Long before my undergraduate course, I had known that I would settle for education. Right from observing my teachers during the A level education, I knew that they are never ordinary people, and so is their profession, never an ordinary profession. I had seen many pass through their hands. Some became very useful members of the society, while the others, who chose to be destructed, were destroyed by the choices they made. I, therefore, believed that these are people in whose hands the future of any given society lies since they had a great influence on whether the future generation will be constructive or destructive. It is teaching that provides the foundation upon which nations and cultures are established through the provision of knowledge, as well culture. Its importance has made me ask myself whether teaching should really be taken as a paid occupation or a moral responsibility. Whichever the way one looks at it, teaching is a duty because teachers are held morally responsible for those put under their care.
Personally, what drives me more into the profession is that it enables me to contribute to ensuring the students follow the correct paths while also preparing the much needed human resource for the development of our nation.
The work presents my leadership annual report based on the learning outcomes of the course I have been undertaking on Leadership Assessment & Evaluation under Dr. Stuart Smith. The report will utilize my personal experience, knowledge gained from the course book, the supplementary material for the syllabus, as well as the other materials I consulted during my private and further readings.
As an education leader, which I have been practicing for over 20 years now, my current objective is to work as a mentor manager, student support specialist position that can give me some challenges and offer me an opportunity to advance in my career. This is what saw me take Ed. D., Doctoral of Education in Fielding Graduate University and be engaged in the supervision of research projects conducted by our graduate students, as well as their academic works. Backed by the knowledge I gained during my M. Ed., Masters of Education and B.A., Bachelor of Arts, my specialty in higher education has given me an upper hand and a great wealth of accumulated knowledge for my work.
With these objectives, I believed that the course would provide me with an opportunity to be introspective. Today, I can to self-evaluate and take stock of my individual attributes as per the level to which I am able to manage and lead those who are under my guidance. I am also very objective and bold when assessing myself, designing the plans meant to help me in leveraging my strengths, and addressing my shortfalls without any fear. The course has also enabled me to identify and acquire the needed skills, all which I am now practicing in my work without any problems. Even as I do this, I have also underscored the importance of continuous evaluation (Whetton & Cameron 2016). Therefore, I do track my progress and commit myself to willingly making necessary modifications where applicable. Bellow is my personal evaluation of the success of the course based on the set objectives.
Today, I have more than ever before acknowledged and understood basic core qualities required in leadership. Among all the aspects are the inherent strengths that have enabled me to be more efficient in leading people than ever before. After having gone through the course, I have learnt the need to acknowledge that people, just like organizations, have different visions, missions, and goals. My work has, therefore, been the provision of an inclusive workplace that enable the teachers and other education stakeholders to develop. Over time, I have also been able to develop the abilities to facilitate cooperation and teamwork, which also include coming up with and supporting constructive ways of resolving any emerging conflict as discussed by Whetton and Cameron (2016).
I consider myself to have met this objective based on the competencies in managing conflict, skills necessary for team building, skills in developing other people, as well as leveraging diversity. Another major strength that I have acquired and enhanced over the time is my ability to initiate and lead change whether it is within an organizational set-up or with individuals. I have found it easier to help identify the potential of the students I lead and to assist them in meeting their goals. The many learning institutions I have worked with to help drive curricula change have appreciated how keen I am always to ensure that the proposed changes have always been within their goals and the established vision. This has helped me ensure that any change process I help initiate can be implemented in a learning environment, which has been experiencing continuous change due to technological advancement. The specific inherent strengths that have helped me in these include creativity and innovation, ability to come up with and stick to visions, resilience, external awareness based on the acquired knowledge before and during the course, strategic thinking and flexibility.
After having gone through the course, I also consider myself result-driven. One of the things that have enabled me to gain favor with my learning institutions and individual students is my ability to help set academic goals and expectations, as well as assist people in coming up with the strategies to meeting them. I do ensure that any decision I help make is able to lead to high-quality results. This has been possible because the course has enhanced my ability to study and apply technical knowledge, analyze problems, and calculate risks. The associated competencies to these strengths include: accountability, decisiveness, problem-solving skills, customer service, entrepreneurship, and technical credibility (Whetton & Cameron 2016).
Another aspect of inherent strengths in leadership is my business acumen as discussed by Rosen (2014). After having gone through the course, my ability in as far as handling information, as well as human and financial resources cannot be questioned. I am competent to manage these three resources, which are also the pillars of any education set-up. Finally, working with people has never been my problem because of my ability to form partnerships and bring potential stakeholders on board. The knowledge I have has enabled me to build partnerships both within the institutions I work for, as well as with other relevant federal agencies, various levels of the government, international organizations, as well as private and not-for-profit organizations.
Another group of inherent qualities that I have acquired during the course and that have helped me in my career would be categorized as fundamental competencies. It brings together my personal and professional attributes that are basic to success. These competencies have been the core foundations for my executive core qualifications. Moreover, my overall career qualification and development have been greatly enhanced by my experience and training that have since strengthened and helped demonstrate my competencies.
I also believe that my interpersonal skills have contributed to my success in the profession. Throughout my training, I have learnt to be cautious, sensitive and respectful in the way in which I handle other people. It has also not been hard to coach and mentor the assigned lead teachers, conduct lead-teachers’ performance reviews, and manage performance improvement plans. In addition, I have seen my team members honor my calls for in-office training meetings, which makes it easier for me to come up with relevant programs meant for their trainings. I believe this is majorly because of how the course has empowered me to be able to identify the needs and feelings of those under my supervision in various situations and respond to them in an appropriate manner.
With the trainings I have undergone throughout the course period, I also possess other specific inherent skills, such as good oral communication skills, which have enabled me to ensure that my presentations are clear and convincing. My mentor always stressed the virtue of listening effectively and clarifying information as much as it is necessary. I also hold dearly integrity and honesty, which have enabled me to be ethical, fair and honest in dealing with students and teachers. They have been able to see consistency in what I say and what I do, which makes a good quality for a role model as it is expected in the learning environment. I also do not have any major challenge in my written communication since I do so in an organized, clearer and more concise manner than what I used to do initially. With my written presentations, I have been able to convince my audiences into new ways of doing things. I have also embraced the need for continual learning through continuous assessment and recognition of both my strengths and weaknesses. This is what has also enabled me to convince my subjects that self-development is never going to be meaningful without embracing continuous monitoring and evaluations. Finally, my passion and commitment when it comes to serving the public cannot be questioned. The course has enabled me to acquire the needed knowledge and skills to be able to design programs that meet the needs of my target groups. In whichever organization I am invited to work, my first concern is always how to ensure that the practices and objectives are in line with the needs of the groups being targeted.
However, just like any other person, I, Burnett Inc., has had a few shortfalls that have acted like personal inhibitors in order to achieve my leadership goals. For instance, the people I work with have, in some cases, indicated to me that I am over focused. I agree with them because there are instances where I have been hard on people as well as on myself when things have failed to go the way I expected them to do. It has just been hard for me to accept failure. It means there are moments where I have had to disagree with my students and teachers, especially in the cases of failure after I have given all the necessary support they wanted.
Burnett Inc. has always believed that it is until one is able to discover his/her innate as well as personal skills and come up with the ways to develop and exploit them maximally that he/she can boast of having utilized himself/herself to the fullest. It is because it is only when these skills are discovered, developed and exploited that one is able to gain self-satisfaction and enjoy his/her purpose to the fullest. Through this course, I have learnt that such achievements can only be possible through the creation of an action plan. The course has enabled me to gain skills of coming up with personal strategic plans, which has seen me gain the highest reward for any amount of effort I put in whatever activity I involved myself in. I still believe this is the starting point not only for me, but also for those whom I serve.
Through having an action plan, I have been able to set achievable goals in my career life and I work towards the goals. Through this realization, the course has enabled me to focus my ideas and come up with the necessary steps for the realization of my goals. The amount of knowledge I have gained about action plan has also enabled me to help my students and the teachers whom I lead understand that it is good to have a statement of exactly that which they look forward to achieving at whatever capacity within a given timeframe. This way, many of them have testified to have improved greatly when it comes to reaching their long- and short-term objectives. With the knowledge I have gained from the course, I have believed that people should never be worried about the future; instead, they need to begin planning for it.
Moreover, I have learnt the best way to set my objectives and to help other people do the same. Whenever I want to set an objective for any activity I undertake, my major concern has been whether they are measurable and achievable. Another thing that I have learnt over time is how to prioritize the tasks that I am expected to carry out while also identifying the specific steps that I have to take in order to achieve them. While doing that, I have learnt to come up with a well-elaborated list/chart so that I am sure that I am doing the right thing at the right time. With such steps, I am now more than before able to work under pressure and still be very effective. Even in the cases where things seem to be tough, I have learnt to have a contingency plan to fall back to because I believe in meeting my deadlines. With the knowledge I have gained through the course, Burnett Inc., holds dearly the following as the steps necessary when one is coming up with an action plan (University of Kent 2016).
With such a wide range of responsibilities from trainings to supervision and mentorship, the knowledge of the need for keeping a to-do list has come in handy. Through this, the course has enabled me to appreciate the need for a reminder system with a clear indication of when we need to do what. I have come to acknowledge that trying to assume that one can remember all plans without writing them down is a disaster in itself. A part from keeping the well-structured list, I have also summarized it in my diary, which I carry with me everywhere I go. With the list, I have never had cases of failure to meet deadlines as well as to turn up for appointments without convincing reasons. I also have a timetable, which shows what I intend to do in a day, a month and even a year, with very urgent and important activities well highlighted.
Moreover, with the understanding of the difference between effectiveness and efficiency, I have known that just being a hard-working and well-organized person is never enough. Instead, I have appreciated the need to identify and work on the most important and urgent tasks first. It means I have gone beyond being efficient to being effective through the prioritization of my tasks. I do this through listing all the tasks I intend to carry out within a given timeframe and sorting them out in terms of their importance and urgency. I then devote the time I have to the tasks that I consider most important and very urgent as at a given time. The learnt strategy has helped me overcome the common tendency of people concentrating on the things they think are simple and easy while also allowing the other people to disrupt them anyhow.
I have also learnt to break down tasks into components to enable me to accomplish them one at a time. Just like I do when I coach my students and lead teachers, I do reward myself anytime an objective or a goal is achieved. This has enabled me to remain focused and enthusiastic about the bigger objectives and goals in my career. I also carry out a regular review and evaluation of my progress in terms of the short- and long-term goals I set to enable me to make an appropriate revision of my plans. This has enabled me to handle unexpected changes in a way that they do not affect me negatively.
Another virtue that has enabled me achieve this objective is my ability and willingness to persevere and be patient. I have come to acknowledge that not everything can be smooth as I move towards my goals. Whenever I feel something is not working for me, I persevere and ensure that my attitude remains positive. It has enabled my handle failures and frustrations. Moreover, through the course, I learnt critical thinking, which made me believe that any time I make a mistake I need to take it as a crucial part of creativity. It means that any given failure comes with a lesson that propels me towards a needed solution. Whenever, I feel as if pressure were building up for whatever reason, I do not allow it to get to a level where it affects me. I try to take some exercise, relax, and sometimes share my fears and challenges with my like-minded friends.
Coming up with an action plan has also helped me to be more effective at the corporate level, especially in carrying out my responsibilities in King Saud University, where I am responsible for the coaching and mentoring lead teachers, setting the goals, and assessing their performance. After having gone through the course, I now understand that the beginning point for any corporate or institutional strategic planning is the acknowledgement that the exercise is meant for re-organization and allocation of people, as well as other resources with the aim of increasing the rate at which the goal is being met (University of Kent 2016). I have assisted in doing this through helping identify the areas to be emphasized and those to be deemphasized. I have ensured that the university identifies the areas where it has higher potentials and allocating more of its resources in these areas while allocating less to the areas of lower potential in terms of returns. I have personally applied this principle in the way I train and lead teachers. The same is seen as I coach and train my teachers and students. I ensure that the kind of programs I invest more resources in are those where more returns in terms of meeting the organizational objectives are expected.
After having gone through the course, and with the experience I have gained over the years as an education leader, I have come to believe that one of the factors that greatly determine how affective a leader can become is his/her leadership style. It is important for the leaders to take time and meditate upon the kind of leadership style that can best suit their team and the lager organization (Chattered Management Institute 2016). It is the kind of style that the managers adopt that will determine the kind of rapport, the amount of respect, and the level of trust they have with those under them, either individuals or teams, as well as the kind of relationship he/she will have with them. This is true to a learning institution. For instance, in my case, I have seen that whenever I try to adopt a style that my subjects, students and teachers consider to be inappropriate, they immediately begin to disengage themselves to me. Some of them just become de-motivated and lose morale immediately. The same is also true to a larger institution. I have witnessed instances where my colleagues try to adopt the styles that are not in line with the ethics of our institutions and how they fail terribly because of the reluctance by the management to support their initiatives.
The knowledge I have gained throughout the time I have been undertaking the course has made me shift my attention from the management styles into the leadership ones. It is because I believe a mentor has to be a role model while leading other people into what he/she believes in and is seen practicing them voluntarily. If there is something that I have considered with a great passion, it is how I exercise my authority in any institution where I work. It is because my major focus is achieving the set objectives through proper planning and organization of my work, especially when it comes to my dealing and relationship with colleagues, as well as the students and the teachers under my supervision. Therefore, I take keen attention to such small details like that which I deliver my subjects and how I say it including my body language so that I do not appear to be demeaning my subjects.
Majorly, I now understand the situations where, as a leader, I should be authoritative, consultative or participative (Chattered Management Institute 2013). In cases where a leader has little confidence or trust in the team members. In this case, managers must issue orders while also creating fear among his/her followers as a way of motivating them to work. In the case of a leader who is consultative, he/she has some level of confidence and can trust the team members. He/she, therefore, undertakes to seek what they think about certain issues affecting them; though; he/she retains the power to make the final decision. Finally, a participative leader has a complete trust with his/her team members. The leader is committed to seeking and acting on the ideas of the team members and also involves them whenever a decision is to be made.
However, after having gone through the leadership course, I believe that there is the need for the managers to adjust the kind of styles they choose to adopt based on the prevailing situation. This has been the case with me since my styles have always been informed by the level of support and guidance my subjects need. There are cases I have had to be telling. A case in the point is a situation where students are not willing and not able to do what I want them to do. In such a situation, I step up to support and guide them. There are also cases where I simply delegate to lead teachers or even students what is to be done. This approach has worked well for me when students and/or teachers are well aware of what is expected of them and are willing and able to accomplish it. In this case, I do not disturb myself giving support and guidance.
Another approach has been the cases where I have to allow participation. This has been applicable, especially during trainings when I feel that the lead teachers are able to lead sessions based on their experiences and knowledge, as well as the need to help them develop their skills. It gives the desired outcome when I am there to support them. For instance, it is me to come up with the training materials, invite people, and give them the needed opportunity to participate in the trainings. Finally, there are cases where I just tell what I believe should be done. It is most appropriate whenever I realize that my students and teachers have the willingness to do the necessary, but they are not sure when it comes to how the task is to be carried out (Chattered Management Institute 2013).
I, therefore, believe that I am a transformational and charismatic leader based on the level to which I engage my students and the lead teachers. My first priority has been how I can meet the developmental needs of my team members. In most cases, I have realized that the major need of my students and lead teachers is to be empowered and inspired. This has enabled me to be very relevant, especially to the younger generation, which wants to fill part of what is happening.
Though I have found some personalities to be very difficult to motivate and inspire, the course has made me believe that influencing the people I lead is possible. I have believed that when it comes to influencing the leadership skills, everything is possible. Influencing the subjects and all other stakeholders is necessary for any organization when it is to meet the set goals. For me, as a leader, I went into the profession and career knowing that I will be required to come up with effective ways of guiding the university towards achieving its goal. The course came in handy as it has enabled me to acquire the necessary skills to be able to incorporate the diverse skills of those I lead and use them towards producing the desired outcome.
Most importantly, I am able to balance between the goals of my institution and the development of the skills and knowledge of my team members, which is very necessary if my department is to achieve the expected success in its performance. Knowing how difficult it is to motivate the members towards achieving the goals set by institutions, I have always tried to practice and promote behaviors that can help in inspiring and motivating those I work with, whether students or teachers. My lecturer enabled me to understand that irrespective of the variation in what motivate people across organizations, all I need is to acquire the skills necessary for creating a clear vision, comprehending the culture of the organization/institution I work for, remaining focused on developing performance, and encouraging innovation.
The course has put me in a situation where I believe that performing any of the identified activities in a bid to influence and motivate my subjects will never be a major challenge. Firstly, I am very capable of coming up with a vision plan. Vision must be seen as the very foundation upon which institutions/organizations are able to achieve their goals (Clark 2003). By ensuring that my students and teachers are able to understand and internalize the vision of our institution, it enables us to move together towards the achievement of the main goal through encouraging the contribution of each stakeholder. Even those who are never directly involved in coming up with the institutional vision understand that they have to participate in the articulation of the vision and contribute to the achievement of the priorities of the institution in line with the vision. Through trainings, I have also helped my colleagues to be able to assist in aligning the members of their teams to the identified strategies guiding the operation of the institution.
As an action point, there are training programs that I have designed specifically to help the members take part in the activities meant to promote the culture and returns of our institution. The course made me realize the importance of understanding the culture of our institution among the leaders. It is culture that incorporates the values, assumptions, attitudes as well as goals of any given organization (Clark 2003). I have personally internalized all the cultures of our institution so as to enable me be very accurate as I continue in the motivation of teachers and students towards achieving a larger vision of the institution. One of the most difficult things has been to come up with various ways to effectively manage different factors impacting the culture of the organization.
However, the course equipped me since I was taken through most of these factors in detail. With the knowledge of these factors, my teachers and students have always openly acknowledged that I have been effective in identifying and supporting their needs. Moreover, I have been able to promote an environment in which people understand one another and uphold mutual respect. This has been possible because of my understanding of various behaviors giving rise to the recommended culture. I have also been keen to identify destructors who may be a threat to our institutional culture. I have achieved this through conducting focus group discussions as well as periodic surveys that are aimed at identifying various things my team would want to be incorporated in the culture of the institution in order to make it more effective. I have also taken part in ensuring that the institution provides an environment that encourages free engagement between students, teachers, mentors, and management. I believe that through open communication among stakeholders, there will be creativity as well as ingenuity.
Another skill that has enabled me to influence and motivate other people is my commitment to coaching them and coming up with training programs aimed at developing the performance of my team members. I have committed to taking much of my time observing my students and openly discussing their performance in a way of ensuring that they attain the desired results. This has enabled me to help them nurture necessary skills in student leadership and mentorship. In this way, my students and teachers are able to maximize their contribution to the larger institutional goal. My strategy has always been involving those whom I mentor in the decision making process. In this way, they are always motivated to see the decisions reached accomplished (CQI, 2016).
Another skill that the course has enabled me to acquire and has been helpful in influencing and motivating my students and lead teachers is innovation, which is needed by any organization as it promotes a free flow of new ideas. In such an environment, there are limited boundaries to do with bureaucracy, which may act as a barrier to invention and productivity. As a way of supporting an environment where innovation thrives, I have tried to help identify and bring to the attention of the university the various risks that hinder innovation. With the management’s support, I have ensured that these factors are removed through involving my team in brainstorming sessions. It has seen my team come up with new ideas to help solve any unforeseen problems. This experience has made me believe that leading people who are able to come up with new ideas can help create effective teamwork, support professional growth, and enable those involved to freely network with other stakeholders. The course has, therefore, been very helpful in as far as my ability to influence and motivate people is concerned.
This course has enabled me to gain essential general competencies that have equipped me with the necessary skills expected of any professional, especially when it comes to working with other people. The first attribute that the course enabled me to internalize was the need to develop and maintain a positive working relationship with any person I work, irrespective of their level in the organization. One of the ways that I learnt can be used to create this kind of relationship is through communication. I am always keen to politely, clearly and respectfully communicate with other people. This I do even when I am responding to the inquiries made by my students or the lead teachers. It has helped me avoid unnecessary disputes at my workplace. The course has also enabled me to acquire the skills necessary to handle complaints reported to me by students or teachers. This has not presented me with many challenges since I have been able to come up with an agreeable and working procedure for handling complaints.
As mentioned earlier, the course has enabled me to value my time much better than ever before. One of the virtues I hold on dearly is ensuring that I manage my time as well as resources in a professional manner. Through the course, I am now well equipped when it comes to setting achievable objectives, planning my time, making decisions, as well as reviewing and re-scheduling the activities I plan to undertake. Most importantly, the more I practice these values, the more they are also internalized by those whom I lead.
Another strength, when it comes to being professional in the manner in which I handle other people, is my willingness to develop and enhance my practice, as well as performance. A part from the many additional short-term courses and trainings, I do carry out a continuous evaluation on how I perform while also encouraging those I lead to give independent feedback of their opinion on my leadership style and overall performance. This course equipped me with the skills needed in identifying personal development needs, which has helped me ensure that I am in tandem with the latest standards, regulations, legislations, as well as codes of conduct.
Finally, by understanding various professional and ethical manners expected of me as a professional, I have been able to present an expected image at any given time. The course has enhanced my understanding when it comes to the codes of conduct. Among my first concerns whenever I join an institution, a group, or an organization is to read and understand both the codes of conduct and standards used to determine what good practices are. Though I have not been able to, I plan to acquire a registration with a relevant accreditation body so that I am able to be guided by their requirements. However, I have personal limits when it comes to my competence, as well as expertise. For instance, while I have a great passion for training and coaching as many lead teachers and students as possible, I am keen not to take those whose line of a profession are different from mine. Instead, I refer them to appropriate mentors for coaching, noting that every one of my colleagues as well as other stakeholders has a role to play in the realization of a larger objective of the institution (National Occupational Standards 2009).
Through the course, I have acquired the necessary skills to be able to show respect for cultural diversity in my communication with people of various backgrounds, be they our students, teachers, or even partners. Going through the course enabled me to believe that communication is a tool that can be used in developing and maintaining meaningful relationships, and establishing mutual trust and an environment in which people have confidence in each other (Emmitt & Gorse 2003). The skills I acquired during my training can allow me to identify any barrier to free and open communication across an organization and be able to come up with changes that can enable effective communication.
Moreover, as a way of adverting my communication ability in the ever increasingly complex diverse environment, the course made me believe in the need to sometimes just take time and do some research on other communities. This has enabled me to know how students and other people from these communities communicate their needs and see the available opportunities. In this way, I have been able to respond effectively taking consideration of the expectations of the person I communicate to. Moreover, I have always been keen to ensure that I involve everyone to be affected by any decision I make right from the very initial stages of planning for such changes.
In addition, I have skills necessary in designing training manuals for lead teachers to enable them be culturally aware of the expectations of all students assigned to them, irrespective of their backgrounds. In this way, we have been able to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings between various stakeholders. From the feedbacks, the trainings have been very relevant and practical, where students and lead teachers freely share their experiences (Department of Human Service Victoria 2012).
I consider myself very successful in terms of the completion of this course. The attainment of the course objectives was possible because of proper utilization of class sessions, discussion threads, course materials, as well as adherence to the course requirements. I was able to make use of the readings from the assigned textbook as well as those provided in Canvas. One of the books that were very useful during my course is that on Developing Management Skills by Whetton and Cameron, not to mention the videos, as well as other online materials through the Online Help Desk. Moreover, after having gained the necessary computer knowledge, I was able to read widely online and participating in the online sessions. Even the few cases where I was not able to attend the GTT sessions, I managed to view them through the provided recordings.
The knowledge I gained from this course has been and will be very useful in my day-to-ay practice as a student leader. As highlighted in this study, my work has been very involving, and the personal skills acquired in this course will be very useful. It should be noted that I do interact directly with students, lead teachers and colleagues for whom I design training and coaching materials. With the new and enhanced skills, Burnett, Inc., of today cannot be compared with the initial one before the training.