Self-Competency Paper for MBA course Organizational Behavior

Introduction

In evaluating oneself, it can be a difficult task to be introspective.  As you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, internal areas of difficulty may appear.  Internal areas one may not want to look.  Throughout time self-evaluation has been respected and honored.  The great Greek philosopher Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”  Shakespeare said in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine own self, be true.”

The Self-Competency project has been a semester-long undertaking where every module has required a self-reflection and evaluation.  Understanding your own and others’ personality and attitudes are key to being an effective leader.  We have learned perceiving, appraising, and interpreting accurately yourself, others, and the immediate environment is vital to one’s emotional intelligence.  It is a necessity to manage people effectively and in a positive manner.  Understanding and acting on your own and others’ work-related motivations and emotions allows you to empathize and strategically tailor your leadership style to the personalities and unique contributions of each of your followers.  It allows you to navigate through areas of potential conflict and to become aware of possible areas of friction.  Assessing and establishing your own developmental, personal (life-related), and work-related goals allow one to be focused and gain more personal satisfaction in your life work.  Taking responsibility for managing yourself and your career over time and through stressful circumstances gives you an edge in mental health and effectively meditating difficult situations.

The Big Five Personality Factors

In evaluating the Big Five personality factors, some of my scores surprised me.  In evaluating Openness, the test came back stating I am someone conventional and in the 35% percentile.  I see myself as original, creative, curious, and complex.  I do believe I am down to earth and like people being straight forward.  I cannot stand drama and highly emotional situations.  I have certain interests (sports, politics, history, religion, social media, US Presidents), and focus my reading and study in those areas.  The lesson for me is I need to reach out more and broaden my experiences.

Relating to Conscientiousness, I scored high in the 79% percentile.  The report stated I am well-organized and reliable.  I do focus on a few key goals and seek to be organized.  My desk is messy and often times my clothes are not on hangers but I do know where things are.  I am very thorough, have usually scored very high academically, and can focus very intensely on projects at work.

I scored extremely high on Extraversion which is no surprise to me.  The report stated I am extremely outgoing, social, and energetic.  Those three adjectives have been used to describe me for years.  I enjoy being around people and gain energy from discussions.  I am full of energy and very comfortable talking to large and small groups.  I love making new friends and establishing new connections.

Agreeableness was my second highest score in the personality test.  The report stated I am good natured, supportive, and courteous.  I do have a very optimistic view of life and believe the best in others.  I believe people are basically honest, decent, and trustworthy.  I work hard on maintaining and developing close relationships.  I work hard on forgiving others and seeking to reconcile quickly. I have been known to be naive.

My lowest score was Neuroticism at 7% percentile.  The report stated I remain calm, even in tense situations.  I am relaxed and free with persistent negative feelings.  I am slow to anger and handle crises well.  I am described as resilient and secure in my interpersonal dealings with others.

Effective Communication Skills

In evaluation the “Effective Communication Skills” assessment, I clearly came on the side of “I’m an ‘explorer.'”  I love people and seek answers from people.  I like to take risks and seek out new ideas.  In making decisions, I will contact anyone with information and listen to their ideas.  I wrestle with a decision but once I make the decision, I am firm on it and move forward.  Decisions are not difficult for me to make.  I am not afraid of risks and do not live in fear of the future.  I love news ideas and I am constantly reading books which challenge me.  Some of my favorite authors are Seth Godin and Malcomb Gladwell who are true paradigm shifting authorities.  They look at society and come at different angles than one is use to approaching things.

How to accommodate an “explorer” style:

be open to new ideas;
be open to change;
allow room for creative innovation;
be open-minded to opinions and views;
be attentive;
show interest;
relate ideas to the real world (use real world examples);
focus on processes and applications rather than facts;
be willing to take a risk or investigate;
be be patient with disorganization;
share humor and laugh at jokes;
be patient when jumps from one idea to another;
be willing to discuss ideas;
allow for innovative- and creative-type tasks.

What is your Emotional IQ

In taking the Emotion IQ exercise, I did not have many expectations.  I took it as honestly as I could and thought through my answers.  I scored a 35 on self-awareness.  I was one point off of having a high score in recognizing how others feelings, beliefs, and behavior affect others.  I am comfortable with my own strengths and limitations and understand my self-worth and capabilities.  I do struggle at times with reading others feelings.  I assume they are happy with life and in a good mind as I am.  Sometimes I assume incorrectly and walk away unaware someone is angry or upset.  I do not read people well and struggle with comprehending their internal thoughts.  I tell my wife she needs to clearly let me know how she feels.

I scored a 15 in social empathy.  I feel I am very thoughtful and do consider others’ feelings when I am aware of them.  I am incredibly interested in others and love to ask lots of questions.  I do struggle with truly understanding people and have a difficult time comprehending depressed and anxious people.  I am enthusiastic and excited about life.  It is hard for me to grasp how others do not have the same feelings.

I scored a 31 on self-motivation and completely agree with it.  I am almost always in a good nature and rarely have fluctuations in my moods.  My emotions are not disruptive and my impulses are under control (except I eat too much).  As an Eagle Scout, I always seek to maintain standards of integrity and honesty.  Being conscientious of others is on the forefront of my mind if I am made aware of how they feel.  I read constantly, love continuing education, passionate about learning and stretching myself in my areas of weakness.

I scored very high on the social skills category.  My total was 23.  As a youth, I was Student Body President.  I have a Master of Divinity and served as a Senior Pastor for many years.  Since 2006 I have served as a non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts, Kennesaw State and Luther Rice University.  I have always loved leading and inspiring groups, sending clear and convincing messages, building effect interpersonal relationships, and working well with others to achieve shared goals.  Connecting and truly building close relationships with my co-workers is a passion of mine.  My LinkedIn Profile would testify to it because I have 58 different recommendations.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnaroland.

Three Life Experiences and the impact upon my Leadership

Life Experience #1.  When I was pursuing my Master of Divinity degree (94-hour degree) at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas from 1997-2001, my wife and I developed a very close relationship with a couple next door to us.  The husband Shawn Brown quickly became my best friend and the wife, Kathy Jo Brown soon became my wife’s best friend.  All of us were newlyweds and were quite carefree.  We went on trips together, played softball together, joined the same church, exercised together, and became involved in the same groups.  Shawn and I met daily since they lived next door to us.  We talked about life, families, career goals, marriage, and whatever most pressing issue of the day was.  All of us had a love of youth ministry so we volunteered with the youth program at church.  On September 15, 1999, we had a youth worship service with 400 youth.  I missed my ride with Shawn to the church.  A mentally ill man came into the service and killed 7 people including Shawn (and a number of other friends of ours) and wounded seven more.  My leadership changed that day in the fact it gave me a greater focus for people and making an impact.  We are not guaranteed a long life or extended opportunities to make a difference.  This tragedy caused me to have a stronger drive to make an impact in other’s lives.

Life Experience #2.  I have three precious children, Lauryn (age 12), John David (age 10), and Emma (age 3).  Becoming a parent caused me to improve myself and work harder as a provider.  It also sharpened my desire to be a man of integrity and honor for my kids.  My leadership has improved in I am much more flexible with others and their family schedule.  My family time is an utmost priority and I encourage others to make it theirs.  Since my children are such a joy to me, I ask others about their children and family.  We connect regarding the issues of raising a family.  I am transparent and it has caused others I believe to better follow me as a leader.

Life Experience #3.  In 1998, I married my college sweetheart.  We had been close friends for many years prior to marriage.  She had been a very supportive Senior Pastor and Adjunct Instructor’s wife.  She is an excellent teacher herself.  After 5 years of marriage and with the stressors of having two children, she began to escape into affairs.  Many wounds of hers from childhood came to the surface and after desperately seeking to repair our marriage, we divorced in 2007.   Due to the divorce, I resigned as pastor and began a career in nonprofit.  The divorce had a profound impact upon my leadership in that I have become much more empathetic with those who have suffered tremendous loss.  I am more willing to take risks and not live in fear or anxiety.  My worst fears in life (affairs, divorce, the murder of a close friend, etc) came true and a huge weight was amazingly taken off of my back.  I am more relaxed, more confident, and more resilient than I have ever been.  I remarried and we have a good life together.  Life has not been easy but it has been one of grace, forgiveness, and hope.

Behavioral Leadership Style

In taking the Behavior Leadership Style questionnaire I was able to diagnose my leadership style according to the behavioral model of leadership.  I answered each question honestly and authentically.  I thought through the various leadership roles I have held as a youth (class president, Eagle Scout, Student Body President) and as an adult (Senior Pastor, District Executive, Director, etc.).  I worked to record the letter which most closely described my leadership style.

In evaluating the answers, I had a total score of 51 for initiating structure.  Having a score higher than 47 indicates I can describe my leadership style as high on initiating or task structure.  I do see myself as a planner, director, and organizer.  I disagree that I seek to control the work of others.  I only sometimes make clear the rules and procedures for others to follow in detail.  I seldom encourage the use of uniform procedures for others to follow in detail.  I only sometimes ask that others follow standard rules and regulations.

My total score for being a considerate leader was 50.  A score higher than 40 indicates I see myself as a considerate leader.  I always seek to be considerate of others, empathize with their emotions, and be a servant leader.  Servant leadership is my model for leadership and one I have always aspired to be.  A considerate leader is one who is concerned with the comfort, well-being, and personal welfare of their subordinates.  I believe my high score on this evaluation indicates I tend to be in charge of more productive teams than those whose leadership styles are low on an initiating structure and high on consideration.  I seek to follow the S.E.R.V.E. model of leadership from Chick-fil-A.  Their focus is on consideration and servant leadership.  It has proved to be incredibly successful for their business.  S.E.R.V.E. stands for:

S ee the future
E ngage and develop others
R einvent continuously
V alue results and relationships
E mbody the values

Conflict-Handling Styles

In taking the Conflict-Handling Styles, my scores were fairly even.  In the Forcing category, I scored a 26 or 17%.  In the Compromising category, I scored a 32 or 21%.  In the Avoiding category, I scored an 18 or 12%.  In the Accommodating category, I scored a 34 or 23%.  And in the Collaborating category, I scored my high score of 40 or 27%.   It appears I have a strong preference for the Collaborating category.  Collaborating category refers to high levels of cooperative and assertive behaviors.  It is the win-win approach to interpersonal conflict handling.  I seek to find maximum joint results.  This is interesting to me personally because my father is a Federal Mediator for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  We did a lot of collaborating in my home in my family of origin.  I am a very outgoing person who is always seeking to connect with others and overcome obstacles.  As a Senior Pastor for many years, I was always building coalitions to accomplish major projects in our church such as a major renovation project and a long-range strategic plan.  I love digging into issues and finding a solution which is truly a win-win for all parties involved.  I seek to interact with people regardless of social status and always show an authentic self to others.

Synthesis

Across all of the self-assessments, I found that I am an outgoing extrovert and who loves people.  I am rather agreeable and in conflict situations, I focus on collaboration.  Struggling with reading other’s emotions is a weakness and I have the need to work on interpreting body language better.  I am an optimist who sees the best in others but may miss disgruntled workers who are pessimistic and have internal anger.  Slowing down, listening better, and connection deeper emotionally are areas of needed focus. My overall leadership profile is one of a leader who seeks to motivate others, an extrovert who gains energy and insight from connecting with people and trying to be considerate of others.  I would work well with introverts who could assist me in reading others and their emotional state.

Plan

After reviewing my results, my goals for developing my Self-Competence are to read more in areas of emotional intelligence and reading others emotions.  My deadline for taking the Emotional IQ self-competency evaluation would be in three months on July 21, 2015.  I would measure my success at completing my goal in seeing if my scores have changed and improved.  I will also share this paper with my wife and others and ask their opinion.  I may pursue another volunteer position as a group leader at church to teach myself in these areas.  I will then re-take the Big Five personality test.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this self-evaluation of my self-competencies.  Learning about myself and seeing areas of improvement has been very beneficial.  I am proud of a number of areas of strength but at the same time see areas needing sharpening.  It proved to me to be a very worthwhile undertaking for my leadership skills.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Andy Williams says:

    Really interesting and thoughtful. I recognized the SERVE model from Chick-fil-a. Hope and pray that you are well brother!

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