Leadership A year after completing my first

Leadership is a function of knowing yourself, having a vision
that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking
effective action to realize your own leadership potential.” -Warren
Bennis.

Warren’s
definition of leadership is self-explanatory and defines how I can relate to
leadership, especially in the context of a work setting. Having a clear vision
on what goals and targets you plan to reach is very important in leadership and
managing people. Especially when building trust, a leader should be able to
inform its people on its strategies, direction and also result. As communication
should be a two way Street, both parties that include the leader and its
colleagues should be able to communicate freely and convey the business
purposes.

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         This paper will be exploring parts of
the leadership experience text by focusing on my first leadership experience
and understanding the full meaning and my potential in a leadership role,
outlining my own traits, relationships and behaviours as an effective leader
and lastly exploring the power of business chemistry.

 

LEADERSHIP CAN BE LEARNED

In the
workplace, people are sometimes promoted to managerial roles without prior
experience or training. In some cases, people in this position do tremendously
well while others do not. When people are put in a position to direct a team of
people, it is because of their past experiences and a reflection of their
performances, ethics and business acumen for leading. Being put in a managerial
role for the first time can be advantageous but also an overwhelming
experience.   

A year
after completing my first degree, I moved back to my home country Nigeria for a
while and got into the family catering business. I was the assistant manager at
the time and this role focused on different areas ranging from sales,
operations, human resources, event planning etc. This was going to be my first
leadership experience and I had to make sure I came prepared. Barry and James
state:  Learning to lead all starts
with what you think of yourself and the assumptions you feed. Learning to lead
is about discovering what you value, what inspires you, what challenges you,
what gives you energy, and what encourages you. When you discover these things
about yourself, you’ll also know more about what it takes to lead those
qualities out of others 2016 (p.36). 
This explains the first few months as an assistant manager for me, I would
describe myself to have been a learning agile leader as I was very open to the
changes that were occurring in the business and also learning from my lead and
subordinate. This also helped in the growth and improvement of the team. As for
self-discovery and finding what I value, that would be the family business, as
the end goal is to create a legacy and ensuring there will be a successful
transitioning between each generations to come.       As a first time manager, I discovered that I was lacking some soft
skills, which would be needed in other to be productive and have a great team. Patience
is not in the top qualities being looked for in a leader but I think it is a
solid foundation in good leadership. As a first time manger, I needed to have a
lot of patience and tolerance, as I would be in different situations where my
team would require me to be very  
understanding. The food/catering industry can be very competitive and it
is expected to be very productive and quick in delivering top-notch services to
your clients. I had to learn that with all my staffs everyone comes with
different capabilities and all learn at different rates and would require my
leadership to make sure we were always on time. If I chose to be a leader with
little to no patience and lacked the tolerance to understand that a few of my
team members might require more time in production than I would have expected,
I would have missed out on working with great people.  Patience is an important factor in leadership
especially when I had big catering events to plan. Often times the difficulties
that came with these projects required me to male rapid decisions, which I
sometimes regretted. If only I had given myself time and a little amount of
patience to thoroughly think about the impact my decisions might affect.

 

KNOW YOUR STRENGHT

According
to the Richard daft, he describes strength as being a natural talent or ability
that has been supported and reinforced with learned knowledge and skills. Being
mindful of one’s strengths has a lot to do with self-awareness because by
knowing who you are and what you are good at while acknowledging the different
areas that need to be worked on will be beneficial to the business and your
team members.

         Some of the strengths I had that were
beneficial to the team included having a clear vision, being courageous,
cooperative and optimistic. According to Theodore (1987) “The very essence of
leadership is that you have to have a vision.  It’s got to be a
vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.  You
can’t blow an uncertain trumpet”. As this is a family business, my siblings and
I have been fully dedicated to the company because we all share a strong desire
to grow and improve the business. Before I took up the role as an assistant
manager, the staff and the lead at the time never used to have hurdles before
starting the day’s work. Subordinates were usually given instructions on what
to do and the deadline for each task. Coming in, I felt this was not being a productive
method for the team. I decided to make changes by organizing hurdles few times
a month just to reiterate my goals and plan for the business with my team,
which is to be the top catering company in the city. This was important to
share because it helps to motivate everyone to put their best foot forward and
keeps everyone going. Even when faced with adversities or obstacles, we will
learn to work through them and understand what we can do better next time.

Being
courageous also served as a strong factor in this business because I was able to
take risk and not being fully sure if it would lead to successful ending.

Without being courageous one cannot make big changes while being a leader and
also the right conversation that should lead to better adjustments would not be
made. One of the difficult things I had to do sometimes were to deliver bad
news. Instead of giving a team member the job to either lay off a staff member
or discuss losses with our clients or investors, I made sure I tactfully
delivered such information on good terms.  Also whenever we experienced a change, being a
courageous leader has always helped my team to find different solution and also
I am able to think differently and the difficult conversations, which everyone
might be avoiding. 

         With the role as a lead assistant,
optimism and corporation come as pair. According to Napoleon (1938) “if you
imagination leads you to understand how quickly people grant your requests when
those request appeal to their self interest, you can have practically anything
you go after”. I had the ability to get everyone working together even when
some of my team members had their own difference and various methods in doing
things. Being cooperative also involved showing appreciation to the team. I did
this by making sure they knew how appreciative I was and sometimes giving out
awards to members who contributed outstandingly.  Being in a leadership role should not prevent
one from learning from his or her team member. Leading a business requires leaders
to be good followers as well. As this was a new experience for me I was
determined to learn from my employees and this created a balanced work
environment where we all learnt from each other.  Optimism is also a very strong factor in
leadership as this enabled me to see the bigger picture even when there might
be various uncertainties and despairs.

 

 

POWER OF BUSINESS CHEMISTRY

Just like
the article stated, personality is very important in business and with the four
patterns of business being the driver, pioneer integrator and the guardian I
see myself having more of a guardian personality. While having a strong work
ethic, I pride myself as being very helpful to my colleagues during my role. I
often put a lot of thinking before making a big decision, which might affect
the business and also strived to minimize financial losses and risks. I was
also able to motivate my teammates especially when things were not going as
planned. The ability to understand my teams personality and appreciate their different
capacities was also important as this would enable me to understand what task
each of them would do tremendously well and deliver efficient results. At the
end this helped create a better relationship within the team and run an
efficient business in the long run.

CONCLUSION

Leadership
is an evolving concept but can also be defined as a relationship between a
leader and its followers. Leadership is about uplifting ones vision, empowering
others and also setting goals for the future. My first leadership role was a
great learning experience. I got to understand some parts of me, worked on some
of my strengths and weaknesses. Most importantly I understood how to work with
people with different personalities in business. This is sometimes taken for
granted but by learning more about my team members, I was able to strategize
effectively and being able to handle challenges I faced during my stay with the
company.