After another professional goal I have set, as

After self-assessing my strengths and
opportunities for growth, I now can create an improvement strategy based on the
assessments (LPI and IES) done throughout the course. I will be persistent in
taking continuing education classes and attending seminars to keep abreast of
current events and technological advances in my field of study to further
enhance my strengths. Additionally, I will develop thorough and realistic
long-range plans and strategies and use available resources such as people,
processes, departments, and tools to complete work efficiently. I plan to
actively seek feedback to identify appropriate areas for learning, and use this
feedback to regularly create and take advantage of learning opportunities to
accomplish organizational and personal goals. With the implementation of these
strategies, I hope to gain a newfound sense of confidence that I can
incorporate through both my personal and professional lives.

 I
desire to cultivate characteristics and personalities listed in my credo and
metaphor. To recap those, I as an effective leader, I aspire to be: Positive; Visionary;
Communicative; Trustworthy, and Passionate. Yet, to become an ethical leader, I
desire to be conscious and humble, but confident; empathetic, but courageous,
and honest. However, to endure I must be flexible, patient and responsible, but
also remaining grounded in my spiritual beliefs. Yet another professional goal I
have set, as indicated in my ethical leadership paper, I would like to develop more ethical
awareness as my growth area of everyday awareness as it pertains to doing the
right thing every day professionally and personally (White-Newman, 2001).

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My
goals for increasing my effective leadership are to know myself, seek
self-improvement, make sound and timely decisions, keep my team informed and
look out for their well-being. I will also be working on my ethical and
enduring leadership goals to be honest, lead by example and have no tolerance
for ethical violations. In addition, I want to successfully manage differences,
frustrations, downturns and expectations and build lasting relationships, but
also get continuous feedback from the team I lead. Finally, I want to increase
my cultural intelligence, and I have set three goals as cited by Thomas and
Inkson (2017): 1). Communicating and Negotiating across Cultures; 2). Making
Decisions across Cultures and improving my Cultural Knowledge.

This
process also puts in me an ethical bind, as I tend to hold back how much I can
say about certain things, especially when it involves another person in respect
of those individual’s images and privacy. However, as an effective leader, I value
integrity as an important quality of being a great leader.  Integrity means a person is authentic,
honest, dependable, trustworthy and morally upright. To be held morally
upright, I must also trust my team and know when to delegate, show commitment
and inspire loyalty.

Upon
review of all my learnings and assignments in taking this course, in the long
term, I hope to complete and attain the full MOAL degree, with a focus on
ethics and leadership.  I am currently
working to improve on my result that was ranked the lowest on the LPI, which
was: sharing the vision by communicating better in person and via email.
Consulting
others in my decision making personally and professionally describes my ethical
decision-making process, as their suggestions and ideas give me a concrete
reason to dismiss or validate my decision.

However,
managing expectations is a challenge. Shareholders, employees, and stakeholders
have many expectations, and these expectations are dynamic. When they are not
met they create dissatisfaction, but if satisfied, they grow taller. I remember
when I was the Operational Manager at the bank back in Liberia. I had a middle-aged
guy on my team who was unsure of his immediate professional plans. At the time,
smaller units and teams were being merged to form departments. In doing so,
there were layoffs and this guy was one of those listed to be laid off. As new
and inexperienced as I was in my position, I first consulted with the Human
Resource Department for guidance in handling his early retirement. All
legalities were met from that perspective, but I felt ethically, laying him off
was not the right thing to do, without investigating as to why he was not so
confident of himself and how unsure he was of his plans. I scheduled a
one-on-one meeting with him. During the meeting, he opened up to me and told
me, he didn’t feel up to par, as he was the least educated on the team and most
of all with me as his immediate boss and me being his junior in years with an
undergraduate degree.  I gave him the
option of being laid off or getting a pay cut, and he accepted the latter as
that was his only source of income. That was a trying time for me, but as I
also consulted family members as to what to do, not explaining to them who the
person was. My advice was to encourage him to go back to school because he was
a college drop out with only a few more courses left to complete.

 It may not be easy, but this effort has the
propensity to pay exceptional dividends as the team’s theoretical knowledge
converts into practical know-how. My strategy of governing structure and
processes will slowly mold the team to enable the way the team members work. I
also will support the needs of the team, as this will be demonstrated in times
of downturn. During this time, the sense of bonding from my perspective is
highly critical and could be deemed as one of Kouzes & Posner’s (2012)
principles of “Shared Vision”. How do I intend to endure as a leader during
those hard and trying times? Employees tend to lose many things during this
period. Increments are held, employees face severe measures, and increases in wages
and salaries get delayed. In the worst case, employees face salary cuts.
Maintaining employee morale becomes a real challenge for an enduring leader. Hence,
the stronger the alliance during the downturn, the stronger it will be the
during the upturn. I intend to, during the downturn, prepare the organization
for riding the upturn.

Henry
Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success,” (Munoz, 2010). Keeping teams together requires a
dedicated effort to understand every team member’s capabilities, limits,
drivers, impediments and cultures. Building long-term relationships with team
members starts with careful perception or retrospection. I believe and from
personal experience, this requires soft skills to elicit systemic problems and
an open mind to listen to critical feedback. Addressing this critical feedback
not only ensures a better environment, but builds trust and boosts team members’
morale. In doing this, I am of the strong conviction the retention of my team
members will be better, because they have the sense of belonging and that they
are heard.

With
every failure as an opportunity for learning and training, the team will
leverage that failure as a step in the right direction of success. That
together as a team, we will learn from our mistakes, dispelling the blame-game.
Leading by example, or better put by Kouzes & Posner (2012) “Modeling the
Way”, I will not blame or encourage others to blame any member of the team or
take on my personal frustration with any team member. Being an enduring leader
will also require enhancing the morale of the team after failure. With this
approach, I believe the risk-taking ability of the team goes up and at some point,
it becomes an achiever, if not an overachieving team. The real test of an enduring
leader comes in downturn. How well I as a leader manage my team in the downturn
is important. Some organizations perish in the downturn, but some become
stronger due to the heart treatment as emphasized by Kouzes & Posner (2012)
when they described the principle of “Encouraging the Heart”.

According
to White-Newman’s (n. d.) Endurance Assessment and my emotional, relational,
physical, spiritual and other categories of endurance, I rank, renew and
regroup myself by reading, listening to audio books and music, running, doing physical
exercise, praying and meditating and spending time with my family. These are
highly important to me. However, my goal is to add to the list of things some
new experiences that may help relieve me of stress: sky-diving, scuba-diving,
learning to swim, and improving my musical skills. I learned to play the
keyboard and conga at an early age, but due to lack of practice, I have lost
those skills and am not as good anymore. To achieve these goals, I will work
with others and ask them to hold me accountable as well as keep a daily plan of
my workout routines.

As
an enduring leader, my continuous developmental goal will be to work on my
sense of control. In Making of a Corporate Athlete, (Loehr & Schwartz,
2001) describes this sentiment as “positive emotions ignite the energy that
drives high performance, negative emotions—frustration, impatience, anger,
fear, resentment, and sadness—drain energy” (pg. 10). My reaction after failure
will determine the probability of the team’s success in the future. As far as I
have come to learn in this course, an effective,
ethical and enduring leader manages frustrations. I have learned and
continue to learn in both my personal and professional lives that, an upright
leader separates personal problems from professional problems. For personal
failures I must adopt or make use of EAP (Employee Assistance Program) route of
counselling and training. Travelling, running, listening to music, cooking and
being with my family helps me relieve the stress of everyday living and renew
my strength and energy I need to lead my team in order to maintain my capacity
to endure.

I
believe leaders who do not solicit ideas, treat employees with different
viewpoints as rebels or complainers. Such leaders create a team within team
-clique. They create an informal group which executes their wishes and are
loyal to them. Such centralization of thinking makes organizations vulnerable.
They become leader centric. The power of the leader within the organization
goes up, but the organization loses an ability to innovate. It affects them in
the long run (Kouzes & Posner (2012).

Nonetheless,
once the merging views are developed, the next difficult task is getting
consensus. I as a leader must be the best sales person when it comes to the
internal sales pitch -to sell my team on my vision. Being a leader, and
aspiring to be a good one, I must develop collective wisdom and make sure every
member of the team follows it. It is my duty, as an enduring leader to create a
culture wherein team members trust and accept the final decisions I make even though
they do not agree with me 100 percent. Wanting the team to think as I do is
creating the path to disaster.

However,
managing differences within the team is strong when the team has people who can
think differently. I am of the belief that different thinking skills are the
core asset of a successful team. The true mark of a successful leader is
aligning divergent thoughts to create strong fabric required to weather
adversities, which is another skill that I aspire to build on. According to
Berryman (2014), divergent thinking is the DNA of innovation. It fosters a
culture of thinking differently.  As described
by Thomas and Inkson (2017), “diversity provides groups with a wider range of
ideas and viewpoints.  Like all forms of
diversity, diversity in culture encourages diversity in ideas” (p. 126). Another
goal I aspire to acquire is leading a diverse team with different viewpoints
and developing a convergent view from divergent thoughts. Suppressing or
dismissing other viewpoints kills the seed of innovation and motivation.

With
this being the focus long term and the ability to develop my vision, being an enduring
leader will bring a sustainable competitive advantage to my team and
organization. This is my goal!

 

 

Members
on my team will not be one-time project builders; they are resources whose
skills and effectiveness improve with each interaction as they learn and
develop on the job. Through sustained engagement with my own leaders and peers,
I as an enduring leader can be keen to discover long-term organizational collaborations
to effectively influence the organization as a whole.

An
effective leader can build on that—putting words to that vision and leading
teams, partners and stakeholders in pursuit of the vision. Effective leaders
communicate, empathize and engage across these three scopes of inspiration that
values both their organizations and their stakeholders. However, an enduring
leader is able to look even farther into the future, grasping the unavoidability
of change. In my view, enduring leaders are defined by an ability to change
their visions and bring along their teams and stakeholders amid a continuously
evolving market despite the hurdles they might inevitably face.

An
enduring leader is composed of many principles and disciplines, of which
several of them will be discussed in this paper. This paper will focus on
analyzing myself as an enduring leader, a story of how I dealt with a difficult
time, my goal for growth and development, and my reflections on all that I have
learned. Before I delve into that, let’s take a closer look at who an enduring
leader is, in comparison, to an effective leader. At a minimum, a leader should
have a vision: What is or will be the vision of the team?

x

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