Week 14

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Last Week's Definition: My current definition of leadership is that a leader is someone who works toward bettering themselves while serving others and putting their best interests above their own. A leader works toward bettering themselves by evaluating their beliefs and values, they are also conscious of conflict that may occur in the group and how to solve any preexisting prejudices. A good leader helps guide their team by listening to the needs of the group and adjusting their style based on that. A leader needs to be constantly working toward being a better person and may do so through intentional change.

This Week's Definition: My current definition of a leader has less to do with what they do and more has to do with who the leader is as a person. A leader must be very comfortable in their skin and know exactly what their values are in order to be able to adapt according to outside situations and the needs of the group. A leader must also be aware of conflict and always listen to the group. Something that a leader must also understand is how complex a group is and that each person may take something a different way and therefore, must be cautious and thoughtful when communicating.

Analysis of Reading: According to Saphiere, Mikk, & Devries, communicating with a group is a complex system, similar to a circus. There are multiple ways that the intention of a communication may not match the impact that it had. This is important for a leader to keep in mind and will need to evaluate each situation accordingly. A leader should get to know each member of its group in order to communicate effectively. Communicating effectively is more about how the listener interprets it as opposed to how you communicate it. (Saphiere, Mikk, & Devries, 2005, p 68-75)

Sources:
Saphiere, D. H., Mikk, B. K., & Devries, B. I. (2005). "Factors Affecting Communication Style: Starring acts in the circus." 47 - 82. Retrieved from http://www.download-it.org/free_files/Pages%20from%20Chapter%2003%20-%20Factors%20Affecting%20Communication%20Style-c2c273a32b32ce590fe42518fa48db05.pdf.

Week 13

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Last Week's Definition: In addition to my current definition of leadership, stating that leaders are people who work with the group by listening to all needs and adapting their leadership style to fit those needs. A leader works on their own beliefs and values and does not deviate from those, they are also always working toward becoming a better leader and providing the best possible guidance filled with understanding and without judgement to the group. They also must be aware of how the group complements one another and how there may be unconscious prejudice that may need to be addressed. I believe that it is also important that a leader realizes that they are part of a group and that conflict is natural and decisions should involve the whole group.

This Week's Definition: My current definition of leadership is that a leader is someone who works toward bettering themselves while serving others and putting their best interests above their own. A leader works toward bettering themselves by evaluating their beliefs and values, they are also conscious of conflict that may occur in the group and how to solve any preexisting prejudices. A good leader helps guide their team by listening to the needs of the group and adjusting their style based on that. A leader needs to be constantly working toward being a better person and may do so through intentional change.

Analysis of Readings: According to Boytzis (2006), a person can go through intentional change. When one feels the need for a desired and sustainable change to their actions, beliefs or competencies, they may work through the Theory of Self-Directed Learning. This analyzes where a leader is (Real Self) and the gap between type of leader they wish to be (Ideal Self). A good leader will utilize their strengths and create a strong support system to reduce this gap.

Sources:
Boyatzis, R. E. (2006). "An Overview of Intentional Change from a Leadership Perspective." Journal of Management Development, 25(7), 607-623. doi:10.1108/02621710610678445

Week 12

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Last Week's Definition: Throughout the course my leadership definition has changed to in response to the increasing complexity of the question "What is a leader?" I believe that a leader is someone who is working toward bettering the people that they are leading by listening to their needs, empathizing when necessary and guiding them in the right direction while still allowing them to grow on their own. In order accomplish this, leaders must set realistic goals and adapt to the changing attitude of their group and the environment while bettering themselves by looking at how and why they lead and deep rooted personal values. This week I would like to add that leaders need to be aware of differences and know that these differences help the group, that prejudice may exist and to be actively trying to address these issues. Also, that leaders should never judge a person from first glace, part of being a leader is getting to know the group on a personal level and not to make judgments until you know the whole story.

This Week's Definition: In addition to my current definition of leadership, stating that leaders are people who work with the group by listening to all needs and adapting their leadership style to fit those needs. A leader works on their own beliefs and values and does not deviate from those, they are also always working toward becoming a better leader and providing the best possible guidance filled with understanding and without judgement to the group. They also must be aware of how the group complements one another and how there may be unconscious prejudice that may need to be addressed. I believe that it is also important that a leader realizes that they are part of a group and that conflict is natural and decisions should involve the whole group.

Analysis of Difference: According to the Komives, Lucas, & McMahon article, groups have varying dynamics depending on the purpose, structure and time spent together. I think that this is important for leaders to realize so they do not waste too much time on one specific development phase. Leaders should also be aware of various types of group members and alter their style to include everyone. (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, 1998, p 165-194)

Sources:
Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (1998). "Interacting in Teams and Groups." Exploring Leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (pp. 165 - 194). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Week 11

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Last Week's Definition: This week I really related to the readings, however my definition of leadership did not change. I think that these readings were repetitive of previous reading concepts and I did not really have to alter my definitions.

This week's definition: Throughout the course my leadership definition has changed to in response to the increasing complexity of the question "What is a leader?" I believe that a leader is someone who is working toward bettering the people that they are leading by listening to their needs, empathizing when necessary and guiding them in the right direction while still allowing them to grow on their own. In order accomplish this, leaders must set realistic goals and adapt to the changing attitude of their group and the environment while bettering themselves by looking at how and why they lead and deep rooted personal values. This week I would like to add that leaders need to be aware of differences and know that these differences help the group, that prejudice may exist and to be actively trying to address these issues. Also, that leaders should never judge a person from first glace, part of being a leader is getting to know the group on a personal level and not to make judgments until you know the whole story.

Analysis of Differences: In past definitions I have talked about the fact that leaders must be aware of differences among the team. The first step is realizing that there are differences and that is okay. Leaders need to tailor themselves to individual members of the group. However, this week after reading the Gladwell article, it seemed clear that everyone is at fault of making quick judgments of people based on first impressions. Leaders need to know that this happens and make a conscious effort to combat this. (Gladwell, 2005. pg 79) Also, leaders should be aware of personal and group prejudices. These my exist subconsciously, but regardless, leaders should know the difference between racism and prejudice as stated in the Tatum article and to address them accordingly. (Tatum, 1997. p 10)

Sources:
Gladwell, M. (2005). "The Warren Harding Error: Why we fall for tall, dark, and handsome men." Blink: The power of thinking without thinking (pp. 72 - 98). New York: Pushkin Enterprises.
Tatum, B. D. (1997). "Defining Racism: Can we talk?" Why are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? (pp. 3 - 17). New York: Basic Books.

Week 9

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Last Week's definition: This week my definition has stayed the same in the sense that I feel the most successful leaders are always striving to be a better person, working towards what is best for the the team even if that means changing and adapting their leadership style and always defining and analyzing their ethical beliefs and adapting their styles to outside factors. However, I also think that it is important for leaders to remember to utilize all the strengths of each team member and be aware of the weaknesses. Leaders also should work toward becoming servant leaders and putting others before themselves.

This week's definition: This week I really related to the readings, however my definition of leadership did not change. I think that these readings were repetitive of previous reading concepts and I did not really have to alter my definitions.

Analysis of differences: I didn't have to change my definition this week because I think removing yourself occasionally from the situation and looking down from the 'balcony' (Heifetz,& Linsky, 2002, p 56) is essentially the same thing as being a servant leader. Looking from the balcony involves looking from a different perspective, something that servant leaders have to do frequently. Servant leaders must empathize with people in order to be the most effective leader possible and in order to do that they must take themselves, and their personal opinions, out of the situation and look at it through someone else's shoes.

Week 8

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Last Weeks Definition: My definition this week has not changed much since last week. I still firmly believe that leaders work the most effectively when striving to be the best leader they can be for their team and are constantly assessing how and why they are leading and that they have a clear understanding of their ever-changing ethical beliefs and analyse each decision from multiple ethical views. Expanding on my previous concept of evolving to meet team needs, leaders must also be aware of the current external environment and adapt their leadership style to meet the current business climate.

This week's definition: This week my definition has stayed the same in the sense that I feel the most successful leaders are always striving to be a better person, working towards what is best for the the team even if that means changing and adapting their leadership style and always defining and analyzing their ethical beliefs and adapting their styles to outside factors. However, I also think that it is important for leaders to remember to utilize all the strengths of each team member and be aware of the weaknesses. Leaders also should work toward becoming servant leaders and putting others before themselves.

Analysis of Differences: I really enjoyed the Barbuto & Wheeler reading which talked about servant leadership. This is something that I strongly believe should be more prevalent in today's world and is something that I am working toward myself. It is very important to be able to reach out to people in their time of need and to be empathetic of their situations. (Barbuto & Wheeler, 2007) According to the Astin & Astin article, teams and leaders have a very complex relationship where one compliments the other and each must be aware of the other's strengths and weaknesses. (Astin & Astin, 1996 p 4)

Week Seven

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Last Week's Definition: This week I reaffirmed my beliefs that leaders are most effective when they are working toward the best interest of the group and changing according to their evolving needs, are consistently working to become a better person and routinely perform personal 'checks' of why they are acting and leading the way that they are. Expanding on that, I think that it is pertinent that leaders clearly define their ethical beliefs and be aware of any changes in those beliefs. It is critical that they examine every leadership decision from both sides and an ethical lens.

This Week's Definition: My definition this week has not changed much since last week. I still firmly believe that leaders work the most effectively when striving to be the best leader they can be for their team and are constantly assessing how and why they are leading and that they have a clear understanding of their ever-changing ethical beliefs and analyse each decision from multiple ethical views. Expanding on my previous concept of evolving to meet team needs, leaders must also be aware of the current external environment and adapt their leadership style to meet the current business climate.

Analysis of Differences: I found this week's article extremely interesting on account of my business background, and I could really relate with the concept. However, I believe that these notions can be applied to all leadership situations. According to the article, when it comes to leadership there is no normal situation, each new situation provides the opportunity to push your team into improving performance by stepping outside the comfort zone and reevaluating the norm. (Heifetz, Grashow & Linsky, 2009, p 62-69) As a person with Adaptability as one of my top five strengths I can relate to this very personally.

Sources:
Heifetz, R., Grashow, A., & Linsky, M. (2009). "Leadership in a (permanent) crisis." Harvard Business Review, 87(7), 62-69.

Week 6 - Ethics

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Last week's definition: I still believe that a leader is most effective when they consistently keep the best interest of the group in the forefront of their minds, as I defined in my first post. In addition to my thoughts last week about leaders needing to better themselves in order to make the team better, I think that leaders must analyze why they lead in a certain way and why they lead, period. Leaders need to feel personal satisfaction, in accordance with their personal values, from the position they are in as a leader and the goals they are trying to accomplish.

This week's definition: This week I reaffirmed my beliefs that leaders are most effective when they are working toward the best interest of the group and changing according to their evolving needs, are consistently working to become a better person and routinely perform personal 'checks' of why they are acting and leading the way that they are. Expanding on that, I think that it is pertinent that leaders clearly define their ethical beliefs and be aware of any changes in those beliefs. It is critical that they examine every leadership decision from both sides and an ethical lens.

Analysis of Differences: The reading this week really hit home for me. I never realized that there are so many reasons why there are ethical differences, as stated in the Paul & Elder readings. I also found the steps to the logic of ethics extremely helpful, this provides a simple check for a leader to make sure they are making the correct decision. (Paul & Elder, 2006, p 4-36) However, the thing that stuck out to me the most was the two lessons learned in the Kidder reading. That first, every ethical situation has two sides, one from each person, and that making an ethical decision requires in-depth thinking of each side and meeting in the middle. (Kidder, 2003, p 22)

Sources:
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). "The Function of Ethics -- and Its Main Impediement." Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning (pp. 4 - 36). Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Kidder, R. M. (2003). "Overview: The ethics of right vs. right." How Good People Make Tough Choices (pp. 13 - 29). New York: Simon & Schuster.

Week 5

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Last Week's definition: "As I have begun reading more about different types of leadership it has begun to become more apparent to me that not only is being a leader about being there for the people you are leading, but it is bettering yourself for them as well. I think that it is important for leaders to learn exactly what the people they are trying to lead need and to adapt to those needs. A leader must be consistently bettering themselves, therefore bettering the whole team. At the same time, I think it is possible for a leader to have multiple, ever-changing leadership styles, but only because a leader must being doing what is best for their team.:

This Week's Definition: I still believe that a leader is most effective when they consistently keep the best interest of the group in the forefront of their minds, as I defined in my first post. In addition to my thoughts last week about leaders needing to better themselves in order to make the team better, I think that leaders must analyze why they lead in a certain way and why they lead, period. Leaders need to feel personal satisfaction, in accordance with their personal values, from the position they are in as a leader and the goals they are trying to accomplish.

Analysis of the differences: The Lee & King reading really hit home for me this week. I realized that not only does a leader need to better themselves, but they need to know and understand 'why' they are bettering themselves. According to Lee & King, "effective leadership depends first on one's personal vision and then one's leadership vision." (Lee & King, 2001, p. 31) I understand now that it is extremely important to be aware of why you are being a leader, taking into account your values, past, motivation and future aspirations. It finally clicked for me that being a leader is so much more than getting people to accomplish what you want them to, there are two sides to this story and the leader is equally as important.

Sources:
Lee, R. J., & King, S. N. (2001). "Ground your leadership vision in a personal vision."
Discovering the Leader in You: A guide to realizing your personal leadership potential (pp. 31 - 54). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.

Post 2

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As I have begun reading more about different types of leadership it has begun to become more apparent to me that not only is being a leader about being there for the people you are leading, but it is bettering yourself for them as well. I think that it is important for leaders to learn exactly what the people they are trying to lead need and to adapt to those needs. A leader must be consistently bettering themselves, therefore bettering the whole team. At the same time, I think it is possible for a leader to have multiple, ever-changing leadership styles, but only because a leader must being doing what is best for their team.

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