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Aha moment :Responsible Leadership Effectiveness Portfolio

Topic: Responsible Leadership Effectiveness Portfolio

Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate effective leadership skills.
  • Effectively communicate complex concepts and information relating to responsible leadership.
  • Critically reflect on responsible leadership incorporating personal ideas, practices, learning and feedback.

Answer

MBA 909: Responsible Leadership Effectiveness Portfolio 

Introduction

I have demonstrated three ‘aha’ moments in this particular leadership portfolio through the reflective way of writing. The leadership portfolio has facilitated me in understanding my own leadership style. Additionally, it also has provided me an opportunity to design a future development plan, especially to develop the areas where I am weak. ‘Aha moment’ has been defined by Egleston, et al., (2017)as the insight or realizations that can either be unexpected or sudden. These moments can be beneficial in developing one’s skills and developing by reflecting on the past events and occurrences, in contrast, to present experiences, information and knowledge that is realised suddenly. 

A reflective style of learning can improve the level of student’s engagement with learning that includes complex relationships between existing knowledge to help develop their understanding of new ideas. Through the reflective learning process, students are enabled in recognising the areas that need development and design paths for future growth and learning. With the recognition of ‘aha moments’ development of leadership skills and competence can be improved through reflection. Three aha moments that have been identified in this particular report encompass the first situation that caused me leaving my father’s company, the second has taken place when I have revaluated my personal expectations towards me as well as others, where I have overburdened myself with unrealistic goals and underassessment about myself and third moment, is about when I was ignored and disrespected because of my lack of organizational and management knowledge. 

Third aha moment includes my insights as a part of assessment 2. I found that all three aha moments have some connections between them. I realised from reflecting on the outcomes, that I need to have the better working ability in the team, make a collective decision, build constructive arguments based on facts rather than focusing on ego. Depending on facts, will have significant contribution to organizational performance as well as improving staffs attitude towards work. I further must check my attitude, approaching behaviour, values of other people like friends and co-worker’s opinion that will promote my colleagues working approach and motivation as well as improve my own leadership skills. 

Depending upon reflections, made on patterns and connections, a development plan for improving my leadership qualities and abilities also has been designed in the particular report. I have further found that immediate actions are more significant in the circumstance of carrying out continuous lifelong learning approach for improving my leadership skills and identifying other’s potential and strengths.

Three ‘aha’ moments

The ‘aha’ moments that have been presented in this section are the combinations of critical evaluation of previous occurrences. Aha, moments have been included in the current assessment with the application of psychometric tools which is an important section of a leadership development program as well as Management program, MBA909 that I have undertaken. 

Aha moment 1

First aha moment is associated with the occurrence that has resulted in me leaving my father’s garment factory in Bangladesh. My father is the head of our family business where I was appointed as a manager where I was supporting my father in carrying the company’s operations although I had no formal skills or educations on business. I always had felt that I know more than the staffs who were working in the company. I never had listened to their opinions and suggestion before making any decision about the production of new designs. I used to select the design I like and did not allow others to make any contributions in this aspect which had resulted in higher production costs and my father had to compensate the huge loss in business. I could not work with people than whom I was superior I always had the feeling that I should be better than anyone else in the firm and ended up failed and I decided to leave the company. 

Through a psychometric test my strengths have been identified that I am good at achieving my targeted goals and work in coordination with others rather than in competition. This outcome had made me realise that my inadequate knowledge about the business process was the major reason that forced me to quitting my father’s company. Lack of knowledge and experience were the reasons for my ineffectiveness in improving business process and productivity and inefficient decision making. Budgeting, planning, evaluating the plan, adopting cost effective designs and strong professional management skill such as leading, collaborating, communicating and encouraging staffs in the decision making processare some of the attributes that could improve my individual and organization’s collective performance. By evaluating the previous occurrences that had happened when I was working in my father’s company, it is clear to me now that not that I was inefficient in team working or goal achieving but owing to my insufficient business process knowledge and management skills, I ended up in taking the wrong decision. Taking the wrong decisions again has resulted in huge lossin the firm. There are adequate evidences that demonstrate that this leadership approach was against the leadership skill I possess. 

Aha moment 2

This ‘aha moment’ is the outcome of my EQ test outcomes. I have undertaken an online short test that had provided me with a few questions to assess my emotional intelligence. My scores on emotional intelligence that I have acquired is high. In contrast, my colleagues have provided me higher scores in a few areas than the scores I have provided to my abilities. In line with my studies in management, I have reassessed the outcomes. Now I realise that I have been putting must effort in improving my emotional intelligence. However, I have not been spending enough time in identifying my own hard work and appraise my effort. It is evident that I have been driving myself harder based on the perception of ineffectiveness. However, in multiple times it is not necessary, which ultimately has been a waste of time and effort. 

Aha moment 3

My third aha moment is all about obtaining insight that I become very disappointed when I find people ignore me and disrespect me because of inadequate formal knowledge. While working in my father’s garment factory, I used to very feel disgusted when senior employees used to put me down because of my lack of knowledge and work experience in the garment sector. They have always tried to ignore me in any design related decision as I had not product related experience by stating “Since you do not have much knowledge about this area of business, you can learn from the team’s working style and decision making”. I have faced situations when they have mocked at me after I selected some garment designs as they have stated “choosing this design will result in huge business losses and those cannot be selected”. I also have heard them talking against my choices of garments and they commented that the designs that I have selected would be very expensive to make, this is beyond our knowledge and experience that the designs you have selected will result in a huge business loss but no gains”. They used to make me feel that I lack effective working ability and knowledge that is essential in the garment industry. I felt very disappointed when criticised by senior staffs of the company for my lack of skills which made me make a final choice without considering anyone’s suggestion. I was not open to accept criticisms of other staffs in the company especially being the owner. However now I know how to respond to such a situation after I have joined my management course. From next time if I find such comments I will work hard to gain knowledge on different products that are appropriate to be selected and engage the team of competent staffs in making a decision rather than doing all by myself. Team involvement in the decision making process will improve organizational performance and profitability. I will remain open to change as per others suggestions. This is the reflection that I have encountered while working in my father business in Bangladesh which has been mentioned in Assessment 2 for MBA909. 

While working in my father’s garment company, I have made the decision for selecting the final garment design which demonstrates anger and frustrations on the organizational staffs. I have learned throughout my studies and personal knowledge that these actions must not be taken out of personal revenge or based on unfair judgemental practice. I have undertaken Big 5 psychometric test which demonstrates that I have achieved 33% in Openness, 62.5% Conscientiousness, 10% in Extraversion, 65% Agreeableness, and 35% Neuroticism. From low average Openness, it is clear that possess less prone to think abstract and complex issues which 62.5% in Conscientiousness demonstrates that I have self-discipline and control in order to pursue my goals. 65% in Agreeableness makes it clear that my tendency to put others’ needs ahead of mine as well as I tend to cooperate rather than to compete with others.

From the ‘aha moment,’ my varied behavioural approaches are clear, at the time that makes me frustrated and disappointed. Nonetheless, the individuals who possess abilities and competence that complement the areas where I lack competence or maybe I am not strong or even comfortable in exposing my leadership activities are likely to gain better employment opportunities. As a leader, I am accountable and responsible to identify and develop different skills and efficiencies for organizational collective benefit. 

Pattern and connections in leadership practice

Patterns and connections between and within the insights have been identified in previous sections. Those are analysed and depicted in this particular section of the portfolio. It also encompasses the relationship between the moment, literature and leadership practices. 

Patterns and connections within and between the insights

A theme of accountability towards performance is there in the patterns and connections between aha moments. It is expected from a professional leader to encourage staffs engagement in the decision making process, remain open to suggestions and accept criticisms (moment 1). I have perceived that Stewart leadership style is very beneficial in organizational as well as from staffs perspectives(moment 3)(Bryman, 2011). My own leadership style of making a decision by evaluating different pros and cons of the possible outcomes can be effective in certain contexts however I need to remain open and accept criticisms and suggestions that may not meet my personal expectations within a host of other circumstances (Adair, J., 2010). This also encompasses how I remain and consider other’s accountable for performance. I will ensure that I am not overemphasizing on heightening standards not only for myself but also for others through pushing and exerting pressure especially if it is not important (moment 2 and 3) and thus such approach may lead to waste of time and efforts. Pushing myself and others may be more exhausting and may also affect staffs motivation to work. 

I also have identified through my self-assessment that I may have been putting irrelevant barriers in certain contexts which could havean adverse impact on the project accomplishment and task progression. Forbes, (2012)has shown that inefficiency in addressing performance barriers or nor allowing task accomplishment in an easier manner is one of the most significant management flaws. In contrast, it has been identified in moment 2 that I need to keep the balance of my efforts, hard work and judgment followed by restraining myself in putting much effort where it is needed while applying my compliance abilities where necessary. Thus I should support in improving others in organizational situations. I will further ensure not to think too much on any aspect and grab every opportunity for my future development and growth. I will assist others in obtaining the highest result for themselves as well as organizational collective performance. Therefore I must keep effort and hard work limited as much as it is necessary that again depends on specific task I am accomplishing so that I do not push myself and strain as well as do not overburden others who are working with me in a team so that the extra effort and hard work can be redirected to achieve some other tasks when required (Allen, G. & Dovey, K., 2016). 

Association between literature and leadership practices:

With an aim to achieve performance management, it is important to have required a set of performance goals set using SMART approach for myself and others. Such a clear vision and goals set will help me and others to focus on that expectation and work accordingly to ensure leadership development. 

According to Longenecker & Yonker, (2013a), by improving self-assessment and reflection, leaders are able to improve their performance. In order to get feedback, leaders need to have multiple sources to validate, complement and study view points and thoughts(Agote, et al., 2016). This has been one of the most critical aspects in my own leadership journey to strengthen my judgemental and assessment abilities, which may be further be improved from a number of sources of feedback such as peer comments and colleagues opinions(Longenecker & Yonker, 2013b). Moreover, a more formal method of gaining feedback is 360 degree performance evaluation(HR Magazine, 2017). McCarthy, (2014) have commended that frequent assessment of performance supported by feedback has been found to be effective in improving performance of middle managers, which moreover enhances when supported by coaches feedback(Gill, et al., 2018). These findings and recommendations have demonstrated that in order to achieve optimum effectiveness from my reflective evaluations, feedback from a wide range of sources is needed to be included that will facilitate me in gaining optimum individual performance(Grant, 2012). 

To collect feedback from multiple sources, I will remain open to getting suggestions and also receive constructive feedback as recommended by Harvard Business Review, (2014). It has been demonstrated in my aha moment 3 as well as in the Assessment 2 that I dislike to be ignored and receiving negative criticisms from others, which has been one of the major mistakes in my first job. My outlook towards criticisms ledresulted in leaving the organization because of bitter experience such as loss of business, my father’s lack of trust on me and criticisms against me. I could have used the criticisms that I had received from the company’s staffs in improving my knowledge and experience which could improve my individual as well as business performance(Chemers, 2014). I could focus on the areas where I had no experience and knowledge and seek support from experienced staffs in gaining business knowledge. Such an attitude could create a positive environment as well as improve my skills. In contrast, I had developed grudge and dissatisfaction with the work culture and experienced staffs and consequently, I left my job. If I am not open to receive others feedback and accept others constructive criticisms, my attitude can reinforce my subordinates and peers in withholding suggestions and flaws that they might identify within me as suggested by Garvey, et al., (2014). It has been suggested by Egleston, et al., (2017)that leaders who are not open to listening to their subordinates may witness higher employee turnover through staff’s dissatisfaction which has also been supported by Boies, et al., (2015). I used to feel superior to other staffs as I was working in my father business and I was not ready to accept my management inefficiencies and inadequate product knowledge. However, these two issues handled to business loss. In an environment where feedback is accepted, helps leaders in obtaining both positive as well as critical feedbacks(LEADERSHIP AND ETHICS, 2015) at different levels of functioning. which is demonstrated in Leadership expert, (2012). Feedback results in individual, as well as organizational development and growth, are critical as suggested by Allen & Dovey, (2016).Organizational development and growth are achieved by addressing identified loopholes by others, which again contributes to their job satisfaction(Lloyd, et al., 2015). As per the recommendations of Adair, (2010) I must work in collaboration with my team mates so that the performance outcomes can be improved for all, my personal, others as well as organization.

It is also evident from my assessment and reflections that I need to be realistic regarding other performance expectations. Arterberry, (2014) have suggested that inefficiencies in identifying realistic and clear performance expectations and Boies, et al., (2015) provide required directions have been found to be highly leadership deficiency in this ever-changing business scenario. Again with high-performance expectation or if it is beyond the abilities of the staffs it can result in diminished performance but rather efficient leadersshould develop dependability with their employees(Bolman & Deal, 2014). I also should identify individual differences in their skills and efficiencies in performing their tasks which (Bryman, 2011)is immensely important and thus develop and support them by mentoring, guiding, coaching and enable the staffs to perform better in their own performance and responsibilities. In contrast, as suggested by Chemers, (2014) strengthening my leadership skills such as communication, feedback and positive approach(Covey, 2014) could be challenging for me. Leadership skills will facilitate me in identifying individual performance abilities and set the organizational expectations (Daft, 2014) set goals, communicate and delegate tasks, provide feedback on their performance and motivate to achieve the highest performance. 

Plan for improvement

I have planned to develop my leadership skills, team building and team performance and carry out psychometric assessment followed by the analysis of reflections and some prior experience to achieve future promotion. 

Developing leadership skills:

I have undergone a leadership development crash course prior to joining this MBA course. In the leadership course, I used to meet my mentor in every two months who would support me clarifying my queries and also suggested various recommendations about developing leadership skills. From past work experience, I have identified that I need to develop my leadership skills especially, communication, motivation, responsibility, creativity, trustworthiness and feedback. I will work hard for improving the communication skills that will facilitate me to manage conflicts, motivate staffs and resolve organizational issues. I will join a short term combination class in June 2019 for 6 months so that I can strengthen my verbal, nonverbal and written communication skills suggested in Technical Briefing, (2010). I will develop strategies to improve other leadership qualities such as feedback, positivity and creativity by engaging myself in different leadership workshops and seminars. I will also access to online information sources that I believe will enable me in improving the mentioned leadership skills. 

Team building and team performance

From my classroom performance, I have found that I am strong at team building and team performance. Additionally, my personality test outcomes also have demonstrated that I work better in coordination and collaboration rather than competition with others within the organization. I will also carry out regular team meetings, clarify my teammate’s task goals and guide them the way they can accomplish those goals. However I will allocate task among all team members and assign decision making abilities, creative thinking and problem solving on them rather than doing all by myself. 

I will arrange a monthly meeting with the team to carry out discussion on the work environment, evaluate and identify gaps in progress and success of tasks that have been targeted to achieve. Followed by team meetings I will reflect on the discussions and use my insights and thoughts to develop arrange feedback and question sessions which will facilitate me develop a mix of feedback and query through proper development objectives. Hence team development not only is sufficient in achieving organizational goals but the team must be provided with adequate instructions based on their goals, managers expectations form them, issues that have been facing while and working. 

Formal skill evaluation tools:

Recently I have undertaken one psychometric tools Big Five personality test that determines different leadership and interpersonal skills. As per the test is undertaken it is clear that I am self discipline and have control in pursuing my goals with a high score in Conscientiousness as well as a high score in Agreeableness makes it clear that I tend to cooperate rather than to compete with others.  I will also allocate time for my mentoring and coaching session to determine how these along with my own reflection skills have contributed to improving my performance. 

Future goals

My progression and consequences of the developmental plans that have been designed above, will be assessed post 6 months that is in November 2019, as I have made a time frame of developing my skills in six months. This assessment outcomes will facilitate me identify the areas that need to be developed further and frame further development plan for future that can be used for action in another 6 months that is in May 2020 and thus in this manner, I will carry on my development process as a lifelong learning process. 

Conclusion

Through the leadership development course, I have provided insights that will contribute to my leadership development process. My leadership development encompasses psychometric tests with outcomes and reflections on classroom discussions and exercises. The process of leadership development and my subject has facilitated me in gaining my understanding that leadership is a long process that includes two areas of expectations on my colleagues and myself. 

The first and foremost realisations that I have gained is that I need to have realistic expectations regarding both mines as well as another process. Next is that I need to accept the fact that people are different in terms of their behaviours which may also compensate my own limitations in my behaviours. I have gained some personal strength that can be used in my own leadership practice. I have understood that strategic leadership development approach will enable me to develop my leadership skills. I also need to gain feedback from my colleagues as well as others such as external mentor or coach that will contribute to identifying my strengths and weaknesses. 

I have now realised and identified the ways that can be adopted in progressing my leadership development as well as identifying my potential and rationale of the activities that have conducted an the organization. These understanding and realisations have been supported by my reflection process through this leadership portfolio. I also have found the importance of having clear objectives and strategies through which I can achieve my career advancement. This exercise and evaluation process has strengthened my confidence as now I have learned how to identify my weaknesses and develop a plan accordingly to address those areas where I lack. I possess clear objectives that I need to achieve in the process of the leadership development plan and ensure that the leadership development process continues for the long time frame and thus address my leadership weaknesses well as improve my strengths in this particular area throughout the year and beyond. 

Appendix: 

Personality Trait Score

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