Week One – Chapter One Overview

Chapter 1 – Introduction: Leaders Matter

I think when discussing the topics, the first thing to do is to find its meaning. This chapter is able to see the foundation of what leadership is. The two main thoughts about leadership are that leadership is power/influence, and leaders are seen as representatives and problem solvers. I think though leaders should have a mix of both aspects.

The power perspective definition of leadership is that leaders command and influence followers to achieve group goals. The main idea is that effective leaders must persuade others to change their views to match the views of the leader. I personally do not think a good leader should be 100% this. It may work in the beginning, but later the followers will feel upset that they always must follow the leader. There will also be no growth if no other ideas are allowed.

The other side of what leadership is seeing leaders as representatives, who are leaders who best represent the values of their followers and are better at solving their followers’ problems and achieving their goals. I see myself as this type of leader. I think I work best when I feel that everyone feels appreciated and looked after. I know as a leader that I cannot coddle or babysit people because sometimes it may feel that way. The effective leaders give people the tools to be the best they can be. I need to have a better balance of both.

The next thing that I wanted to talk about is the levels of leadership. This was interesting because it said that “someone who is good at leading a small group or team may not necessarily be good at leading a large organization”. I thought this was interesting because I do not know how I would work with a bigger group than I do. One of the main values Mary Washington wants is residence life is that you are not just a number. That means we try to have personal connections with all our residents, and we are not just there to dictate the rules. I like knowing who I live near, and my job wants me to do that also. The idea of face-to-face type leadership really helps me excel. I think when the group gets bigger I get intimidated. I usually do not initiate, and so that is something I must work on if I want to be a public service official. It can really depend on what level you lead to be a good leader.

I really liked the quote from Rick Lash that said, “leadership in the twenty-first century is about leading at all levels; not restricting it to the title”. I really do believe this. I liked how it was “check your egos at the door” because what a bold statement. I like that. I want to be in public service, and so that means everyone’s matters are all important. I see the same in my jobs. When people compliment how I am as a leader I always say it is a team effort. I believe in that so much because one person can only do so much if they do not have help from others.


The “How”

As for the how this chapter is going to impact me I will see what types of leadership styles fit me. That way I can know myself more fully, and then I will be able to maximize how I am as a leader. This lesson is perfect timing because of the situation I am in now. I am a Senior Resident Assistant, and we just got an email that the building I am supposed to live in next year (Alvey Hall), will not be available for people to live in. Granted I am glad they are changing it because of the mold found in the walls, but it leaves my team in the unknown. Half of our staff was supposed to live in Alvey, and all those residents need to find new homes. I must step up as a leader, even in the summer, to see how my team is doing. We must accommodate accordingly to these changes. Also, for the how I liked how they talked about how we should have empathetic, considerate, and ethical leaders are more likely to emerge as leaders. Leaders need to want to solve problems of the world, and so leadership and ethics go hand in hand. You need both to be an effective leader. Some of the tips were very helpful as well from having a genuine concern for their well-being, and lead by using team building and a cooperative attitude.


The “Why”

I think we are learning about this because the one we need to have a foundation of what leadership is, to build on top of that idea. This way we can fully make use of the leadership characteristics in our own lives. If anything, it is going back to basics, then see how we are able to make it really work. When I read the different types of leaders I can see which one I am. Sometimes I feel like I do not want to be that kind of leader, but I should acknowledge that is how I am. That way I can work on my strengths, and I can improve my weaknesses. This shows also that a good leader can accommodate. I do see myself as a management by an exception-active leader, as opposed to management by exception- passive leader. I active leader sometime micro-manages a little too much, and they do not let the followers learn on their own. I always think that I am creating fewer problems by fixing them, but I can also work on helping people grow by being able to fix their own problem. Overall, we are reading this chapter because this initial chapter lets us know that this book will help us find our own leader identity, and we should implement the tips and information that they share! Yay chapter 1 almost done!

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