My Journey as a Leader

My Journey as a Leader

I am pursuing Persuasive Influence Pathways in Toastmasters. This is my Level2 project 1, “Find your Leadership Style.” This project is designed to introduce the different styles of leadership and help you identify your preferred style.

Speech script: 

When I started working on my Level 2 Project, “Find your Leadership Style,” I started wondering what my leadership style is? How do I know? I did a quick google search and here’s what I know from Wiki.

According to Wiki,

 A leadership style is a leader’s method of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people.

What is my style?

I took that test of 48 questions and got my results. My top 3 styles are democratic, coach, and altruistic.

What’s all that? Big names for me! I read about them in leadership books only. How to ensure that these are my leadership styles? I recited them again:

  • Democratic
  • Coach
  • Altruistic

 I could connect some dots between my past and thoughts. The word COACH reminded me of a conversation I had with my friend.

 A few weeks back, my friend Maithili called me. She sounded nervous, upset, and frustrated. She was looking for a new job, and it was not working.  

  • Maithili: Most of the jobs I am looking for ask for forecasting and tools.
  • I: OK! And what is the challenge with forecasting?
  • Maithili: I don’t feel confident about them. I know them theoretically but have not done them.
  • I: Ok! Well, let’s do this, take some online courses on LinkedIn or Udemy. Then let’s do some practical scenarios by taking real-time large-size data from your friends or from online. I can share files I have from my MBA.
  • Maithili: Ok! That sounds good. I can start by looking at online courses.
  • I: Also, first things first, what did you eat?
  • Maithili: I was frustrated, so I just ate a large bag of chips.
  • I: OK! Get something that you like from the store next time and keep it stocked until you get a job.
  • Maithili: Okay. But why so?
  • I: Food is directly connected to the mental state of anyone. Especially when we are going through a challenging phase such as a job search. It’s always good to have some of your favorite stuff in your access.
  • Maithili: You know what… Khush, be a coach, a life coach! Because you are a lifesaver.
  •  I: hahaha stop joking around!
  •  Maithili: No! I am serious, you’re inspiring. Your ideas are extraordinary. I have known you for 5 years and you have been a lifesaver, always with outstanding ideas! I am sure you have been like this since your childhood.

And this statement took me to a childhood incident-

When I was in middle school, I used to be one of the brilliant kids in the class. And because of that, I was always monitoring the class in the real-world- managing the class. How? My task was to ensure that all kids are silent when there is no teacher in the class. Now how do you manage a class strength of 35-40 students? I found an idea: I used to give my class a math problem and say whoever solves this, will get a chance to talk to anyone in class for one minute.

I focused on their motivation and gave them an opportunity. I was very successful with this, as very few kids could solve the problems I used to give.

Fast forward to my work! 12 years of work experience where I led many teams and influenced the upper and lower hierarchy in an organization. How? By serving their motivation. Meaning?

People under me are focused on the benefits they’re going to get out of any project, learning opportunities, recognition, leaves and all. People above me are interested in focusing on business benefits- how the company is going to make money!

Being a VPPR in Women L.E.A.D., I focus on bringing the best for our members, ensuring our members are happy and get the most out of their memberships. I do all these selflessly which show my altruistic style of leadership.

 When I reflect, I see people like it when I lead them. Why? Because people liked my leadership style. Leadership style? What’s that?

 Honestly, it kept changing based on the demands and situation.

 For some projects, I have been calm and more open to ideas, enabling my teams to bring out their best and motivate them. We focus on quality, quantity, and learning new things along the way. At last, delivering it with a gratified and delighted team.

For some, I was like a ringmaster and assigned tasks to my team directly without asking their comfort level, the continuous follow-up to get the status and deliver it.

For some projects, I was just playing the coach, helping my team to do their best in their roles, giving them the help, guidance, and resources to be successful, and deliver it on time.

 When I reflect at various stages of my life, I realize that I have been a situational leader with a focus on the democratic, coach, pace-setting, and altruistic styles of leadership.

Along the way, I focus on making more leaders rather than just a few followers.

What do you all think? What is my leadership style? What is your leadership style? Comment in chat and let us all know.

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—Written by Khushboo Shah, VPPR, Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters

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