow members to contribute and share their capabilities, ideas, skills and knowledge, which boosts innovation and meeting of objectives.
It is also my duty as a leader and as a participant in the family business to assist in solving problems that may arise in a team. The leader has a duty to minimize conflicts, and ensure that measures are taken in cases where conflicts arise. I intend to be decision maker who makes decisions prior to their implementation. In doing so, I will consider opinions from my parents, employees and team members so that the decision integrates their opinions. I am expected to make sure that such decisions fit within the outlined goals and objectives of my family’s business.
Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Palestini, R. H. (2009). From leadership theory to practice: A game plan for success as a leader. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Ricketts, C. (2011). Leadership: Personal development and career success. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar.