1. A time you experienced /demonstrated Leadership

Leadership is a competency that many people desire (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2017). For a long time, I thought that a leader’s all-time responsibility was to tell others what needs to be done. This belief only changed after I got the task of organising a study group and realized that leadership is about staying hyper-observant and taking all the steps that will enable attainment of set objectives. As Khosshal and Guraya argued, leadership demands the ability to establish a plan and motivate the concerned persons to invest their efforts into activities that enable attainment the pre-set goals. Moreover, a leader should do everything possible to ensure that ordinary people, who they lead, gain the ability to reach extraordinary accomplishments. 

The role required that I dedicate at least five hours every week to coordinate the study process, tracking and reporting on group performance, and submitting questions that arise in the course of group discussions to the various instructors. Indeed, the growth of personal abilities (or leadership development) enables individuals to perform their roles and processes more effectively (Kjellström, Stålne, & Törnblom, 2020). With time, I learned to collaborate with other study group organisers to find out how they conducted tasks in their groups and we would at times help each other solve the problems encountered in their various groups. Consequently, our group performance improved and more members joined. I, therefore, agree with Khoshhal and Guraya (2017) that leadership is the outcome of experience, learning, and relevant development. Besides, the leadership development processes served as a means for attaining “greater good” (Kjellström, Stålne, & Törnblom, 2020, p.1062) shows itself in the nature of long-term performance

Again, classroom presentations became more interesting than before the establishment of active relationships with other leaders and establishing effective communication with group members. The group leadership role moulded me into a very organised and punctual leader. I would assist with preparation of presentation preparations, one to two days before the class and rehearse them to develop confidence. Such early preparations improved my content delivery capabilities and enabled me to respond satisfactorily to any questions that my audiences raised. I agree with Baker (2014) that leadership skills should be blended with attributes such as care, humility, and gratitude. 

During the group’s first meeting, we discussed the group’s needs and stated the objectives. In all my operations, I considered approaches that would boost and enable the attainment of individual needs and group objectives. Among the many lessons I learned during the time is the understanding that a leader’s role is to support others but they must be observant enough to identify areas that require their active involvement. In other words, a leader should create a vision and motivate others to attain the same (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2017). Again, I learned that a leader must always target something above average. Whether forcefully or voluntarily, leaders must acquire the appropriate skills to succeed in their career. In particular, Baker (2014) stated that the leaders should understand the operational tactics, strategy, and objectives. 

2. Leadership and Change

GELE is a mobile devices manufacturing company in which a got an internship placement. Two years ago, the firm launched a new mobile device called GAG. Although GAG had a unique design, its features resembled those of the firm’s previous models. As a result, the device could not attract more sales for the company. So, Mr. Arken Keyi, the chief executive officer (CEO), instructed the marketing department to develop a survey in which they will inquire customers’ opinion about GAG. Survey questions aimed to find out why the customers liked or did not like the mobile device. A major factor that the marketing department noted throughout its analysis was that customers felt that the new device added no value to them. Some customers, especially the ones that already bought the product, also said that even the design was not good enough. After reading through the report presented by the marketers, Mr. Keyi decided that the device had to be reinvented. I was part of the team that worked closely with the CEO to redesign the GAG and incorporate virtual augmented reality.

From this experience, I learned that change is inevitable and that embracing change may increase a company’s sales and profitability. It is true, therefore, that a firm’s survival is determined by innovation, change, and sustained excellence (Bligh, Kohles, & Yan, 2018). While working with the firm’s head, I realised that when leading the internal or external change the leader prioritises the firm’s survival and attainment of sustainable competitive advantage. In other words, I understand that effective change management empowers an organisation to address business obstacles and expand through transformation of resources.

For this reason, effective change management requires the guidance of a skilled leader who embraces the change and shows others how to handle the transformations. This is why leadership remains a primary factor in the process of devising and conducting transformation successfully (Yasir, Imran, Mohamed, & Khan, 2016). Leadership expands a firm’s capacity through its effectiveness and trustworthiness. I also understood that it is not possible to predict all changes and that flexibility and preparedness to identify and act on the need for change is what makes someone an effective change leader.

Based on the steps we followed to redesign GAG, I observed that the first thing that an effective leader does is to develop a detailed plan that discusses the need for change, the effect of such transformations of the firm’s staff, and the expected outcome. An effective change leader establishes a vision that is clear enough to enable participants visualize the actual changes and their effect on the firm. When this happens, people get motivated and invest their efforts to ensure attainment of the same. Additionally, I saw that the role of a change leader is to develop the vision and communicate ensuring that each level of the organization is represented. Similar to Bligh et al. (2018) perspective, the CEO explained that everyone had to be included in the change process to establish an increasingly positive attitude towards error learning.

3. How the Unit’s learning will inform my future leadership and/or change management practice

The unit defines styles of leadershipvisualize enabling the identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the various leadership forms. It, thus, provides an opportunity to select the leadership type that is suitable for the different organisational contexts that I will come across in my career. As Hao and Yazdanifard (2015) explained, a leader has the authority to influence or transform other people’s behaviours, values, and perceptions. Solid leadership features increase the ability of an individual to meet attractive attainments as well as employee trust and admiration, which empower a leader’s relationship with the employees. When this happens, the employees are more likely to mimic the leader thereby changing their previously held beliefs, values, and even behaviour (Khoshhal & Guraya, 2017).

Moreover, the unit explains the most appropriate ways to collaborate with others as a leader and the benefitsof cooperation. Hao and Yazdanifard (2015) argued that strong leadership skills enables a leader to easily yet effectively direct employees’ attention towards tasks that promote fulfilment of the organisation’s goals and objectives. In other words, effective leaders promote employees’ personal and group commitment to encourage productivity and focus on what matters to the company (Yasir et al., 2016). Such is attained through employee motivation and maintenance of effective communication between the leaders and a company’s employees.  Bligh et al. (2018) argued that a leader with solid leadership capabilities will ensure that the position each employee holds is good enough to encourage job commitment and exploitation of personal talents. 

While providing me an opportunity to learn, the unit contents also allow me to practice the leadership skills I learn in the classroom. Consequently, I continually challenge the prior knowledge and understanding I held regarding the components of leadership. This is particularly important because Hao and Yazdanifard (2015) reported that leadership approaches should change in accordance with the prevailing conditions and trends. Through topics such as theories of leadership development, motivation, followership, excellence of performance, group dynamics, conflict resolution, change process, etc., the unit enlightens me on the application of these contents within real leadership contexts and conditions. 

The unit also enhances my ability to observe, recognize, assess, and adopt new leadership behavior through classroom procedures like reading, group discussions, case studies, and self-discovery. The unit is founded on the assumption that the students will, in fact, encounter a number of challenges in their leadership roles and, therefore, focuses on equipping learners with skills that will enable them to solve the expected issues. For instance, every organization seeks opportunities for attaining competitive advantage and change management is one of the ways. 

Even then, the process of implementing change has to very effective for the company to reap the desired benefits. Hao and Yazdanifard (2015) stated that change implementation process consists of 3 phases. First, the leader has to determine employees’ readiness for change adoption and possibility that they will commit to the transformations. Next, the change has to be controlled and be incorporated in the daily routines. The third phase requires change management and adaptability into various daily activities.