a. Johari Window – This activity encouraged me to think about myself in positive terms only and allowed me to review who I am without fear of sounding arrogant. I chose the words brave, friendly, happy and caring to describe me in terms of words that will be known to others as I regularly show these qualities to my loved ones and peers. In the ‘not known to others’ box, I chose the words nervous and giving. The former of these is a word which I endeavour to not show too often as I’d prefer people to see me as being reliable and brave. The latter of these is something which I just have not had a chance to demonstrate yet.
b. FIRO B – This activity was very interesting as it allowed me to review who I am with regards to my social character and/or my social needs: my interpersonal self. The results show that I try to behave inclusively towards other people but without allowing them to dictate my actions. Therefore, I may not always feel quite as included as I perhaps might like to be as I refuse to just conform, most of the time. Equally, the level of control that I inflict verses the level of control that I allow in is greatly uneven with a discrepancy score of 3, showing that I prefer to be in control than I do to be controlled. That said, my overall score was only 5 which does not show me to be particularly controlling at all. Also, my affection score shows that I give more affection than I believe I receive in return. However, with an overall score of 8, it shows me to be a reasonably affectionate person. Conversely, my affection and inclusion scores were both 8 which places me into the ‘extremely high’ category suggesting that I may even have some compulsive need to behave in this way although I personally feel that it is just my natural way.
c. Bales’ Interpersonal Ratings Form B – I was especially pleased with these results as the questions were answered by a friend of mine. The results showed that I am generally perceived to be a much more positive than negative person with the ‘upward’, ‘positive’, and ‘forward’ scores being much higher than their antithesis partners. I think that this shows me, fairly, to be a positive figure and someone who tries to see the glass as half full rather than half empty and I am pleased that this is the perception that people have of me. In comparison to my four peer ratings, I found that I was generally perceived as being more positive than average and again, this pleased me as I believe that more positive people are generally more popular and enjoyable to be around.
B. Leadership Style
a. Sargent and Miller Leadership Scale – My leadership score was a 4 which is quite low and demonstrates that I lean more towards an authoritarian tact rather than a democratic one. I feel that this stands at odds with the perceptions held about me by others (as discussed earlier) as supposedly, with this leadership style, I am likely to be less liked and/or respected but more feared. I am not sure that this really reflects me at my best but it is at least quite a defined leadership style. In future leadership exercises, I will bear this in mind and aim to be more democratic in my style.
b. Task/Process Leadership Style (T/P Managerial Grid) – My results showed that I got a person orientation score of 6 and a task orientation score of 4.8 demonstrating that I am more interested in people than the task itself. In terms of where this places me on the managerial grid, I am quite centrally placed and puts me nearest to the role of the compromiser. This demonstrates that whilst I am focused on achieving the task in hand, I am also interested in the welfare and happiness of my team. I prefer this result to my Sargent and Miller one as I think this better reflects my leadership style. As you can see in my earlier test results, I am interested in people and prefer to be affectionate than cold and I think that this leadership result better resonates with this idea.
c. Leadership Inventory – This exercise is designed to assess my method of leadership. It is divided into four sections: tell, sell, consult, and join. In the ‘tell’ section, I found that I scored a 14 which places me in the 60-80% section which means that I am quite an authoritarian in my leadership style. In the ‘sell’ section, I scored 20 which places me in the 80-100% section which shows me to be quite singularly minded in my approach to problem solving and rarely include the team. This demonstrates that I am likely to be the type of leader who shoulders responsibility fully but might struggle to delegate tasks to others. In the ‘consult’ section, I scored 16 which, again, places me in the 60-80% section which shows that I might consult subordinates when problem solving but, due to my higher score in the previous section, I am more likely to opt to solve it on my own. In the final section, ‘join’, I scored 13 which places me in the 20-40% section and this is my lowest score which indicates that I am unlikely to be the type of leader which passes the decision making responsibility on to others. All in all, I think this resonates neatly with my personality as I am more likely to shoulder responsibility rather than pass it on to others, which I think is to be respected, but equally, I should learn to incorporate others into the problem solving process as this will enable me to be less stressed and a more inclusive leader.
a. Task Roles – It was clear from the outset that I was going to take quite a prominent role and my most significant roles during the tasks were initiator/contributor, information/opinion giver, elaborator and co-ordinator. All of these roles are attributed to leadership in some way and saw me drawing ideas together, developing them, offering suggestions, and giving opinions. In short, I, in part, drove the work and the group forwards through this. After these roles, I also took a prominent role within an information/opinion seeker, orienter, evaluator/critic, and procedural technician. Again, these are roles which are closely attributed to leadership and driving forwards.
b. Maintenance Roles (socioeconomic) – My most prominent roles in this aspect were as encourager, harmonizer/compromiser, and gatekeeper. These three roles saw me managing relations within the group in order to procure the best results possible. In particular, the gatekeeper role saw me attempting to encourage progress and to eliminate distractions and issues. Equally, within a harmonizer role, I was keen to smooth over any disputes and to handle any issues that arose. Again, these roles, I think, can be attributed to a leadership style role.
c. Individual Roles – I did not feel that I fulfilled any of these roles as I generally find them to be quite submissive, pessimistic and un-cooperative. As I have discussed before, I found that my role within the group was generally a positive one which guided my team mates towards our end goal and I did not perceive myself as creating any circumstances where my role moved towards someone who prohibited progress or demanded attention or recognition.
D. Conflict Management Style
a. Conflict Attitudes Scale – In the conflict attitudes survey, I scored highly with an 8 in my traditional approach to conflict resolution score and a 2 in my constructive approach. In short, this demonstrates that I tend to take the view that conflict is a negative thing which is to be avoided and that I would rather avoid the issue altogether than cause a confrontation in terms of a more constructive approach.
b. Conflict Strategy Instrument – In this exercise, it is designed to analyse how we approach conflict and how well we deal with it in our lives. I scored quite highly in the ‘competing’ and ‘compromising’ approaches but scored mostly highly in the ‘accommodating’ column. I think this ties in well with the result from the previous assessment of my approach to conflict resolution as I would prefer to avoid the conflict altogether by accommodating someone as opposed to confronting them. I think this was seen throughout my group work as I regularly accommodated others’ ideas instead of disagreeing when I felt the need to.
My strengths clearly lend themselves to a strong leadership style which is led by a desire to make decisions without shirking responsibility. My style of leadership is quite authoritarian which means that when I lead, people will know exactly where they stand and what my expectations of them are. I have demonstrated that I do not actively seek confrontation and prefer to accommodate the views of others rather than dismissing them completely.
The personality tests showed me to be quite controlling but not excessively so, which would suggest that I am a good team mate as I am forward-thinking but also happy to go with the flow too. Equally, I was shown to be a very affectionate and caring person which shows that I think about other people and not just myself. I endeavour to accommodate people’s feelings and ideas into the broader picture instead of selfishly inflicting my own upon others relentlessly.
I think my leadership style is quite respectable too. My results show that I take responsibility very seriously and that this demonstrates that I will make decisions on my own without concerning subordinates. This could be both strength and a weakness but from this point of view, it shows me to be a capable leader who does not rely on others to prop up my own work. However, my results also showed that I would sometimes consult someone else when problem solving, demonstrating that I am not head strong or arrogant in my leadership either.
I think that the biggest weakness I found throughout the studies is that I automatically assume the role of leader and that this could be perceived as arrogance by others. This worries me as it is not necessarily that I am obnoxious in my approach but rather, I am naturally that way inclined. I never intend to over-rule anyone else’s attempt at leadership but actually, I tend to be one of the stronger characters in any group and as such, it naturally falls to me to lead a lot of the time.
Another weakness is the view that, in my leadership style, I am unlikely to pass responsibility on to others or to delegate tasks that well either. This could lead to a lot of extra stress and pressure that I’d place upon myself, as well as the potential for resentment in my colleagues or team mates. Whilst some may see this is as a strong leadership style, it is important to include everyone in the problem solving and decision making processes and as such, I will endeavour to do so in future pursuits. I do not want to be resented by any one for such things. Equally, if I continued to make decisions without consulting others, those decisions may not affect them favourably and whilst I recognise that I cannot be everyone’s best friend all of the time, I think it is important to take other people and their views into consideration. I would not like to be the type of leader who does not.
A final weakness of mine is an apparently reluctance to address conflict and issues which are affecting me. This surprised me as I do not feel that it naturally fits in with my leadership style and whilst I am quite content to be someone who accommodates others’ opinions, I am also concerned that I may not always ensure that mine are heard. I will work on finding a finer balance between these two things.
a. Leadership style – I will endeavour to include others more in my decision making and problem solving processes. In doing this, I will enable others to feel empowered and in control of the decisions which affect them and equally, I will eliminate a lot of extra, undue stress and pressure from my life. I will learn to be a team player, even in leadership.
b. Let others have their say – Whilst I am keen to voice my concerns and ideas in a leading role, I must make sure that others get to have their say too. All whilst still ensuring that my voice is heard too.
c. Finding a balance – I must strike up a happier balance between team player and leader. If I am naturally a leading personality then it would seem that my natural direction is towards the head of any organisation but in order to fully grasp that, I must ensure that I am a team player too.
d. Handling conflict – I must endeavour to strike up a healthier balance towards conflict. I must try to address conflict head-on but in a diplomatic and considerate way which will allow my views as well as those of others’ to be heard in equal proportion. I must not shy away from conflict.