Understanding the leadership characteristics of good leaders in real organizations can help in the improvement of the performance of one’s leadership. In this project, we worked in a group of three students to evaluate the characteristics of effective leadership in a real-life setting. We decided to study the leadership of an individual contributor. When people speak of leadership, they often connect it with managerial roles. In this presentation, one will be able to notice the contribution of individual contributors as leaders. We chose personal mastery and purpose mastery to help with this project. The presentation aims to understand how individual contributors are self-aware to achieve a considerable level of personal mastery and how they understand their purpose as individuals and as leaders.
Explain a relevant leadership theory through the use of a unique graphic or verbal metaphor.
With his ‘whole-person’ approach, Cashman (2016) integrates seven interrelated pathways to leadership: Personal Mastery, Purpose Mastery, Change Mastery, Interpersonal Mastery, Being Mastery, Resilience Mastery, and Action Mastery. Cashman helps connect personal growth to leadership effectiveness through insightful stories, real-life examples, and practical exercises. The two main areas of focus in the interviews were personal mastery and purpose mastery.
One of the essential components of successful leadership at all levels is personal mastery. Personal mastery is a journey of self-awareness. People need to understand their personality traits and how they contribute to their leadership effectiveness. Personal mastery is not a simple process of recognizing one’s strengths and ignoring the weaknesses. It involves the ability to recognize the strengths and the weaknesses so that one can reinforce the strengths while working on improving the weaknesses to improve their leadership effectiveness (Cashman, 2017). Courageous and self-aware leaders can develop a strong foundation for handling leadership challenges and developing better strategies for leading others.
The other theory of focus in this project was purpose mastery. Having a purpose is essential for enhancing performance. Purpose mastery elevates leaders to focus not only on the short-term gains, but also the long-term success. It energizes workforces to have a goal and objective that is deeper than just the financial gain they can get from their work. The embodiment of a purpose helps to develop the values and traits that enhance the development of talent, thus, enhancing performance.
Summarize the findings from the interviews in such a way as to illustrate general themes and best practices.
Each member of the group had a chance to interview two individual contributors from different organizations. In total, some insight from six individual contributors was gathered for this presentation. The following is a summary of the interviews with these leaders.
Leanna worked in a medical office many years ago and was trained on the job in the office as a medical assistant. She is not certified in medical assisting and did not attend any type of formal school to learn this. She chooses to work in health care because she likes helping people and wants to give people the care that she would want to receive as a patient. She is currently my office manager and does not do medical assisting unless when short-staffed in the office.
During the day, Leanna is upfront with the girls who check in and check out patients. She is available for any questions on billing, co-pays, scheduling, procedures, and pretty much anything else we need. She often answers the phone because it rings all day long, and the other girls may already be on the phone or with a client, in addition to contacting insurance companies and labs for any issues we may be having. She oversees employees and their schedules, as well as the office schedules and schedules of the physicians. Leanna is inspired by her husband, her daughter, and her two grandsons. She wants to be able to provide for her family, and she enjoys working during the day.
Leanna states that we, her co-workers, would probably tell her that she tries to take on too much at one time. She is always trying to help everyone else and still manages to do all her own work. Leanna states her mother plays the biggest part in her becoming a leader. She states that she was always a hard worker and still managed to care for the home and the kids. She said she was her role model, and she would not be where she was today without her.
The obstacles Leanna encounters during the day are patient complaints, billing issues, and staffing issues. There are not many employees, so when someone is out, we are pulled tight. Leanna herself normally ends up filling in for any employee that is out. She addresses patient complaints, tries to solve the issues, and takes care of the patient. Leanna routinely calls insurance companies and labs when dealing with billing issues and tries to solve them.
In ten years, Leanna hopes to be retired and traveling with her husband. She intends on working here for a few more years before that happens. Leanna’s advice is to keep working on my education and not let anyone get in my way. She says hard work pays off, so to just keep doing what I am doing and continue helping others and being compassionate.
Another interview was with Megan. Megan is a physician’s assistant. She is a provider in the office and sees patients three days per week. She knew she wanted to take care of patients but did not have it in her to go to school for as long as it took to become a physician. She likes her job and enjoys her patients and working part-time. She has a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee. A typical day for her in the office is seeing new and established obstetric or gynecological patients. She performs physicals, exams, and consultations. She reviews patient history and orders many tests, such as labs, mammograms, and diagnostic testing.
Megan is inspired by her two children. They motivate her to be successful. She enjoys working part-time so that she can be at home with her family the rest of the time. She also is inspired by her patients. Her main goal is to serve and help others. She wants to make a difference.
Megan states that co-workers would tell her that she is slow and gets behind a lot during the clinic. Megan states this is because she is extra thorough with her patients and her charting. Megan states her father is her role model, and he is the reason she is the leader she is today. However, she states that she does not consider herself a leader. Her father was a dentist and was very successful in his career.
Megan encounters several obstacles throughout her day. Most of the time, it is signs or symptoms that a patient comes into the office with. She also gets many patient phone calls, and if patients are late, then that also puts her behind during the day. She says she tries not to let any of the above influence her day. She just keeps moving on at her own pace and tries to give her patients the best care possible. Megan has been at the office for six years and enjoys ob/gyn. She is not sure where she will be in the next ten years but hopes to continue working part-time only so she can be with her kids, as her husband is out of town a lot. She would not mind still being at this office for ten years. She has no desire to go back to school or try and do anything else.
Megan’s advice for me is to finish my bachelor’s degree and figure out what I want to do. She says if I decide to pursue a master’s degree, she recommends knowing what I want to get it in and what I would want to do with it because once it is completed, that is pretty much the career you will have long-term.
The first interview I did was with Mark Brown. We had a conversation about his job, how he managed to perform the role effectively, and his career goals. Mark was very friendly and open throughout the interview. He stated that he believes his contribution is important to the organization. He, however, does not look at his role as that of leadership. He stated, “I believe I make an important contribution to this organization, but I am not a leader. I report to my superiors and do not have people reporting to me; thus, I do not believe this makes me a leader.” He said that he does not believe he needs to hold a leadership position to be important to the success of the organization he works for. Another thing noted in the interview with Mark is that he had great interpersonal skills. He is a very good communicator and good and getting his points across. When asked about his interaction with workmates, he said that communication and collaboration are essential to his job role. He goes around the organization and interacts with people to identify any possible problems they may be experiencing with the company’s systems and helps to fix issues. He stated, “I have to listen to the concerns of all other employees, leaders, and department heads and constantly ask them if the systems are working efficiently so that I can know what to improve and how to make those improvements.” This interview also demonstrated that this job role requires a lot of intelligence. Mark is a good critical thinker and decision-maker. He has developed these skills through education and also practices in the workplace and social environments. Lastly, he is hardworking and dedicated. He believes his efforts will help him succeed in his future endeavors. He plans on advancing to be a senior IT Director in the future.
The second interview was with Lydia, the facilities manager. Lydia demonstrated some great leadership characteristics in an open conversation where she could freely share her information; also, she was very open about her journey to becoming the facilities manager. She started in a lower role as just a clerk and worked hard to get to the position she is in now. One of the strategies she used to get there was networking. She stated that her interpersonal skills have been very helpful in advancing her role. She was always looking to join different teams where she could get a chance to learn new things that could advance her career. She also stated that she has been able to advance her roles through good planning. She always has a planner to determine the steps she must take to achieve a certain goal. She stated that she believes in using the SMART goals concept to set standards that she can achieve. Lydia’s personal values have also contributed to her success. She believes in determination and resilience. She has faced many obstacles on her path to the achievement of her goals, but her resilience has enabled her to remain on the right track. She would like to become a manager of an entire organization one day.
Provide recommendations for enhancing leadership mastery at a specific level of leadership.
There is a lot that leaders can learn from the feedback gathered above from individual contributors. First, leaders must ensure that they perform constant self-assessment. The first thing a person needs to do to achieve mastery is to evaluate themselves and determine their strengths and weaknesses. There are various ways that leaders can self-assess. For example, there are numerous self-assessment tests that can be done to determine a person’s dominant traits (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). They can also learn from experiences and learn to take feedback positively. The importance of self-assessment can be seen in the leaders who have been interviewed in this project. For example, Mark has demonstrated the importance of understanding his current role in the development of a future career. He stated that he now dwells on developing his skills through interaction with others to achieve better skills to be an IT manager someday. Other individual contributors can follow the same path by understanding themselves now to develop a better future.
Another recommended strategy for individual contributors to improve their leadership mastery is developing goals. Purpose mastery is developed when a person has a sense of direction. Setting both short-term and long-term goals is important for a leader to master their purpose. Like the leaders in this interview, they need to understand the ultimate goal they are working towards. For instance, Lydia stated that she relies greatly on developing SMART goals, which she can easily work on and fulfil to develop a better future. Meagan also stated that she would like to pursue a Master’s degree so that she can finally develop her career from just being a physician’s assistant. It is important to know what they hope to achieve at the end of the effort they make currently (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). Understanding one’s purpose shapes the traits and behaviors one expresses currently. A person with a goal to work on is likely to work harder because they understand how it contributes to their ultimate goal.
It is also recommended that individuals enhance their teamwork and collaboration skills. Collaborative working has been seen to enhance the effectiveness of leadership at the individual level. People are able to work better when they share responsibility with their peers in the workplace. People in the organization complement each other’s roles. By working together, they help one another to achieve their purpose. Communication is essential in a collaborative working environment (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). In this project, almost all interviewees demonstrated that collaboration played an important role in their success. Leanna stated that she works with her teammates so much that sometimes they ask her to tone it down. This is because she understands the importance of working closely with her team to achieve success. Through open and effective communication, people are able to share information about the job, reduce misunderstanding and conflict, and be stronger at achieving their ultimate goals in the organization.
Discuss the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and Thinking Habits to the interview findings.
Certain components of leadership are essential for the successful management of businesses today. The new realities of business in the 21st century and the thinking habits of mind, heart, and imagination list some of the components that can enhance leadership in the contemporary business environment. The leaders interviewed for this project have demonstrated some of the characteristics of new business realities and thinking habits.
One of the characteristics embodied by leaders is collaborative teamwork. Collaborative teamwork is the habit of collaborating with teams to achieve a common goal. Collaborative teamwork is enhanced by communication and taking responsibility and initiative to cooperate meaningfully with others (Jaisle, 2000). These characteristics can be seen in most of the leaders interviewed. They all acknowledged that communication is essential to the role they play.
Another characteristic demonstrated by these leaders is communicating effectively. Effective communication is essential for successful leadership. This involves the use of both words and metaphorical language to influence people’s understanding and perception of factors that affect work (Jaisle, 2000). The leaders interviewed demonstrated an understanding of effective communication. They both communicate effectively with their peers in the workplace environment to enhance the effectiveness of their job roles. Therefore, these leaders show that communication is essential, even on the individual level of leadership. It is not only managers or leaders in a position of power who are required to be open in their communication to enhance productivity.
The leaders also embody the component of continuous learning. Continuous learning is the ability to see every experience as an opportunity for knowledge development (Jaisle, 2000). Leaders who engage in continuous learning are intentional with their actions. They tend to learn from their failures and take their successes with humility as a stepping stone towards the achievement of their greater role. Most of the leaders in this interview expressed an intention to advance their roles in the future. They viewed their current responsibilities as a step towards becoming the people they want to be in the future. This shows that they are using their current roles as opportunities to gain knowledge and experience to qualify for bigger future roles. Another characteristic evident in the interviews is caring empathy. Most interviewees answered with empathy; they truly cared about their workers and could see how their workers viewed the world. They also showed continuous learning with their answers, especially how they both talked about education, being a role model, and being willing to let their workers learn new things.
Reflections on the Team Process
Working on this group project has been a great learning opportunity for communication and collaboration. The involvement of every team member facilitated the success of this project. Each member made important contributions that enabled learning on issues affecting leadership in an organization. However, there have also been some significant challenges affecting team cohesion. The good thing about this team was that every member was very good at their communication. Each member was freely sharing information on what they believed should be included in the project. The team members were also ready to share what they had individually developed in time, to facilitate the development of the project. We all found that sharing information facilitated collaboration and made every member satisfied with what we were collectively developing. However, we experienced challenges with conflict. Being different individuals, every member has their own perspective on things. As a result, we had a few disagreements that threatened the success of our project. However, we used our conflict management skills to ensure that we found common ground. In the end, we achieved success.
Cashman, K. (2017). Leadership from the inside out: Becoming a Leader for Life. (3rd ed). San Francisco, CA: Berret-Koehler
Thinking Habits of the Mind, Heart, and Imagination. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://courseroom.capella.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/BUS/BUS4012/180700/Course_Files/thinking habits.html
Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. B. (2014). Quality management for organizational excellence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
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Unit 8 Assignment 1 – Team Project
Write a draft of your Team Project. Be sure to follow the directions in the Team Project course project description. This description includes the specific guidelines for the project and the criteria for evaluation.
Course Project 2
You have completed your personal report of leadership interviews on a mastery topic at a specific leadership level, and now you will have the opportunity to make a joint presentation with several other learners at the Organization Development Network Conference on leadership. The network is interested in your combined findings on your mastery topic at the leadership level. As a member of the presentation committee, you are expected to pool your experiences with those of other learners to develop a report and slide presentation for the next conference. Your presentation should cover leadership theory, summary findings from leader interviews, and recommendations for leaders of the twenty-first century. (Of course, this is a fictitious conference to offer an opportunity for putting your learning to practice.)
Purpose of the Team Project
- Experience the process of working together as a team through virtual communication methods to achieve a common goal as members of a committee on leadership.
- Integrate multiple perspectives of team members into a collaborative report of theory, findings, and recommendations for leadership development using the material you have learned throughout the course.
- Relate real-world leadership development to the common learning themes of The New Business Realitiesand The Thinking Habits of Mind, Heart, and Imagination.
- Write a 7–14 page team paper and prepare a 7–12 slide PowerPoint team presentation using the interviews prepared in the personal projects to illustrate major points and to demonstrate understanding of leadership and organizations.
Outline of Process and Content
The following guidance will help you understand the expectations for the team project and make it easier to share your findings. We hope it enriches your learning experience.
- Your instructor will assign teams by week 2 so that you may begin to work together to prepare your paper and your PowerPoint presentation.
- You will use the team draft from Unit 8 to build your paper and your presentation. Share ideas and information that will help you develop one final paper and presentation as a team.
- As you search for and review articles and websites on leadership theory and practices, you will be jointly building a knowledge base for extending the concepts and applications of leadership in organizations.
- Prepare the PowerPoint presentation to highlight the major points you make in your paper. Think of it as a way to persuade the audience to your ideas about leadership and organizations.
Note: After successfully completing this team project you may wish to actually give the paper and presentation to a professional audience in your organization to demonstrate your development.
The outline and content of the paper and presentation should include the following:
- Review of the relevant theory of the New Sciences to leadership. As a team, deliberate on the theory to write about and present to the audience. Make judgment calls on the needs of the audience, the setting, and what theory seems appropriate, giving the reasons for the theory presented by the team. The important part of the challenge for the presentation is to provide a powerful metaphor to help the conference audience understand and remember the relevant theory. Examples of graphic metaphors include the Cashman textbook use of the circle diagram of mastery topics and the comparison of fractals to broccoli shape as an example of self-referencing. The team is expected to invent its own unique metaphor to explain the theory you select to present. Note:The definition of metaphor is using a graphic or verbal image of something familiar to the audience to explain an unfamiliar thing or process.
- Teamwork interview summary findings. Present summary findings from your interviews, using the best stories and quotes from all your interviews to illustrate general themes that support your theory discussion. Synthesize what seemed to be best practices at this (or these) level(s) of leadership.
- Recommendations for enhancing leadership mastery at your chosen level of leadership. Provide the recommendations from your committee in a way that is practical, justified, memorable, and actionable for your audience of professionals at the conference. Remember to include some of your best quotes and stories and show how your recommendations help leaders develop. Include models that illustrate the conditions that help leaders grow. You may choose to draw upon the appreciative inquiry stories that you worked on individually in a previous unit.
- Common themes for a twenty-first century professional. In a separate section, discuss how The New Business Realitiesand The Thinking Habits of Mind, Heart and Imaginationare reflected in the leadership interview findings. Select two Business Realities and two of The Thinking Habits of Mind, Heart and Imagination to discuss.
- Reflections on Team Process.Include a thoughtful discussion and evaluation of the experience of working on this leadership committee. Discuss the best and most affirming aspects of the teamwork experience and what conditions supported these experiences. Discuss the unexpected surprises that occurred and what the committee learned from them.
- Resources. To learn more, include a resources section containing a selection of information and knowledge resources (books, article, Web pages, and organizations) that are the most important resources the committee recommends to leaders in the twenty-first century.
- Prepare a separate paper (Microsoft Word) and related presentation (using Microsoft PowerPoint). The purpose of the paper is to provide a coherent, integrated, and well-reasoned explanation of the report from the committee on leadership development. The purpose of the presentation is to gain the experience of preparing a presentation that graphically communicates the summary findings of the committee to the annual meeting of the Organization Development Network.
- Paper Details. The final paper is 7–14 pages in length, double spaced and in a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial. You must use 12-point type and margins of 1 inch on each side. A title page, table of contents, and reference page are also required and do not count toward the paper length. Use APA guidelines for citing references.
- Make sure your writing is well-organized and clear. Writing structure, spelling, and grammar need to be correct as well.
To successfully complete this project, you will be expected to:
- Prepare a team project using data from individual personal projects to construct and share knowledge.
- Provide suggestions for leadership development.
- Examine the application of the personal characteristics of effective leaders at different organizational levels.
- Describe how effective leadership in organizations relates and embodies the Thinking Habits of Mind, Heart, and Imagination. Examine how leadership theory and practices help you as a business professional deal with The New Business Realities.
Team Project Scoring Guide
Due Date: End of Unit 8.
Percentage of Course Grade: 10%.
|Explain a relevant leadership theory through the use of a unique graphic or verbal metaphor.
|Does not explain a relevant leadership theory.||Explains a relevant leadership theory without using a unique graphic or verbal metaphor.||Explains a leadership theory using a unique graphic or verbal metaphor.||Fully explains a relevant leadership theory using a unique graphic or verbal metaphor.|
|Summarize the findings from the interviews in such a way as to illustrate general themes and best practices.
|Fails to summarize the findings from the interviews.||Summarizes the findings from the interviews but does not support general themes or best practices.||Summarizes the findings from the interviews in such a way as to illustrate general themes and best practices.||Effectively summarizes the findings from the interviews in such a way as to directly illustrate general themes and best practices.|
|Provide recommendations for enhancing leadership mastery at a specific level of leadership.
|Does not provide recommendations.||Provides recommendations but fails to address specific areas.||Provides recommendations for enhancing leadership mastery at a specific level of leadership.||Provides recommendations for enhancing leadership mastery at a specific level of leadership and provides evidence to support those recommendations.|
|Discuss the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and Thinking Habits to the interview findings.
|Does not discuss the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and Thinking Habits to the interview findings.||Discusses the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and Thinking Habits to the interview findings but important links from concept to relevance are missing.||Discusses the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and The Thinking Habits and applies them adequately to the interview findings.||Describes and analyzes the relevance of the concepts from New Business Realities and The Thinking Habits and applies them directly to the interview findings.|
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