(Exercise one omitted for preview. Available via download)
1. I have had both positive and negative experiences with leadership. My positive experience happened when working on a group project in school. We all had the same goal in mind, which helped with differences in opinions. Being a leader in this environment was very easy going. We all acknowledged each other’s thoughts and recognized there was a clear way to go about the project. In this case being a leader was more about keeping people focused on the project at hand. This proved to be an easy task because we were not competing with each other.
On the other hand, I have experienced negative aspects of leadership as well. Being put into groups in college does not always lead to the most easy going atmosphere. Typically you all do not know each other, and there is bound to be different types of personalities. I was assigned to a group of four to complete a research paper of our choice. Picking the topic was hard enough, but we eventually came to an agreement. After we started working on the project it was clear that there needed to be a leader to step up and focus the group. As soon as I stepped up, another group member did as well. It was like a competition for them. It made things very difficult for me. Everything that I would suggest they would shut down. It made me not want to participate in the group anymore. This caused me to have a negative prospective on groups and leadership.
2. My personal definition of leadership is as follows: having the ability to guide a group to a specific outcome. Also, having the best interest of the group in mind at all times.
3. Through experiences in my past, mostly with school, family, and sports, I came to understand my definition of leadership. As a child I looked up to my parents as leaders. When I was in school I learned that leadership was a good quality to have. Through interactions with group projects and school activities I started to see leadership as the quality to guide people to a specific decision or end goal. Then, playing sports showed me what leadership within a large group was like. The coach had to demonstrate leadership in order for all of us to listen to them and respect them. Through those interactions I developed my own personal idea of leadership.
4. Like number 3, I developed my idea of leadership with the influence of my parents, schoolmates, and coaches. My parents and coaches were both authority figures to me. This made their leadership qualities easier to identify. My schoolmates gradually influenced my definition of leadership over the course of group projects, and maturity.
My assumptions are that people in authority should be leaders, and show leadership qualities. Different personalities can clash and cause a problem with leadership. I assume that leadership goes hand in hand with the ability to guide a group to a common decision. Assuming there is a correct decision to come to. Mostly other people influence my assumptions, and past experiences I have had.
It is always a possibility for people to see situations differently from me. It is possible that the person who I described in my negative experience with leadership may have seen the situation in a different way than I did.
1. I think Hitler is a great example of how people who cause harm can still be leaders. Any leader of a country who is involved in a war of any kind causes harm to others, and is still considered a leader. Hitler was, and still is considered a leader because he had a long line of people who believed in what he believed in. One of the components of leadership involves having a following, regardless of the type of following. He was able to speak in a way that demanded others to listen to him. Although his beliefs were extremely wrong, he still led others to follow him.
2. Leaders should not need to have specific qualities to lead. If leaders all had to have a specific set of qualities in order to lead a group, not all groups would be successful. Instead, all leaders should possess the qualities that their group needs. Each group will need different qualities in their leaders to be successful. These qualities that are needed will be decided on depending on the group.
3. The group ultimately decides who the leader is. Sometimes there is a vote, and sometimes there is not. When there is no verbal acknowledgement, such as a vote, there will still be a decision made. People like to have direction within a group. Groups are often comprised of different personalities. These different personalities tend to include leaders and followers. These differences in personalities often lead to a decision of who the leader is on their own. The actions of the members within the group will still come to a common decision of who the leader is. Groups do not run smoothly without some sort of leader.
4. Leaders gain credibility through their actions within the group. Credibility is not just given to someone because they are leading the group. Leaders will be challenged until they prove they deserve the position. Leadership credibility can be achieved through many different actions. Someone who shows honesty and integrity within the group will have more credibility than someone who does not. Personal characteristics also help in giving leader credibility. Someone who is known to possess positive qualities such as loyalty and respectfulness will have an easier time gaining credibility compared to someone who is not known for their personal qualities.
5. In general, there is something good about leadership. Leadership can help to direct a group to an end result. Leadership is also good because it takes good qualities within a person to have leadership abilities. Without leadership many things would not be completed. Leadership helps to keep groups focused and helps to make decisions.
6. I think the purpose of leadership is to ultimately complete a task, or for guidance. Leaders should have the groups common interest in mind at all times. Leaders tend to keep people focused and don’t show favoritism to anyone within the group. Leadership is a quality that people trust and are willing to follow. Without leadership there would be a loss of guidance within groups. Ultimately people within a group are looking for guidance. Groups want to reach a common goal, and leaders make it easier for that to be accomplished.
7. Leadership behavior is developed thought personal experiences. Although we may be told what leadership is supposed to be, our leadership behavior is learned though our own experiences. We learn from our parents at a young age what leadership is. Teachers are also another group of people we look up to as leaders at a young age. We have role models that we look up to and learn from as well. We also learn from the groups we are put into through school and other organizations. It is through all of these personal experiences that we develop our own behavior towards leadership.
1. Leaders have a following of people with the same beliefs as they do, regardless if their beliefs are right or wrong.
2. Leaders do not need certain qualities to lead, but they do need to fit the group’s needs.
3. Groups need leaders, and the members of the group choose who the leader is.
4. Personal characteristics and actions within a group give the leader credibility.
5. In general, leadership is good because it helps guide a group to complete a task, and it takes positive personal traits to have leadership abilities.
6. The purpose of leadership is ultimately guidance. Leadership helps a group come to an end result without favoritism, and is for the groups greater good.
7. Leadership behavior is developed at a young age through our own personal experiences.
(Exercise four omitted for preview. Available via download)