Personal Leadership Assesment and Plan

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The theme of this paper is Personal Leadership Assessment & Plan. The PLAP was done to assess my leadership skills, strong points vs. weak points, and what my plan of action is to better those skills. I gathered sources from various places such as reading material, both class work and pleasure, Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), Strong Interest Inventory, internet site, and interviews with other leaders. After assessing my managing skills -self, communication, diversity, ethics, teams, and change- I concluded that 4 of the 6 were strong points and that I have short term and long term plans of action. My short term strategy is to take classes in the Fall and Spring that will continue to enhance my knowledge. My long term plan of action is to pursue a career that will allow me to implement these skills.

A competency is an interconnected set of skills, behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge needed by an individual to be successful in most professional and managerial positions. In order to develop a leader, the study of organizational behavior must take place.The theme of this paper is to describe how 6 competencies are woven into my life and how I plan to implement them. The 6 competencies I found best suiting for myself are: managing self, managing communication, managing diversity, managing ethics, managing teams, and managing change.

There are several core components for the managing self competency. The first is to understand my own and others’ personality and attitudes. Over time, I have come to realize who I, Tara Barnette, truly am. For so long I tried to be like the type of people with whom I “hung around” with. I have finally come to realize what my own values and beliefs are-not my parents and not my friends. I have also come to realize not everyone is or will ever be like me. There may be similarities, but no one is like another; furthermore, you can’t change a person’s personality or attitude no matter how hard you try. The next core component is the ability to identify, evaluate, and understand myself, others and the immediate environment. With this test I have learned I am an ESFP (Extraverted, Sensor, Feeler, and Perceiver). Generally, I have found that I am warm-hearted, outgoing, accepting, and friendly, enjoy everything and make things more fun for others by their enjoyment. I enjoy knowing what’s going on and join in eagerly. I find remembering facts easier than mastering theories. I am best in situations that need sound common sense and practical ability with people. With this in mind, I must evaluate other people around me and know how they best operate. The next core component is the ability to understand and act on my own and others’ work-related motivations and emotions. I have found that I am most motivated by personal feedback, seeing my work affect others positively, and recognition. Everyone is motivated by something different-the key to a good leader is motivating each employee with what “makes them tick” and not use the same motivation for every person. The next core component is the ability to assess and establish my own developmental, personal, and work-related goals. Due to a class I am taking this semester, Senior Practicum Prep, I have analyzed myself and established my personal and work-related goals. My personal goal is to complete my BHS degree by May 2004, and then implement what I have learned by finding a career, such as Pharmaceutical Representative, that allows me to utilize what I have learned. The last but not least core component is the ability to take responsibility for managing myself and my career over time and through stressful circumstances. I have kept a daily planner that has made me develop a daily plan of action for getting my school work done and still allow time for relaxation and doing things I enjoy. I rated myself this because I feel I have an excellent grasp on assessing myself and others. Not only is managing self competency important, but also, managing communication.

Like self competency, this too has several core components. The first element is the ability to convey information, ideas, and emotions to others in such a way that they are received as intended. I believe I have a strong describing skill-in other words, I am able to relay clearly and accurately what I am trying to say. The next factor is the ability to provide constructive feedback to others. Due to the fact that I am motivated by feedback, I find this concept exceptionally important. As I once heard, it’s all about how you say something, not necessarily what you say. The next component is the ability to engage in active listening-the process of integrating informational and emotional inputs in a search for shared meaning and understanding. I feel that I use the questioning skill-the ability to ask for information and opinions in a way that gets relevant, honest, and appropriate responses. I used this skill primarily during interviews with other leaders. During the interviews, both leaders expressed how vital communication is. Without communication, whether it’s nonverbal, verbal, written, or via internet, goals and objectives can not be achieved to their fullest extent and issues will never be resolved. I feel I get my point across to other people, but feel I could do a better job, especially in persuasion. Not only are managing self and communication important, but also, managing diversity.

Like the other competencies, this too has several core components. The first is the ability to encourage an environment of inclusion with those who posses characteristics different from your own. Like both leaders said in the interview, if you have all Chiefs and no Indians, nothing will get done; everyone will be too busy telling someone else what to do. It is always important to seek variety and different views. If everyone thought the same, inspiration would have no meaning. The next component is the ability to learn from those with different characteristics, experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. I feel I am open-minded and am always seeking information from various people before I make a decision. I always look to someone I know has my best interest at heart, I look to someone who knows a lot about the subject, and I look to someone who is unbiased. After information is gathered, I am able to make a well-rounded decision. The next factor is the ability to embrace and develop personal tendencies that support diversity in the workplace and elsewhere. Every time I had a new idea, I sought out all 10 people and got their view on my idea and how it would affect them. I have always tried to be personal in and outside the work place with other individuals different than me. It is a fact that bringing diversity to the table can only enhance a situation, not diminish it. So many people think it is okay to have the guideline, “do as I say, not as I do.” What good is it for example, an individual tell me it is wrong to steal from the company, but yet they take money themselves? People abide by what you do, not what you say. This is why the saying is true, “actions speak louder than words.” The last but not least component is the ability to apply laws and regulations. Policies and rules were put into place for a reason, not for the sake of more paperwork or to make your job harder or less fun. In today’s society it is difficult to know whether you got a job because you are qualified or because of your race or gender. The law does state not to be discriminatory, but taking it to the point of hiring someone because of their race or gender instead of who’s the best candidate, is taking it too far. On a scale of 1 to 5, I would rate myself a 5. I am an open-minded person and believe completely that diversity has much to offer and offers “checks and balances.” In the reading of The Challenge of Change in Organizations, there was a quote that I feel sums this topic up; “The personnel of our train were…a wonderful collection of many people with as many different dispositions and characteristics.” Not only are managing self, communication, and diversity important, but also, managing ethics.

Like the other competencies, ethics too has core components. The first core component is the ability to identify and describe the principles of ethical decision making and behavior. Although many of us would like to believe we live in a world of total trust and respect, unfortunately it’s not true. Although I still struggle with this a little, with practice I have gotten better. When dealing with ethics, there are several things you must consider: the magnitude of consequences, the probability of effect, the social consensus, the temporal immediacy, the proximity, and the concentration of affect. For these things, it is best to apply the laws and rules of conduct-honesty and openness. I have a strong Christian background that gives me a loud conscious; however, I still struggle time to time with the fine lines between right and wrong, and thinking before acting. Not only are managing self, communication, diversity, and ethics important, but also managing teams.

Team-what does is mean? This is one of my favorite words; so much so, I made up an acronym for it: T-together, E-everyone, A-achieves, M-much. As with the other competencies, this too has core components. First, one must acquire the skill of determining the circumstances and choose whether a team approach is best; and if so, the ability to participate in and/or lead the people through a process of goals. I have always believed that team work is something to be desired in a work place. I have always pulled my own weight and expected others to do the same. I have a tendency to take on the “leader” role when in a team. I generally pose goals and a clear way of reaching those goals. If someone begins to slack off, I try to motivate them in a way that is fitting to their personality, and tactfully tell them how to reach a goal by pulling their weight. It is like Coach K stated in his book Leading with the Heart, “You develop a team to achieve what one person cannot accomplish alone. All of us alone are weaker, by far, than if all of us are together. The other component is the ability to deal with personal and task-related conflicts among team members before they become disruptive. Also, one must take corrective action if needed. In general, I take the individual aside where no one else is around and find out what the root of the problem is. I try to re-direct their energy into a positive manner. If the first warning doesn’t work, another counseling session is held. Then, if the problem arises again, that individual may be let go. Since the day I was born, I have had a leadership personality waiting to be used. I have had practice in work and in school being a leader. This is something I have a strong desire for and plan to seek in the future. Not only are managing self, communication, diversity, ethics, and teams important, but also managing change.

“The managing change competency involves the ability to recognize and implement needed adaptations or entirely new transformations in the people, tasks, strategies, structures, or technologies in a person’s area of responsibility”. The challenge of change in an organization can be a tricky situation. As a leader, you must posses the leadership ability to help employees succeed in the new situation. In order to be successful in helping those employees, you must first be able to apply the previous competencies. As with the previous competencies, this too has core components. The first component is the ability to provide leadership to changing situations. You must be able to diagnose pressures and resistance to change, and the plan of action to help employees. When diagnosing, I try to ask questions such as: How does the environment make you feel? What is the root of your resistance or pressure? What can I do to help you overcome these pressures or fears and help you succeed? What were the things that made you feel comfortable before the change? What issues need to be taken care of and left behind? After seeking answers and learning about each individual, I would apply whatever model of change best suited our company. On the flip side of this, I am an individual whose wheels are always turning. In my last job, I was known as the “great ideas” girl. I am always looking for ways to improve and make things more efficient and exciting (sometimes I think I drove my manager nuts!). It was quite touching that when I was leaving Anderson Neurological, they gave me a little ceramic angel piggy bank that says “great ideas” on it. They stated, “We expect many great ideas from you in the future. Every time you have a great idea, put a penny in the bank, and one day you’ll be a millionaire.” I love changes and the new challenges it brings. Life is too short to stay monotonous; change and challenge stimulate the brain!

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