"Am I a Leader?"

Leadership is a popular topic in today's media, especially when leaders fail from a legal or moral perspective. It brings to mind a question; "What kind of leader am I?” The role can be demonstrated in many situations ranging from large corporations to neighborhood associations. The kind of leadership that we exhibit will depend on several factors: what the circumstance calls for, what strengths we bring to the role, and what our definition of leadership is. My personal definition of leadership is simple: a leader knows what should be done and a manager knows how it should be done. What is your definition?
By Charlotte R. Farrior, founder of The Coaching Connection

"Leaders and Followers"

Much has been written about the way leaders lead. What becomes apparent when reviewing the evidence is that each leader has a unique leadership style. What is also true is that there are several general qualities that leader share. One of these qualities is that most leaders initiate and most followers react.

The following are some clear examples of the difference.

  • Leaders lead; pick up the phone and make contact.
  • Followers listen; wait for the phone to ring.
  • Leaders spend time planning; anticipate problems.
  • Followers spend time living day-to-day reacting to problems.
  • Leaders invest time with people.
  • Followers spend time with people.
  • Leaders fill the calendar by priorities.
  • Followers fill the calendar by requests.
  • Adapted from Leadership 101 by John Maxwell

"Do I Have What It Takes- A Self-Assessment"

The following skills have been identified as important to leadership. Use the scale to rate your skill level. You may wish to ask a trusted colleague or friend to complete the same assessment on you. A comparison of the two should yield insight on where to concentrate skill development.
Rating Guide (5 point scale) - 1-Feel awkward when I do this 2-Somewhat awkward 3-Usually practice this skill 4-Most often practice this skill 5 Comfortable and competent

  1. I listen actively to colleagues and those with whom I work; I hear their words and their feelings.______

  2. I maintain an open, warm relationship with others, encouraging them with praise and genuine respect of their views and feelings.______

  3. I provide others with clear feedback, reinforcing positive contributions, clarifying and confronting, as is helpful.______

  4. I elicit information and ideas by asking open-ended questions.______

  5. I mediate for others, helping them find and reinforce the common ground on which solutions can be built.______

  6. I facilitate interpersonal and group relationships, teaching by example and by making these relationships visible I provide both knowledge and skills about productive behavior.______

  7. I help groups maintain discipline and direction toward achievement, while suggesting ways in which all members of a group can participate.______

If you have asked a colleague of friend to complete an assessment, first compare the score for each question for discrepancies between what you feel is your skill level and the assessment offered by your colleague. What was most surprising to you? Review these and underline two or three areas on which you would like to focus. Use these as a basis for writing a personal development plan and track your progress.

Adapted from University of Vermont- New England Regional Leadership Program

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