Last year, I was elected the Class Representative and was expected to act as the link between my classmates and the school administration, lecturers, and the other classes in the school. My role included maintaining order in the classroom and resolving issues affecting the classmates and other members of the school. I organized for and distributed learning materials provided by the lecturers to my classmates and submitted assignments to the respective lecturers. My followers were my classmates and they depended on me as their spokesperson. They expected me to update them with the school programs among other issues. The class comprised of 36 male and 38 female students.
I displayed the situational leadership theory throughout my reign as the class representative. The premise developed by Hersey and Blanchard postulates that different situations require leaders with varying skills (Shonhiwa 35). Moreover, a leader with certain leadership qualities cannot address different situations effectively. A person should align his or her leadership style to the demands of different situations. Furthermore, the theory requires leadership with a directive and supportive aspect to be applied appropriately in various situations (Shonhiwa 35). The requirement needed me to determine what was needed in a particular time or situation and evaluate my followers to determine how competent and committed they were to perform a given task or behave in a manner expected of them.
I applied the situational leadership theory since my followers were at the same development level. We had the common goal of performing well in class examinations to progress to the next education level. To execute my leadership roles effectively, I employed directive and supportive styles. I could direct my classmates on how they should conduct themselves in class. For instance, I could direct those who were causing disturbance through noise making or walking around unnecessary to stop doing so as they were making their colleagues uncomfortable. I directed my followers on how they should do their assignments, especially group tasks. I also guided them on how they should form groups to do assignments and determine when they should hand them over to me to present to the lecturers.
I employed a supportive leadership style whenever one of my classmates had some challenges. I could help the weaker members with the subjects or topics they did not understand. Whenever a student did not understand what was taught by the lecturers, they could approach me and I could help them or ask my colleagues to assist them. However, if their problem was beyond our ability, I would request the lecturer to propose a time when he or she could guide them. Similarly, I could support my colleagues who had financial or material challenges or those who had problems at home. I used to fundraise to help any of my followers who did not have money for transport or lunch. Whenever any of them was bereaved or sick, I could organize for their visitation by the class.
My application of situational leadership theory enabled me to identify some of my strengths and weaknesses. For instance, my directive strategy helped me bring order and calm in the classroom. Moreover, I was required to be a coercive leader who could tell my followers what to do (St. Thomas University). In addition, I had to ensure the classroom was favorable for learning as my vision. However, I did not build a participatory environment for my classmates, which made me an ineffective leader. Moreover, I imposed my classmates to specific assignment groups without a choice. Some of my classmates were dissatisfied since they had their favorite group members. The lack of consultation in the formation of these groups adversely affected the performance of some groups since some of their members did not contribute to the assignments. I was blamed for the poor performance and was later voted out from my leadership position. Nevertheless, I am recognized as one of the leaders who displayed exemplary supportive abilities. In fact, I was awarded at the end of the year for being concerned with the interests of my followers.
I also adopted the Leader-Member (LMX) Theory during the period I headed my class. Leader-Member (LMX) Theory dictates that the relationship between a leader and each of his or her followers should be considered independently instead of a relationship between the leader and the group of followers (Lunenburg 1). According to this theory, every linkage or relationship between the leader and a follower is likely to be different in quality. As a result, a leader may have a poor relational connection with some followers but have open and trusting relationships with others. The theory emphasizes a dyadic relationship between leaders and their followers, which leads to the empowerment of the leaders and the followers and makes them achieve their goals and that of an organization (Mapolisa and Kurasha 322). It also makes leaders and followers develop and maintain effective communication amongst themselves for positive outcomes to each and their organization.
In the exercise of my leadership role and application of LMX theory, I created the in-group and out-group. In-group members comprised my classmates who displayed good attitudes and supported my leadership strategies while the out-group members included those who were always against my leadership. My classmates and I underwent the mature partnership phase of leadership since we were all members of the same class with similar qualifications. As a result, we were bound together in a productive way and each of us was required to display respect and obligation to the rest. Since my classmates had known each other for several years since we joined the school, we did not go through the stranger and acquaintance phases. Even during my appointment for the leadership role, I never introduced myself to my colleagues during elections as we had known each other for long. In addition, there had been other students holding the class representative position before me.
According to the LMX leadership theory, I was an effective leader because my relationship with each of my classmates was dependent on how they behaved towards me. Leadership is a rapport between leaders and followers and creating the relationship demands an appreciation for the particular values of those who would be ready to offer their energy and talents to execute common objectives (Krishnan 15). As a result, placing my followers in in-group or out-group was dependent on how he or she worked towards the common goal of the class. Based on LMX theory, I was an excellent leader and there is nothing I would change.
As a leader, I have strengths that include being directive and supportive. My directive strength helps me to control my followers since I can determine what they should do and how they should conduct themselves. As a supportive leader, I can help my followers to tackle problems facing them. On the other hand, my weakness as a leader is that I do not give room for my followers to make decisions as a team. I can excel as a leader if I give room for my followers to participate in decision making. I would struggle leading if I fail to listen to those I lead since without their participation, I might make decisions that may adversely affect them and I would be blamed and removed from leadership positions. I am focusing to work on my dictatorial leadership traits to become a better leader. I will research in the library and online to determine ways through which I can become a leader who provides opportunities to those I lead. In addition, I will find a role model so that he or she can guide me in building my leadership capabilities.
Krishnan, Venkat R., “Leader-member exchange, transformational leadership, and value system.” Electronic Journal of Business Ethics and Organization Studies, vol. 10, no. 1 (2005), pp. 14-21.
Lunenburg, Fred C., “Leader-Member Exchange Theory: Another perspective on the leadership process.” International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, vol. 13, no. (2010), pp. 1-5.
Mapolisa, Tichaona, and Primrose Kurasha, “Leader-member exchange theory: A driver for open and distance learning (ODL) quality programme management at the Zimbabwe Open University.” International Journal of Asian Social Science, vol. 3, no. 2, (2013), pp. 321-333.
Shonhiwa, Caxton, “An Examination of the Situational Leadership Approach: Strengths and weaknesses.” Cross-Currents: An International Peer-Reviewed Journal on Humanities & Social Sciences, vol. 2, no. 2, (2016), pp. 35-40.
St. Thomas University, “What is Situational Leadership? How flexibility leads to success.” 25 November 2014, https://online.stu.edu/articles/education/what-is-situational-leadership.aspx. Accessed 14 June 2019.
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