As I reflect upon being a doctoral student, I have learned a lot that I think will be valuable for me over the next three years. But I will focus on three major learnings from this summer semester. The first thing I find valuable is knowing my learning pattern. After taking the Learning Connections Inventory (Johnston & Dainton, 2003), I have a better understanding of how I can best make learning work for me. My highest scores were 32 of out 35 for precision; 28 out of 25 for sequence; and 25 out of 35 for confluence. As a strong-willed learner, my preference is to work alone and lead from in front. However, this doctoral journey is not a solitary trek, but a cohort is moving along with me. I have a greater understanding of the way I learn and work best. Of the same token, I am more aware of my challenges. My Myers Briggs Type is INTJ. I will have to moderate the Introvert in me, particularly when working in groups with extroverts or more outspoken members of the cohort. Overall, having taken these inventories as part of class learning will enable us as a group to discuss who we have discovered ourselves to be in hopes of working better together as a team.
Speaking of working better together as a team, the five dysfunctions of a team as described by Lencioni (2002) is the second valuable thing I have learned. Lencioni’s (2002) model provides a practical framework for team dynamics and strategies to overcome the most common dysfunctions. In the past, I have been at a loss for how to effectively address what I perceived to be lack of teamwork. I looked at individual behaviors rather than seeing the behaviors as patterns common within teams. Viewing individual team member behaviors using the five dysfunctions concept, removes the temptation to judge the person. Instead, I am more inclined to recognize the behavior as part of what happens when working on teams. As stated previously, learning these concepts as a cohort should enable us to be honest and receptive when we see these dysfunctions during our team processes.
The third valuable learning from this summer was discovering my leadership orientation based on the work of Bolman and Deal (2013). My score on the structural frame was 22 out of 24. My orientation toward the human resources and symbolic frames were almost equal, 13 and 16 respectively. I scored the lowest on the political frame, 9 out of 24. I want to increase my skill in engaging in organizational contexts from the political frame. I am intrigued by the idea of intentionally reframing how I approach complex issues using the political assumptions of coalitions, scarcity of resources, and the need for bargaining and negotiating.
I am hopeful that I can apply this new knowledge to improve my leadership practice throughout the next three years. The summer coursework has certainly laid a good foundation for growth in my leadership practice.
Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. E. (1998). Self-assessment: Leadership orientations. Retrieved from www.leebolman.com/frames_selfrating_scale.htm
Bolman, L., & Deal, T. (2003). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice and leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Johnston, C. and Dainton, G. (2003). LCI: Learning connections inventory. Turnersville, NC: Learning Connections Resources.
Lencioni, P. (2002). Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Myers, P.B. and Myers, K.D. (2015). Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Step I Interpretive Report. Sunnyvale, CA: CPP, Inc.