Other people tend to describe me as being diligent and disciplined, although not to the point where I neglect to be a caring person as well. Throughout my schooling, I was always one of the hardest workers in my classes.
During middle school and high school, my teachers told me that I was one of the most frequent visitors during morning tutorials before the school day started. School was not easy for me, but I wanted to do well so that I would have the best chance at admission to a competitive college and then a successful start in the career world.
That diligence came through the form of a schedule I set for myself each day, so that I would finish my studying (and get an extra bit done to get ahead) before I would get on the phone with my friends or turn on the television. My friends also found me to be caring when they needed something. I might not always have been able to help them with everything they needed, but they could count on me to be a listening ear.
If we had a problem that we couldn’t overcome, we would call in other friends and brainstorm the problem together, and among our circle of friends we could generally think of something that would solve the problem – this is why brainstorming is so powerful (Course textbook, p. 93).
The foundation of all of my ethical beliefs is integrity. The one thing I have that sets me apart from everyone else is my name, and if I do something to sully that name, it is extremely difficult to get that trust back with other people.
So I have always believed in being honest and forthright in all of my dealings with other people, whether it is my parents, my teachers, my employers or my friends. On top of integrity I have always believed in hard work. While it is not always possible to achieve perfection, the harder I work, the more likely it is that I will get the best result out of any assignment or project – or any task I am given at work or take on at home.
I have been blessed with a number of wonderful personal relationships. While I do not have a ton of friends, the ones that I have are close and mutually rewarding. I also have been blessed with a terrific and supportive family.
However, I would say that the most important relationship that I have is with my father. He and I talk via the phone or email at least once a day. If I have a problem, I will generally ask him his advice.
He treats me like an adult when we talk about the situation, which makes me feel respected. I don’t always follow his advice, but it makes me feel loved that he takes the time to talk to me about things.
Research shows that “well-bonded boys develop securely with a stable and sustained sense of self” when their fathers are closely involved, and I feel that was definitely the case with me (Gross, 2014).
Having that sort of mentor relationship is an extremely powerful source of comfort me as a person – and as a leader in work and in life. Leadership does not mean coming up with things for other people to do.
Instead, it involves motivating people to work for a common goal. There are plenty of days when I have all of the motivation that I need, but then there are other days when I lack that motivation and need to get it from somewhere else.
Sometimes I am able to find it myself, in something that I read or through meditation, but sometimes I need to find it in a conversation with someone else. My dad really is not into text messaging, but he usually answers emails within an hour or less, and he is almost always available on the phone as long as I call early in the morning.
As a result, I can usually count on him when I am not feeling like myself and need to hear words of encouragement to help me move in a particular situation.
I have four kids, and I hope that am that same sort of parent. My mother and I are not as close as my father and I are – she is a very busy person and is generally closer to my sister than to me. However, I would not trade that connection I have with my dad for anything.
The foundations of my beliefs about ethics and leadership do not come from a set of religious beliefs or from a particular neighborhood. My family is observant in religious matters, and my faith is important to me, and that plays a role when I make leadership decisions, either in school or at work.
However, my leadership style has more to do with the example of my parents when I was growing up. While I was well taken care of, it was always very clear that both of my parents worked hard at everything they did, and I was expected to pursue goals the same way.
My father worked long hours, and he was a leader in his company. My mother did not work outside the home, but she was not one of those stay-at-home mothers who would hire a cleaning lady and then spend the day at the spa.
She worked hard to make sure that our house was a haven for my father, and she involved all of us in that process from an early age. We all had age-appropriate chores that we would perform to keep the house clean and neat – and so my family did not hire a cleaning lady. Instead, each of us performed our own roles.
There were some times when we did not want to do our chores, though, but our mother made it clear that we were each contributing toward the family, and in a family with multiple children, that was usually enough to motivate whichever of us did not feel like chores that day to get the job done.
That idea – that shared, diligent work leads to success and harmony within an organization – is what drives me as a student, as a member of my family and as a future member of the work force. It has served me well in my academic endeavors and has helped me push through difficult situations at work. I believe that it will always serve me well throughout my career and as I start a family of my own as well.
Gross, G. (2014). The important role of Dad. Huffington Post 12 June 2014.