My leadership role began at the early age of 20. I embarked on my journey without the benefit of a formal training process, and I learned by trial and error through each situation I encountered.
Due to my age and also being the youngest member of my family, I was aware of the difficulty I would experience in gaining the respect of others. I was especially wary of those individuals that were more experienced than I. So, I approached leadership with hard work and dedication, something my parents showed my brothers and me daily.
Over many years, and working with a variety of team members and personalities, I have learned many valuable leadership lessons. Upon reflection, I can see how my leadership style has evolved over time.
As I gained experience and confidence in my own abilities, I transitioned from what I thought I needed to be as a leader to finally feeling comfortable in my own skin.
I was finally able to feel confident in my decisions based on my intuition and gut instinct. That foundation allowed me to draw on past experiences and make routine and even critical decisions using a similar thought process.
At this point in my career, I would consider my leadership style to be transformational. Transformational leaders tend to focus on followers by motivating them to higher levels of performance, and in the process, help followers develop their own leadership potential.
According to Psychology Today, there are 4 components to transformational leadership, sometimes referred to as the 4 I’s:
Idealized Influence (II) – the leader serves as an ideal role model for followers; the leader “walks the talk”.
I intentionally aim to set an example and never ask those I lead to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself.
Inspirational Motivation (IM) – Transformational leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate followers.
I work to inspire individuals to see for themselves the potential they have within.
Individualized Consideration (IC) – Transformational leaders show genuine concern for the needs and feelings of followers.
I tend to share my genuine concern for those I lead; I care about people and their thoughts. My office knows I have an open door for anyone at anytime to discuss what they have on their mind. I may have a million different challenges and objectives in my mind, but I do my best to set that aside and focus on them.
Intellectual Stimulation (IS) – the leader challenges followers to be innovative and creative.
I always encourage those I lead to strive to be their best. I never have a concern because someone knows more than I do. Confident leaders recognize the strengths of each individual on a team. They put them in the right seat and get out of the way to let them grow.
One of the largest factors in my success as a leader is to never stop learning myself. I will never reach a point where I think I have learned all there is to know. Because of this I stay curious and challenged.
My greatest strength as a leader is emotional intelligence. I use my senses to determine which direction I need to take in every situation.
Through the years of developing my leadership style, I would say my greatest reward is to see individuals reach their full potential. There is no better feeling than to see the growth of a person first hand and to know that you had a small part in it.
In my future, I would love to expand my reach a little more and pursue more mentoring opportunities.