In this assessment, students reflect critically on their learning about leadership throughout the subject, including an appreciation of the skills, contextual dimensions, challenges, tensions and opportunities – specifically around their understanding of personal moral-relational agency and implications for accountability to stakeholders in leading people and change. References to “required reading and reflections” (ie influential selections from the Reading List in Canvas [tagged as “Required” or “Recommended”] and as per the Periodic 1 page Summaries and Reflections) will help form reflexive elements in your journal entries.
Leadership Journal – Reflective Writing
Leading People and Change
Part 1: Early exploratory reflections
As a student, I have found there are various learnings that we have already developed before joining the course. Such learnings are developed from the culture we grow up in or I guess it’s also the result of the current environment that we deal in. I believe that there are certain learnings that could easily be developed through following a great leader such as Sundar Pichai, why I am relating to him because his approach to leadership drives me more than any other leader (Raelin, 2017). Hence following his approach and learning how he handles the situation could be more helpful than dealing with the theoretical learning part.
As I have discussed above that I mostly believe that the practical approach has more relevance in developing leadership skills than the theoretical approach. This has helped me during my early stages of learning as I was already aware of the approach (Pina e Cunha et al., 2017). However, on the other hand, I also came to know that the practical implementation of these leadership approaches is only possible after understanding the theoretical application.
Servant leadership Learnings
During my early stage of learning my attention was bought on the servant leadership approach, wherein the first learning given was that servant leaders are the ones who serve as servants before showing leadership quality. During my early stage of attending lectures, I came across the fact that many of my fellow mates are only focusing on the theoretical aspect of servant leadership and are not interested in taking part in the hand-down approach of practical implementation of the same (White et al., 2019). It is challenging for those who think of themselves as superior to deal with this kind of approach. However, I have also witnessed that weekly activities assigned to us were somehow related to the practical implementation of the leadership styles that help individuals learn better where they stand and what all are factors that are required to handle the situation. While working on these activities I came to know that this not only helps in individual development but also this allows group bonding and builds trust amongst the stakeholders of the organisation.
His paper (Irving, 2011) discussed some different kinds of servant leadership approach that allowed me to understand the insights of the theory with examples. The critical aspect of this leadership that drew my attention was that the leader has to serve as a servant which is rare concerning the term leader. People have this perception of command, authority, and power when it comes to leadership. But during this early stage of learning, we all agreed that leadership is not just about authority and command it’s about perception and the contemporary focus of the leader toward their followers. I also got to understand that every leader must have that intuition that allows them to understand the ways they can drive their followers towards common goals and for this, there are various approaches some might need to be commanded but some might need parallel support to work. For instance, considering the example of Jesus working closely with the disciples to understand their needs and also providing direction helped them to follow the path towards truth and positivity (Irving, 2011). Similarly, I was able to understand Buddha as the deeply intertwined religious values shown by them signify the following and teaching with the application of servant leadership. The moral society set by the leader build a strong foundation of ethics that delivers self-discipline values along with opportunity to become selfless leader. However, it is criticised that these moral societies are only build to divert the individuals towards spiritual path and not focus on building their interpersonal leadership qualities.
Lastly, I think that all the leadership style needs to be accessed considering the situation and character trait of the individual. As we came across servant leadership I found that many people use servant leadership to make themselves part of the operation and direct the individual interest to group interest. However, some critical aspects also witnessed by me that this leadership does not allow the person to behave in command or hold authority as they are equally responsible for the task performed (Ulmer, 2020). This is usually not accepted by the leaders and it makes them feel less powerful hence I have been able to understand the perspective of people towards lack of control or negligence.
Part 2: Mid-Semester: Debates, reflection, perceptions
By this time, I have developed a clear understanding that there are various forms of leadership that is according to the perception and situational needs. I have become open to the idea of understanding the implication of different leadership while considering the debates about the best leadership approach as most of the traits are similar. As there has been a clear picture of the implementation of servant leadership and the related aspects of it I have been able to understand how to bifurcate the approach. I came across the term
Leadership styles and their debates
As we started learning about different leadership styles during our coursework we got to know about various traits and how some people positioned them as their moral directions. I could not decide whether I have had a compound information of the learnings and leadership implications but at this point in time I think I have been able to understand that different kinds of leadership are only because of their socio and situational traits there is nothing more different. but at the same time, I have had negative debates for the same point during my understanding and process of learning different leadership styles I came to know that organising and implementation skills are a must which has not been mentioned but the situation requires it to be present in the person (Alvesson et al., 2016). Moreover, I believe that my team has been working on activities building a strong structure for the assignment, and during coursework, I have been able to drive my team toward the common goal of focusing on the environment. The assignment that I am talking about had various factors that needed to be acknowledged by me for which I have been able to work on the risk assessment factor as through the leadership learning I was able to understand that I can work well as a servant leader wherein along with direction I can work towards the achievement of common goals for the team. The argument raised by Irving, 2011, in the journal shows that servant leadership has been one of the most connecting leadership approaches which allows individuals to get hands-on learning of how the followers could work. I have also focused on the attribute of leadership and understood that amongst the autocratic, democratic, situational and all other types of leadership servant leadership helps us to connect better with the team. A similar aspect that has been determined while working on the assessment that throws light on the leadership style is that validity of the approach and philosophical understanding of the situation is something that impacts the most.
The model for effective servant leader practice given by Irving, 2011 has thrown light on how powerful ethical and humanity leadership changes the perceptions of individuals. In the remainder of the above leadership discussion, I will focus on the further nine servant leadership practices that have been found to be effective to drive teams toward success.
This part of the reflection shows how I have been able to bifurcate the traits according to the requirement of the particular leadership model that I have implemented during my assessment and also this model is the one which I can relate most with considering my approach towards dealing with people. keeping the above aspects and approach in mind I have been able to identify the roots of leadership perception that allows a better insight on the perceptions.
Lastly, my mid-semester has cleared so many doubts but there is still many more approach and traits to be identified as no matter how much we focus on the aspects of leadership some things need practical implementation that is only possible through using it in real life and changing the attributes according to the need of the situation.
Part 3: the importance of Servant Leadership in Consideration of socio-cultural Implications
As in the above discussion, I have laid out the theories and debates regarding different types of leadership and how this leadership approach is used in assessments that we have done during the coursework. Meanwhile, I have also mentioned above my thinking of how it has helped me to develop an understanding of traits. This final part of the reflection discusses how I have understood the practical implementation of servant leadership and also I would discuss the socio-cultural implication of this leadership (White, 2012). It has allowed me to search more about practical and real-life examples and at the end of the coursework, all my understanding and doubts have been acknowledged by the study I did to understand this leadership.
Talking about servant leadership in socio-cultural implications as the name suggests servant leadership is the approach wherein the leader acts as the servant to drive their team towards the achievement of common goals (Guthrie and Jones, 2012). According to my understanding of the approach and the driving factors I have learned that are currently influencing people’s behaviour is their superiority complex. In many ways, I have come across the psychology of the people wherein I have witnessed that people are not willing to be down sided and they need their leader to take equal responsibility for the situation that they are currently working on and considering today’s cultural change people are considering themselves as equal with no accountability. Hence, at this stage, I can say that the implications laid by Irving, 2011 in his paper showed the aspect of servant leadership with examples that not only helped me to relate but also the example of Jesus helped me to know the practical understanding of how people perceive the leadership style. I have also used this during my assignment group work which helped me to implement the leading while working on something of similar subjects. Moreover, I would like to add that this adds as the social accountability for the stakeholders’ review as the effective leadership in the business builds a foundation of trust and success which is something required in the current competitive scenario. Meanwhile it would also be argued at some point that irrespective of the leadership approach or internal management, stakeholders are only interested in the profitability of the company and power that it holds in the industry.
There are some negative aspects that are also identified by me in light of servant leadership as socio-cultural implications it is witnessed that people are taking the work for granted as this aspect contrasts the meaning of a leader (Alvesson et al., 2016). People who have authority, power, and ability to command are considered superior nowadays and this approach is reliably seen as the soft side of people. Hence I understood that leadership styles and their implications have controversial applications which could be debated by the leader or the other person.
In conclusion of the above discussion, this experience of understanding and evaluation has taught me various leadership styles and their related attributes that are based on ethics, humanity, authority, and many others. With this, I have been able to understand the most valuable aspect of leadership with the examples while also having come across strong viewpoints of people and how their socio-cultural aspects drive the implementation of servant leadership amongst individuals. I found the answer to the questions I was having by understanding different leadership and how ethically sound is to work along with the people to drive them towards the goals, I also believe that this makes them feel welcomed and minimizes the impact of the harsh commanding situation. With consideration of extremely modern cultures, I have understood that people nowadays are finding it graceful when the leader understands and is willing to contribute to the task.
Alvesson, M., Blom, M. and Sveningsson, S., 2016. Reflexive leadership: Organising in an imperfect world. Sage.
Guthrie, K.L. and Jones, T.B., 2012. Teaching and learning: Using experiential learning and reflection for leadership education. New directions for student services, 2012(140), pp.53-63.
Irving, J.A., 2011. Leadership reflection: A model for effective servant leadership practice: A biblically-consistent and research-based approach to leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 3(2), pp.118-128.
Pina e Cunha, M., Pacheco, M., Castanheira, F. and Rego, A., 2017. Reflexive work and the duality of self-leadership. Leadership, 13(4), pp.472-495.
Raelin, J.A., 2017. Leadership-as-practice: Theory and application—An editor’s reflection. Leadership, 13(2), pp.215-221.
Ulmer, W., 2020. Leader-to-leader: Reflexive leadership in the midst of Covid-19 and social unrest. Journal of Sustainable Social Change, 13(1), p.2.
White, J.M.V., Guthrie, K.L. and Torres, M., 2019. Thinking to transform: Reflection in leadership learning. IAP.
White, J.V., 2012. Students’ Perception of the Role of Reflection in Leadership Learning. Journal of Leadership Education, 11(2).