What special insights did I gain from the readings?
Leadership is a skill that is developed through judicious application of power. I learned from Sharer that a leader goes through a lot of personal and corporate disappointments before making it. Effective use of power yields organizational success. I now understand that leadership is simply the effective utilization of various types of power to influence peers, subordinates and superiors towards a desired and noble ideal. Finally, visions and values give a human face to leadership.
I know people are generally resistant to change. Now I understand that the panacea lies in the ability to influence and persuade fellow employees to view a new issue from one’s point of view. I have had my ideas rejected by colleagues even when I had the best intentions. At first I thought my colleagues did not like me as a person. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, I understand that different kinds of powers were at play. In addition, I am now better equipped to participate effectively in teams, since I know the importance of respecting other people’s ideas. My learning experience also encompasses visions and values – the brief statements and terms that glue an organization together. Many are the times I treated visions and values contemptuously, failing to see beyond words.
Application of concepts, ideas and perspectives
I am delighted to learn that change is a continuous process in any organization. How well I manage change determines how far I can go in leading others. I intend to create around me a clique of well-informed individuals with whom I can share my vision and values. I now believe in careful selection of the individuals that I will surround myself with. I am aware that not all my ideas will be accepted. This does not imply that I am a failure or that my colleagues detest me. I know I do not necessarily need to have expert power to lead an organization. What I really need is to continue learning like Sharer.
I will also learn to embrace mistakes and disappointments. Failure and success are two sides of the same coin. Instead of engaging in self-pity and allowing the negative opinions of others to bog me down, I will endeavor to rise from every mistake I find myself in. Considering that my followers are similarly fallible, I will treat them with sympathy and empathy, and encourage them to learn from their failures. By staying faithful to our vision and values, we will eventually reach our goals, no matter how many times we have to rise from the ashes.
I plan to study, internalize and objectify the vision and values of my organization. This implies constantly communicating with my colleagues and entrenching these ideals. The vision will provide the inspiration needed to achieve organizational goals. Values will provide the means towards this end. This is the best strategy to inspire and influence my subordinates to boost organizational performance. While there are many sources of power, none is more potent than the power of example. I will endeavor to persuade rather than coerce other organizational members towards efficient and effective performance. Communication will be crucial in my plans. In essence, I want to be a more effective leader by leading from the front, and embodying the very ideals I would want my followers to live by.