Leadership Essay: Please describe an incident from your personal experiences that typifies your definition of leadership. Specifically address ethics, diversity, collaboration and motivation.
In my opinion, leadership is about taking ownership to create excellence. Acquiring leadership skills is a key aspect of an individual’s growth. A true leader is a one who motivates his team to bring out their best. My Journey as a class monitor in grade 5, a head girl in grade 10, a class representative in college or a team lead at Philips gave tons of opportunities to showcase my leadership skills. I would like to choose the following experience to highlight my leadership skills since I gained substantially from it.
While leading a five-person team to perform verification for a project, I faced the challenge to reduce the customer defects ratio to less than 5% with my young and inexperienced team.
The three new faces in the team had just joined as interns. Being new to the corporate world, they required special guidance and motivation to start contributing effectively. As a first step, I concentrated on training sessions and to making them comfortable at work. I made them see me as a buddy who they could come to anytime for any issues or concerns. To make sure that they were constantly learning, I often sat with them and talked about the company and our processes.
Simultaneously, I involved my other two senior team members in making plans and taking decisions, as I did not want any difference in opinions later to delay project delivery. I made them come up with plans to train interns, create verification estimations, and generate verification reports. Including the interns too in these processes introduced them to our way of working and made them aware of the plans and dates. As we went through daily stand up meetings to track status and address issues, slowly, I had an energized team committed to contribute. By being adaptive to my circumstances, I laid the foundations to create success.
Success in the project was going to be measured by how well we reduced customer defects. I initiated the task by scheduling a meeting among people from different teams across sites to share their point of view in achieving the target. One of the suggestions that we came across in the meeting was to discuss the issue with the customers. Consequently, my team enthusiastically initiated this task and arranged a meeting with eight customers. The outcome of the meeting was very valuable. We realized that customers use the features based on their priority. I learned that by listening to others, we identify where we are and what steps are needed.
Leadership, I learned, is about creating different alternatives to achieve goals. It’s also about taking decisions to choose the best alternatives from the many that come up. As a team lead, I had to take a decision about the approach. I did not follow past processes but took the bold steps to set my own path .I had asked my team to come up with a complete list that contained all the features of the project. We distributed this list to the customers and asked them to prioritize the features based on their usability. We consolidated the list and took the top features that were rated very high in terms of usability by the customers and designed test cases against these features and executed them only for the final builds that were ready to go to the market. We called it as “Critical Test.” I also arranged for a gift coupon for a person who selects a better name for it. Creativity and versatility, I figured, are the aspects that leaders should possess.
The Full round of verification on all features were completed on time. Interns did a great job. With the introduction of this new process of testing on final builds, we targeted for minimal customer defects. I learned that, the leader is aided in the process of decision making by her ability to understand people within and outside the organization knowing well that it is these people that the leader serves.
The project delivery done on time and with quality set the ground for customer defects to reduce. The results were amazing. We achieved zero customer defects. As a team, we were proud and we celebrated our success over a team lunch. This team will always remain my Dream Team. I know though
that the experience is just an initial step on the ladder of leadership.
The journey towards leadership that commenced in my school days, thanks to my teachers who made me aware of my qualities, now needs formal training so that I can take up bigger challenges going forward in my career. I am sure my experience at Fox School of Business will be invaluable.