My learning about leading during the summer semester has revealed to me how much I have grown as a professional. Analysis of the ratings my colleagues reported about me on the Leadership Skills Assessment: 360 Feedback survey showed that I am perceived to have “outstandingly effective” leadership practice (Spencer, 2018). While I knew I was held in high esteem, the ratings were consistent across different organizations and different roles. I was pleased to see I have been consistent in the quality of my leadership practice.
In describing the evidence to support of my own personal rating on the survey, I recognized how I have demonstrated expertise gained early in my career. I used to think I enjoyed staying in the background, working behind the scenes. But reflecting on my career, I see that I have grown steadily into leadership roles that propelled me into the foreground. I appreciate the opportunities I have been given to show my skill, expertise, and intellect. I suppose I have “paid my dues” in some respects. I have more confidence in myself as a professional and as a leader.
I believe the most extensive impact of my learning will be on my leadership practice. I am now using strategy to build coalitions in my new role as minister of youth and family ministries in a traditional Baptist church with a majority older congregation. I am tasked with revitalizing youth and young adult ministries in a context with scarce human and financial resources. There are long-standing alliances and stakeholders who are accustomed to doing ministry a certain way.
Prior to the summer semester, I would have simply considered what I needed to do within this organization from a structural and human resources perspective. I would have implemented my vision based on improving systemic processes and developing lay leaders. However, now I am strategizing based on the assumptions of the political frame (Bolman & Deal, 2013). I am at the beginning stages of intentionally using strategy. I have pinpointed two mentors who can help me strategize. Working with a mentor is definitely a change in my leadership practice. I typically would have tried to figure things out on my own.
This summer learning has enabled me the space and the tools to see dimensions of myself as a professional that were previously hidden from view. The learning has also given me applicable tools I can immediately implement in my leadership practice.
Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2013). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Spencer, Q. (2018). Leadership skills assessment. (Unpublished survey analysis). Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.