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SNHU - MBA-550 - Leading in an Organization
Written by: Chris Bell - April, 2017

StrengthsFinder® Quiz Results - 5 of my Top Leadership Strengths

My Top 5 Strengths

Competitive - Maximizer - Individualistic - Futuristic - Relater

I'm individualistic but so competitive that I maximize the opportunity to relate to others to improve my futuristic self.


Summary of Results

These terms relate to me well because I've been so competitive my entire life that I've had to limit my competitive attitude to maintain a friendly atmosphere. Competition was my number one strength which explains why I took online classes at SNHU and obtained a Master's degree partly because my best friend was getting his MBA and I didn't want him to be smarter than me. I try to live by a motto of continuous improvement, so being a Maximizer is a strength that I like to see on my list as well. In fact, I have an urge to utilize all 5 strengths in my career because I believe they're all true, and that I'd be good at using them to my advantage now.

I'm a leader at my father's company and plan to make my Futuristic vision more vocal in the upcoming months. My Individualistic side has a vision for each department of the company but I need to vocalize it more often so that others will follow that lead. I don't have time to train each person individually but I can share my vision of the overall process and how I'd like to see it done in the future. Being a Relater was last on my list but I still found it to be accurate because I love to relate to people and try to see the world through their eyes. It interests me that people are so different, so I'm immediately sympathetic and trusting so that people feel open enough to relate to me.

Analysis of Cognitive Factors and Leadership

My biggest strength influenced with cognitive factors changed my performance and increased my learning. I related it to the feeling of getting a degree and got so competitive with my friend that I started pursuing an MBA on top of my IT degree. Now I'm ahead of him and my futuristic self is exactly how I had imagined it. "Problem-solving and intellectual skills are referred to collectively as cognitive factors. (DuBrin, 2010)" I believe I have the cognitive factors that it takes to be a leader because I have been working for my father since I was 6 years old and it gives me the company intelligence I need to lead everyone in the right direction. I can relate to Forrest Gump by saying, "I know everything there is to know about the [wire and cable] business". I was handling wire and cable as a kid, I did shipping and receiving in high school, I got a Master's degree in IT (web design) in order to grow the company website and I'm in pursuit of my MBA in finance to better understand the financial aspects of the company. All of my strengths are persistent throughout the last 15 years of my life and they each relate to the cognitive factors. For example, all of my education coupled with my experience in each department helps me become a better problem solver in all areas of the company, while also considering the future.

Now that I am a leader I like that I have the education to prove that I'm more than the father's son, someone that's taken the time to get more than the standard education in order to run this company. I will start speaking to the employees more often to give them the vision of their department and of the entire company. I will maximize this opportunity to relate to people because I know it will increase employee morale. Mostly, there is a shipping department, production department and sales office, each with about 5-10 employees. I speak with my father a lot about the future vision of the company but keep it from the rest of the staff until we decide to set something in stone. I think we need to discuss the options with each department openly and collaboratively. We collect data on errors and create corrective actions but again, we should involve more people throughout the change-of-process so that we all agree.

Application of Examples

The two examples I've been using are the competition with my education and my long term knowledge of the company which connect with cognitive intelligence and knowledge of the business group or task. I think it would be clear to someone trying to hire me that I'd be willing to learn something new in order to get the job done efficiently. Being willing to learn is a strong trait as a leader because the best way to learn is from the people around you, so it's important to have open ears when subordinates are trying to communicate with their leader. Not only that, if you plan a long term career at a company without any new training or education throughout your tenure, you better take that time to find another job. Employees need to be innovative and ever-growing with the changes and curve balls companies face.

I'd like to also add that I have the insight into people and situations because I've previously been good at calming people down when they get overworked. Being stressed isn't good for the individual or the people around them, so it's important to detect it and walk towards it instead of away from it. "Intellectual ability is closely related to having knowledge of the business or the key task the group is performing. An effective leader has to be technically competent in some discipline, particularly when leading a group of specialists. (DuBrin, 2010)" I know I'm good at solving problems because I know the business so well, but I want to work on the execution of the solution with each employee. Everyone needs to understand the vision and the process of execution.

Critical Thinking

In general, it's important for leaders to be optimistic, extroverts, hopeful and confident about the future because those tendencies will give them the drive to push forward when problems persist. Negative thinking pessimists will think that nothing will go right, nothing will work in their favor so why bother trying? "Furthermore, we suggest that leaders who believe that the world is an exciting place have the mindset that is needed to think innovatively, go on undiscovered paths, and challenge widely held beliefs, while leaders who think that the world is dangerous may not take the risks the aforementioned behaviors entail. (Doci, 2015)" Leaders should also show others that they have an optimistic outlook for the future because optimism is contagious and it will spread throughout the company.

It's hard to always be an extrovert and to be optimistic 24 hours a day, but my drive for competition and maximization push me to believe that I can complete entire projects. I learned that projects are never completely finished during my IT degree because that's more evident in technology than any other field. However, most projects can be improved within a year of conception so a team of people should be trained and ready to accept customer service phone calls while an IT team is set up to handle problems, probably 24 hours per day. I have the urge to become a good leader and I have the opportunity right in front of me so I'm going to put this assessment to the test. I'm focusing on my strengths and it gives me an added boost to continue down a path I may not have previously gone. Knowing that I have the cognitive skills like "problem solver" and strengths like "relator" and "maximizer" makes me want to maximize on those traits, and I will.


References:

Doci, E., Stouten, J., & Hofmans, J. (2015). The cognitive-behavioral system of leadership:
cognitive antecedents of active and passive leadership behaviors. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1344.
Retrieved from: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01344

DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage.