Write a reflective essay in 1000 words on a person, historical
or current, that you consider to be a leader. In the reflective
essay you must do more than relate their story, you must clearly
identify what, according to you, makes them a successful
leader. You must refer to ideas covered in the textbook to
provide a reference point for your reflections. For example is it:
their personality, leadership style, leadership traits, their
creativity, their situation, their ethical approach or a combination
of these factors or other factors? You must refer to ideas
covered in the textbook to provide a reference point for your
For this assessment, you are to compile a 4,000 word Leadership Portfolio. This assessment
provides an opportunity for you to develop and explore your understanding about, and readiness
for, leadership. In each of the relevant chapters in the text (Chapters 1-6, 12 and 14), there are
Leadership Skill Building exercises in relation to a leadership portfolio. Complete the tasks as
required and compile your responses to these tasks into a Leadership Portfolio. You will find the
tasks on pages 23, 68, 104, 141, 175, 205, 415, and 479.
Part-1- Reflective Essay
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Leadership is not taught, it is there since birth or develops gradually from learning either from people around you or from studies, circumstances, need etc. It is one of the characteristics of a person that is not present in all. Leadership is the act of taking charge of a group of people in your hand and showing them the right path or taking then with you to achieve the vision you have seen. The world has seen many leaders and leadership examples in different era which is countless. We can’t measure or compare leadership as some we noticed and came to know about while some remained in the history without any such attention by people. A leader is not restricted to battleground or sports or politics, it can be in art, science, music etc. Each leader might have different approach, but one thing is common in all which is “leading from front” or “setting an example for other”. Here I am going to talk about a leader who displayed leadership not in battleground nor in a sports but to protect and fight for the right of his community people. He is one of the greatest freedom fighter, politician, community leader, activist, philanthropist and lawyer by profession whom we know as “Nelson Mandela-the first South-Africa president”. [Northouse, P. G. (2018).]
Nelson Mandela was born in 1918 in Mvezo to a Thembu royal family duringBritish rule. He studied law at University of Fort Hare and University of Witwatersrand before started his career as Lawyer in Johannesburg. The leadership attribute found within him when he engaged himself in anti-colonial, anti-apartheid, anti-racism and freedom movement he took despite he was from a royal family who could have lived his life without doing these things. This is what a true leader does i.e. not thinking about self but for others.
Here are the 7 successful leadership attribute that made Nelson Mandela, a world-class leader.
Self-Sacrifice- He spent his 27 important years i.e. the youth and middle age phase which are considered to be the productive phase in prison on Robben Island. He was engaged in hammering rocks under scorching sun and spent his rest time in a 8/7 foot concrete cell with only a straw mat to sleep. He didn’t get such punishment for any murder or stealing or any such legal abuse but for the movements he carried though out the life to give rights, freedom and justice for the African people who had been treated as slaves for more than 2 centuries. When the government (British) set him free, he denied it and said that his freedom and his people’s freedom can’t be separated.
Compassion- It is easy to forgive a stranger or a friend but it is almost impossible to forgive a rival. He forgave Apartheid Government. He knew that the government caused a lot of suffering to him, his family and more importantly to his country man. He could have gone for war and cut the head of the leader of government but he displayed the power of non-violence (What Gandhi displayed in India for Freedom inspired him) and the greatness by setting up Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It not only brought freedom for his country but also slavery, racism and violence against Negros laws died in Africa.
A learner- Nelson Mandela believed that a book is the best guide in your life. He carried books whenever he got imprisonment. He was not particular about books such as only political books rather he used to read horticulture and gardening books which helped him and his fellow prisoners to cultivate food. He also carried his law education to fight against colonies in a tactful way. He is the one who brought importance of education among Africans which helped to improve literacy.
Ethical- It is very difficult to judge a people from ethical perspective as for different person ethics is different but a true leader is always considered to be ethical by the people. In today’s world, we know people bother less about earning money, power and wealth. To earn these three, they sometime go unethical but Mandela did it differently. He was from a royal family, he got the vote of people and became president and also had the opportunity to earn money from his profession but he never thought about it and gave everything he had to his family and his co-workers. He continued to donate till the end of his life which is showing how ethical he was.
A unifier- “United we stand, Divided we fall”- This Mandela followed strictly throughout his life. during freedom movement, he called all African nations to come together, while fighting against racism, he brought Negros community together and also after independence, he asked whites, Negros and other minorities to come forward and develop African nation. None of the community has ever complained about Mandela that he favoured any specific community.
A servant- A leader is not the one who gives advises, orders and instructions but the one who also receives advices, suggestions and do and follow the same what he/she says other to do/follow. Mandela was one of such leader who listened need of people, asked for suggestions and also served poor and under privileged people at ground level. He even made many people educated and also helped them to stand on their feet. Throughout the life, he empowered South African people for education, economy and democracy.
Humanity- Media called him an infallible saint who couldn’t do anything wrong. He was like a mythical proportion to may Africans and also to rest of the world. Although as a human being he was at his greatness but he too suffered some weaknesses like other human being. His first marriage broke down, his second marriage didn’t last long as his nation carrying activities and home responsibilities clashed but as he was the leader for millions and a hope for his people, he gave importance to his nation, his people over and above his family. He was never a successful family-man but he became the leader of his people and community till last breath which is far more humanistic than a family man.
Nelson Mandela taught us that leadership has no definition, if you could bring positive changes in other, you become a leader. [Dhliwayo, M. (2017)]
Part-2- Leadership Portfolio
The journey of leadership starts with a mission statement that defines the goal or objective of our life to achieve. Since I wanted to be associated myself with hospitality industry, thus my ultimate aim is open a chain a hotel in India to serve the customers or visitors in India to have the best possible manner.
Mission- To become a successful Hotelier that people will remember the quality of experience for long even if they have forgotten about the price.”
This mission statement is short and to the point. I believe, serving humanity and making people happy to the best possible way is possible with Hotel Industry. I want to be known as the one who is recognised by the people for my service not for my wealth or any such things. Of course, for economic goal, it is important to find revenue sources but primarily, it is the service to customer that is the ultimate aim.
To become a successful hotelier, it is important to understand the leadership attributes that are required to become a successful hotelier. To know the leadership’s characteristics, I carried “Leadership Self-AssessmentTest” to know where I stand now. [NW link team . (2015)]
It was a 5 rating scale test which consisted of 50 statements which I had to answer. The rating was done as 1 to 5 scores where 1 is minimum score which is for “not at all true” and 5 is the highest for “Absolutely true”. After answering, I had to add the scores to arrive at final result. The final result I got is 140. As the general guideline, it was a moderate score falling under the 125-174 group which signifies that I am quite close to become a leader.
To become a successful leader in hospitality sector, what type of leadership I need? For that I undertook the Black-MoutonManagerial Grid to understand leadership. I found that a hotelier needs to be a Team Leader.
Why should an hotelier be a team leader? - A team leader is one who takes high amount of risk and also establishes high amount of relationship with the people around. This type of person leads by positive examples and endeavours to foster a team environment in which all members can reach to their highest potentials from both as a team player and as a person. Such leaders put continues effort to reach team goal and work towards retaining the bonding among the team player.
What’s my plan to become a team leader?
At first, I need to complete Hospitality Management Degree from one of the recognised University so that I could gain enough knowledge regarding the sector. The next thing is to understand the requirements of a hotelier not only from education perspective but also from personality, behavioural and emotional attributes.
Do I have any leadership experience to carry my dream?
Yes, I have the experience of leadership. In my school and college days, we had many cultural, social and educational events that we had to conduct. I participated in all such events and functions not as performer but as event organiser. Initially, I started as a member of organizer committee to carry out certain functions and in college days, I took the responsibility entire event management as event organizer where I learned how to set up for an event and how to integrate people and distribute works to the people you manage. This I realised that I could be an hotelier in near future.
For an hotelier, a famous saying is there which goes like this-
“A good hotelier is a democrat, a diplomat, an acrobat and a doormat, all wrapped in one.”
Here are the list of attributes or personality traits or characterises that support me to become a successful hotelier-[Bisk. (2018)]
A visionary- It is the top most priority for an hotelier as a leader to be a “Visionary” person. A visionary is the one who thinks out of box (Not shied from “What if’ questions”). I find myself a visionary person. Here’s why-
Example- In one of our college annual festival, I was the event organizer. Till that date, our college authority permitted only professional musicians to perform at festival and we had to confirm from cultural teacher and college authority before taking any group or musicians for festivals. I thought, independent musicians should be given chance to perform at our fest and I took the risk with a vision that if we organize independent music event, it will give good response to our college. Initially many opposed but granted me to do it on trial basis and it came out to be the biggest success for college cultural event and since then college is organizing national level music events for independent musicians.
A people’s person-I have been a social person since childhood. I want to help people and love to work with them. This is an important attribute for an hotelier to be social in nature. Here’s an incident to prove- I have been a member of a charitable trust since my matriculation. I give my week-ends to help small under-privileged by way to teaching, providing clothes and taking them to vacation trip. I love to help needy people and I ever back myself from it. Here’s why people around me appreciate and support me to continue my service.
Team Builder-For an hotelier, it is the team that will bring success for the hotel service. A hotel can’t run by a single person. If the hotelier is able to find a good team, it will help in achieving good results from hotel service. This is present in me and this I came to know from an incident happened with me-
I was a member of science exhibition program which my college was to organize. In meantime, the event coordinator had to leave event due to some personal reasons. Everybody was upset but I took the responsibility to organize it within the timeframe. I prepared the list of people who could do a specific function well on the basis of their past experience and their nature. I held a meeting and gave the responsibility according to their choice and we conducted the program without any trouble and it came out to be the best event so far.
A perpetual learner- An hotelier is one who learns at every step. Hospitality industry is one of the most dynamic industry where changes are taking place quite frequently thus by learning and experiencing, one can survive in this industry. How’s it present in me?
Example- I keep on studying and researching new things which can help me in doing the task I take. When I was doing apprentice with a resort, I came to know about use of social media in promoting social events and festivals. This I utilised in recent college fest where no such printed invitation were given rather social media invitation through a video distributed and this event got the maximum attendance than any previous years.
Paying attention to details- Hospitality is a combination of different services and functions. All are linked to each other and each should be given importance. I go into details of each and every work I take to complete it properly. For ex- Once I was handed over sponsorship management for a college event. I sit with my team and prepared list of people or organization who could sponsor and also followed up until the event took place.
Though I have some essential attributes to become a successful hotelier (leader in hospitality) still to become a successful leader I need few more attributes to justify myself-
Decisive- It is the ability to predict right actions in the quickest possible time. A leader in hospitality is the one who takes the action at first before anyone can think of. I take time to go for any action due to nervousness and risk factors. I need to have the innate ability to think and present practical decisions on the fly. I have visionary attribute but not decisive nature. Thus I need to develop it to become a successful leader.
This I am going to develop through learning from successful hoteliers’ story, strategic management application and developing logical and reasoning skill.
Jack of all trades and master of one-I need to know each and every aspects of hospitality management. I normally focus on one or two aspects and leave rest with other people to manage but in hotels, as a manager, you need to look after each functions from accounts to cleaning service. This I will develop by reading and gathering knowledge of each function and interviewing hotel managers regarding their experience of management of staff and customers.
Flexibility-Though as a person I am dynamic but I have a problem with making changes in my programs and scheduling time by time. As an hotelier, I need to be much more flexible who is ready to accept any sort of required changes to handle situation. For ex- If a customer is looking for something this is not under our service, how could I settle? That I need to learn. This I will develop with trying out alternative actions in event management and at personal decision making level.
Commendable- An hotelier should be strict with people at sometimes to keep the workforce productive. I am not commendable as I feel it bit harsh but I have to be to manage a workforce of 100 to 200 people of a hotel. This will help me to keep staffs productive and obedience. I will develop this skill by getting ideas from hotel managers and army professionals.
Professionals make mistake but don’t compromise- This is the attribute that help in learning and growing in the industry. I shouldn’t worry about committing mistakes which I normally do and also not to loosen myself in front of others (cut the corners). I should learn this from the examples of great hoteliers like Cesar Ritz, Mohan Singh Oberoi, Andre Balazs etc.
Identifying my charismatic character
Hotel service is one of the business which is 100% customer oriented. It is also considered under pure service category quite often. Today people are judging hotels on the basis of not only the services you offer but also on how you offer to them. This “how” comes good if the hotelier is charismatic in nature. Charisma is sometimes there since birth but if it is not there, we have to develop. [LALIBERTE, M. (2018)]
Here I took 14 signs of charisma to know whether I am charismatic or not. I set a goal of 7 out of 14 from 10 people who know me to test it. (For each attribute at least 5 said yes)
The charismatic attributes I took are- (Result obtained)
1. I ask follow-up questions.-
2. I make my voice heard.-
3. I am willing to show emotion.
4. I can keep my reactions contained.
5. I look cheerful even if I am not smiling.
6. I show empathy without saying a word.
7. I use gestures properly.
8. I maintain eye contact without being creepy.
9. I am good at reading emotion.
10. I greet hellos and goodbyes properly.
11. I am not cliquey.
12. I don’t keep my hands to myself.
13. I give greater visualization.
14. I am a good listener.
Question Yes No.
1 4 6
2 7 3
3 5 5
4 3 7
5 6 4
6 4 6
7 5 5
8 8 2
9 6 4
10 8 2
11 8 2
12 5 5
13 7 3
14 5 5
The social media effect
“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden shared by Alex Hales on WhatsApp.
He is one of my closest friend who sent this image to me made a significant impact on my self-belief. This quote says that looking at own deeds can give good example of leadership and this I applied and identified the attributes I have to become a leader. This also helped me to do my SWOT to become a successful hotelier.
I know Alex personally who is shy in nature but his quotes and messaging tells about the charisma he has to motivate people. My other two friends Paul Walker and Jim Huston also got this image but Paul didn’t pay much attention as he found it just invalid while Jim believed it like I do. Paul said that this quote is not applicable for all thus not a valid argument.
Application of Leadership-oriented behaviour in recent days
I took 3 aspects to test my leadership behaviour now after finding and working on those aspects. They are- Decisive nature, listening skill and non-verbal communication.
For decisive behaviour- I have been paying a game called “Puzzle solve” where I have to solve scrambled pieces into a complete picture or art within 10 minutes time frame. Initially, I faced lot of difficulty to solve puzzles as 9/10 times I exceeded the time frame due to lot of thinking. Gradually I learnt, think-do simultaneously approach and now I am able to solve puzzles within 7-8 minutes on an average. I understood the fact that decision making is not only about right decisions but also it is to be taken within the time frame. This can be possible through practice.
Listening skill- To develop my listening skill, I did two things- one is listening speeches and key facts recording and secondly follow the direction. In first case, I played videos, audios and also listened friends speaking where I have to record key facts and to compare it. I found at initial stage I was not able to listen full but now I am able to get the key facts properly. This actually got developed from following directions that my friends were instructing to me. This helped me to develop patience to listen full and complete before doing anything.[Mind tools content team . (2018)]
Nonverbal communication-To develop my no-verbal communication, I played “Guess the movie/character” to develop this skill. As I have understand the emotion, this activity helped me to understand the difficulties for expression in absence of verbal communication. In Hotels, most of the time, we need to instruct by nonverbal communication and by learning sign language, I can be a good nonverbal communicator. For first 20 attempts I caught 8 times correct but in next 20 attempts, I was able to get 13 times right answer. [Uhl-Bien, M. (2006)]
What would I have done, I had been there?
Leadership Scenario-1- Blackberry Founder-Mike Lazaridis- A failure
Blackberry was one of the popular and bestselling cell phone during last decade. It had presence all over the world and also competing with Apple’s IPhone. It had once 35% of market share in UK which is now just 0.46%. This all happened under the leadership of Mike who believed that the existing technology will continue to get the market share in near future. Till date, Blackberry hasn’t changed its software and operating system. It is still believing on its existing technology.
If I was there as CEO of Blackberry, I would have gone for android system before Samsung. The reason is acceptance of new technology superior to the existing technology of Blackberry. Even I would change the models more of touch screen and sensors than keypads which is low in demand now. It is the application of flexibility attribute of leadership into action which Mike ignored and it is still struggling. I would also go for own innovation and bring something new in market to make differentiation. [Nayab, N. (2011)]
Leadership Scenario-2- Zen Room co-founder- Nathan Boublil
Zen room was a budgeted hotel network which started 2 years back to provide hotels in 50 cities across South-East Asia which was offering those hotels which were medium size which were not typically organized and hard to book online. It recently suffered lack of man management and poor investment decisions. This is the reason why co-founder is now downsizing its business and investing the money in other projects.
If I would be there, I wouldn’t have taken such decision. Hospitality industry is in peak position in South-East Asia and majority of South-East Asian are either middle or lower middle class people. The demand for tourism and travelling is rising. I would rather go for collaboration with any hotel websites and also with some key hoteliers. I would also look at smaller countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Hong Kong etc. which has higher potential of tourism. It is the application of patience and strategic move for long term goals. [Avolio, B. J. (2007)]
Ethical and Social Responsible Behaviour
Ethical and social behaviour are the key attributes for a leader. Earlier we see how Nelson Mandela dealt with these two aspects, recently I had also experienced such an incident where I had to choose a decision under ethical or social ground. [Lord, R. G et.al2005]
I was given charge to conduct a seminar for our college. I had to work with 15 other people to execute the seminar planning. I gave all their part of work with necessary authority and responsibility and took the management of all activities under my hand. Three members reported me that one of our member is doing mis-utilization of fund estimated. The person against whom complaint came was one of my close friend whom I had never seen nor heard doing any such practices. Here I was in a dilemma to take action against him or not. From social point of view, I wouldn’t believe on such allegation without prove as I personally know him better but from ethical point, I had to investigate the matter.
At last, I decided to investigate the matter. I searched for evidence and even asked my friend to produce documents on amount spent. I found there were no such mis-utilization of fund and the extra spending were done due to hike in price. This action hurt my friend to display lack of trust on him but for the larger interest and a leader I should listen and take action on every matter from ethical point. Here I first tested with ethical behaviour of a leader. I also learnt that a leader should take decisions on ethical ground and should be rational not emotional. If the allegation happens to be true and I wouldn’t have investigated then it would have been a deep trouble for the event.
Opportunity to communicate as a leader
In recent past, I got a number of opportunities to display my leadership skill. These are some of the key incidents that I found myself to be in a leader position.
Event committee- In our college, earlier we required to form a team to manage cultural, social and other events but I suggested college authority to form a permanent committee to look after all events. I was given charge to execute it. It was challenging as every time the same person will take the responsibility to execute the task. Initially none of my batch mates agreed. There I applied visionary and persuasion skill. I said that if we form a core team we can set our own budget, we can do the work with complete freedom and no college authority will interfere. Even we can appoint juniors to help in performing functions. They finally agreed and we got a 15 member team to organize all events. I also applied salary and incentive system from the budget of each events to keep members motivated.
Support a personnel-One of the most important characteristic of a leader is to support the people around him/her to achieve the desired goal. Without support, general interest can’t be achieved. I too got an opportunity to support an individual which helped to develop my supporting nature towards leadership. Here’s what happened?-
I was in my internship in a hotel where I was given charge of event management assistant. One-day, one of the key personnel in back office was absent and there were shortage of workforce to handle his work. Though I wasn’t asked to do that job still I thought I should do his part of work as I was free for some hours. I did the job at my own interest without any pay. Later, the individual came to know about it and thanked me for the work done. Even senior management praised me for this effort. On one day, a major event was to be organized and I was in charge with my senior coordinator. We needed someone urgently to look at budget works and supply the list of people to come but whom we talked earlier didn’t come. It was him who came and helped to do that work voluntarily and thereon I realised that if we support the people we work with, they will also show empathy to help you out and it is important when you are acting as leader for people.
What I learnt from the two event where I displayed characteristics of leadership?
• Leadership is with people, for people and by the people thus leadership can’t be separated from people you are associated with.
• Whenever opportunity strikes, the one who steps first becomes the leader.
• A leader is the one who takes an institution, organization or a group forward with his/her vision.
• A leader if supports the people around him whenever they need, it gets it back when the leader needs them.
• A leader is the one who can make people realise the important of doing any task and integrate them to work towards it even if earlier it seems impossible. (Make impossible a possible thing). [Kleon, S.et.al1998]
Cross-cultural aspects in leadership
My aim is to become an hotelier and it is a part of tourism industry. It is expected that when you are in tourism industry, you will have to encounter with different people. Cultural diversity is one of the essential aspect in this industry. Here’s one incident where I had to display cross cultural characteristics to manage people.
It was the time of my internship where on one occasion, I had to organize a cultural event in the hotel for schools and colleges across the country. I was given coordinator charge to meet the school and college representatives who are going to participate and set for the event with them. I found diversity in meeting people. I met people of Jainism, Buddhism, Islam and Hindu culture apart from my own religion. I met people from China, India, Iraq, Germany etc. As it was a cultural event where each one was supposed to perform their own culture and tradition, my job was to understand their performance and allot timing and setting accordingly. I realised during that event that when you work with different religion, culture, and region people, you have to be very careful and rational. Initially I had many arguments with these people as I was unable to understand them or they didn’t get my points. At last, my senior helped me to overcome this problem. I took the decision to arrange a meeting of all participants and place their query. If all agrees to accept the request, then only the request will be granted and in this way, finally we arranged the cultural event smoothly. [Gilmore, T. N et.al1997]
That day I learnt that it is not easy to manage a diverse culture but if we try to understand them and learn from them and also provide our learning to them, then managing diverse people is possible.
Leadership is a multi-dimensional approach which not only includes giving orders and instructions but also includes learning and acting on what you advice or give suggestion at own level. Leadership is inherent but it can be developed with knowledge, experience and practices. A good leader is one who is acceptable to the people around him/her. My dream is to become an hotelier where I can manage people and guide them properly. Some attributes I discovered in mine while some are still to acquire. Hopefully I can do this.
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