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Leadership Assignment: A Reflective Learning Journal

Question

Task: To adequately prepare for this leadership assignment, you are required to compile a reflective journal. You should keep the following key points in mind as you reflect; this will ensure you have rich content to draw on when completing your report:

  • What are the key leadership approaches that you connect with the most, and why? (K4)
  • How have our ideas of leadership evolved over time, and what are some key aspects you are going to be more aware of as you go into your future careers? (S3)
  • What are some leadership approaches you have demonstrated in your work/family/community life, how effective were they and what might you do differently next time? (A1, A2)

You should aim to compile at least 150 words of reflection for each topic in your Learning Journal.

Answer

Executive Summary
As stated in this leadership assignment, the term ‘leadership’ is used very often without knowing the true essence of it or defining it. Some of the organizational leaders define leadership based on their experience referring to it as business acumen. Leadership must facilitate attaining the goals for the organization and setting the vision. There are certain crucial human aspects which leadership must take into account. These include diversity, humility, and empathy. However, no definition of leadership can be considered universal because leadership is contextual and might vary as per the need of the situation. Based on the leadership, an organization develops its organizational cultureand sets a direction for the operations. Leadership influences the followers who are led. Leadership is a concept which cannot be stagnant. As the situation changes, the leaders also change. This alters their leadership style. Today in the fast-changing, competitive world, the new leaders are coming up with their fresh concepts and styles of leadership. Leadership impacts the employees and the culture of an organization. The key findings of this paper include the significance of transformation leadership, the relevance of specific leadership traits and the absence of inclusive leadership. The report recommends that through transformational leadership approach several crises could be addressed. The leaders who have specific leadership traits yield better organizational performance as the findings suggest. Furthermore, to cater to the needs of cross-cultural and diverse teams, the inclusive leadership could be highly beneficial.

Introduction
A leader plays a very important role in an organization. The organizations with good and effective leaders succeed and sustain while those with poor, ineffective leaders suffer due to lack of management. According to Schoemaker, Heaton &Teece (2018), a leader should be someone who has abilities beyond simply leading the people. The right motivation should be the driving force for the leaders. The leaders should be able to leave a lasting and positive impact on the followers. The leadership demands emotional connection with the people and empathetic behavior. The leaders do not need to belong to the same background or associate with the same belief. Their sense of empathy and tolerance makes them successful (Al Khajeh, 2018). This report would identify some of the key findings that have been observed through the learning journal reflections. There are certain aspects pertaining to leadership which I have observed while preparing the journals, that will be discussed in the report. The report would review some relevant literatures to strengthen the discussion.

Key Findings & Discussions
Leadership is a concept wider and deeper than just leading. There have been many leaders in history who have led the people, being ruthless, abusive, destructive, and inhuman. They were not the kind of leaders the world needs.The leader not only sets the vision for its people but also rallies them to move towards it. Through effective leadership an organization can see through things and learn to improve situations. The leaders who put people first are able to realize their vision effortlessly. However, the leader’s role does not end with just motivating the people.There are various concepts of leadership which I have come across while preparing the learning journal reflections. The key findings that I have identified from the learning journal reflections include effectiveness and relevance of transformational leadership, the need of specific traits in a leader which facilitates leadership functions and lack of inclusive leadership in a cross-cultural workforce.

Significance of Transformational Leadership
Recalling my past experiences, I have thoroughly enjoyed working at my last workplace. We had a wonderful leader who helped the entire team cope with the pandemic situation. The style of leadership which he followed was that of transformational leadership. This made me realize that a transformational leader makes the team members feel at ease and satisfied with their work. At the same time, a transformational leader is able to appropriately handle sudden and unprecedented crisis. Transformational leadership refers to a style of leadership in which the leaders work in close coordination with the team members (Andriani, Kesumawati&Kristiawan, 2018). The transformational leaders have the insight to investigate things deeply and understand the situation. They know what changes are needed and accordingly devise the blueprint to execute the plan of action for addressing the change. When a sudden crisis occurs, the team members find no direction to work. The transformational leader in such cases creates a vision which he then conveys to the team. The team is guided by the leader towards achieving the vision. The team members feel comfortable working with a transformational leader as the leader knows how to change with time and accommodate the changes within the operational process. The leader motivates and inspires the team members so that they are not demoralized while adapting to the changes or crisis. The transformational leaders find it easier to execute a change and manage it when the team members are committed and share good relationship with their leader (Buil, Martínez&Matute, 2019).

People have varied experience while working as a part of various teams during school, college, and work life. Their experience is highly impacted by the role of their team leaders. The success or failure of a teamwork does not depend solely on the leader. However, the role of leadership plays a significant part. During the pandemic, the work structure and culture changed completely. The physical presence at workplace was entirely replaced by remote working. This was a very different, new, and difficult situation to adjust with. As team members we were finding it difficult to cope with the change. The sense of association while working in person with colleagues and leader was missing, the work environment was lacking at home and there were certain technical drawbacks of working remotely. However, by using the virtual communication platforms like Google Meet and Zoom, our leader made communication easier across the team. This facilitated better operations of the team and resulted in better overall outcome. Our leader also kept motivating us so that we do not lose the enthusiasm to work. The team members were helped in every situation to deal with their problems with work or otherwise by our leader. I could see myself as well as my team members feeling contented working under our team leader. This experience made me realize the importance of transformational leader and need to imbibe it within myself.

Developing Leadership Traits
There are certain situations where I lose my calm, feel frustrated and show reluctance towards work. This giving up attitude is unacceptable in case of leadership. The leader needs to keep his/her spirits high to keep trying until the end (Rehman et al, 2020). There are some traits which a leader needs to have. For all those who aspire to lead, must imbibe these qualities and traits in them to become a successful leader. Integrity is a very important quality of a leader. The top-level managers need to have the quality of integrity so that they can align the operations with the organizational goals, facilitating better decision-making. The integrity of a leader ensures that the team is not misled. The other quality or trait is effective communication. A leader must know how to communicate with the team members and rest (Darics, 2020). The lack of communication hampers the entire work structure. Misinformation and miscommunication could have detrimental impact on an organization. The team members need to stay in close communication with their leader so that they can approach them when they get stuck with some work or problem. The leader should have the ability to delegate the work. It is very important for the leader to know how to divide the work among the team members and get it done without overburdening or pressurizing the team. As per Shen& Slater (2021), excess pressure never yields productive outcome. In fact, it leads to stress and disengagement among the team members. The other traits which a leader needs to possess include self-awareness. The leader must at all times be aware of the approach, actions and its consequences. Informed decision-making along with accountable and responsible actions are integral part of successful leadership. The leader must never be abusive or proud. The leaders need to have the attitude of gratitude. Besides, the leader must also have the sense of empathy towards others. The most important characteristic that a leader requires is the ability to influence. History shows that leaders no matter good or bad, have one thing in common. They could influence and lead. The leader needs to be capable of influencing the followers to rally them towards the desired common direction (Van Vugt& von Rueden, 2020). The leaders need to be sorted in their mind about what they want and how they will achieve it. This reduces the stress and frustration.

Lack of Inclusive Leadership
According to Randel et al (2018), today in the age of globalization and digitalization, the companies are working with diverse global and cross-cultural workforce. The cross-cultural teams are mainly globally operational and have members from varying cultures with unique skills and experiences. The leaders need to adopt an inclusive approach to lead these diverse teams. I have worked in organizations which have multidisciplinary and diverse teams. The lack of inclusive leadership made it difficult for the team members to coordinate and collaborate effectively for work and socialize. The teams were diverse which utilized the capabilities of men and women collectively. There were people belonging to diverse cultural backgrounds. The age of the team members also varied from young freshers to experienced elderly staff. The leader is such situations needs to have an inclusive approach of leadership where the diversity on the basis of age, gender or culture does not act as a hindrance in successful accomplishment of tasks or relationship-building. The leader of my organization lacked this inclusive approach and failed to manage the heterogenous group of team members efficiently. The inclusive leader needs to be bias-free and empathetic, respecting each one’s uniqueness (Qi et al, 2019).

Conclusions & Plan for Ongoing
Today in the era of globalization like the diversified workforce, the leaders will also come from varying background which will bring varied perspectives into the organizations. Irrespective of the existence of various definitions of leadership, an organization needs to believe in the same definition of leadership which defines the role of its leaders. To cope with the changing situations the transformational leadership needs to be adopted. There are certain traits of leadership which one needs to develop to become successful as a leader. There are certain traits in me which are aligned with leadership like empathy, integrity, and effective communication. However, my weaknesses include impatience and lack of tenacity. For addressing the needs of a diverse, cross-cultural workforce, inclusive leadership approach should be adopted. This would yield high performance irrespective of the differences. The team members would be treated fairly and equally with due respect. My ongoing plan is to keep these learnings in mind, reflect upon them time and again to gain better insight. This would help to instill confidence in me, inspire others and value the team I would work with.

References
Al Khajeh, E. H. (2018). Impact of leadership styles on organizational performance. Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 2018, 1-10.

Andriani, S., Kesumawati, N., &Kristiawan, M. (2018). The influence of the transformational leadership and work motivation on teachers performance. International Journal of Scientific & Technology Research, 7(7), 19-29.

Buil, I., Martínez, E., &Matute, J. (2019). Transformational leadership and employee performance: The role of identification, engagement and proactive personality. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 77, 64-75.

Darics, E. (2020). E-leadership or “How to be boss in Instant Messaging?”The role of nonverbal communication. International Journal of Business Communication, 57(1), 3-29.

Qi, L., Liu, B., Wei, X., & Hu, Y. (2019). Impact of inclusive leadership on employee innovative behavior: Perceived organizational support as a mediator. PloS one, 14(2), e0212091.

Randel, A. E., Galvin, B. M., Shore, L. M., Ehrhart, K. H., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., &Kedharnath, U. (2018). Inclusive leadership: Realizing positive outcomes through belongingness and being valued for uniqueness. Human Resource Management Review, 28(2), 190-203.

Rehman, S. U., Shahzad, M., Farooq, M. S., &Javaid, M. U. (2020).Impact of leadership behavior of a project manager on his/her subordinate's job-attitudes and job-outcomes. Asia Pacific Management Review, 25(1), 38-47.

Schoemaker, P. J., Heaton, S., &Teece, D. (2018). Innovation, dynamic capabilities, and leadership. California Management Review, 61(1), 15-42.

Shen, P., & Slater, P. (2021).The Effect of Occupational Stress and Coping Strategies on Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being among University Academic Staff during the COVID-19 Outbreak. International Education Studies, 14(3), 82-95.

Van Vugt, M., & von Rueden, C. R. (2020). From genes to minds to cultures: Evolutionary approaches to leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 31(2), 101404.

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