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You'll remember that we're using a common basic task for the Project assignments in all Modules -- that is, the use of online personal management assessments, aimed cumulatively at constructing a personal inventory of your management skills and a plan for improving those skills. This time it's a little more complicated, with two assessments instead of just one. Don't worry; they're both pretty short and sweet.
Specifically, for the Session Long Project for this Module, you are to explore some aspects of your leadership behavior, in conjunction with your organizational situation. First, take a look at your personal leadership behavior. There are many different variations on leadership styles and categories; none is uniformly regarded as correct, all have something to contribute. Don Clark's leadership style survey is a relatively simple but reasonably comprehensive variation on the theme. You can access this survey online http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/survstyl.html
(note that as in some of the other surveys the scoring is not online; you will probably need to print out the survey to use it effectively.) It doesn't take long to complete, and it's quite interesting in terms of the results. You should consult Clark's chapter on the leadership dimensions for help interpreting your results http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadstl.html.
As we noted in the introduction this module, leadership does not take place in a vacuum, but rather in a real organizational context. Behavior that is highly effective in one context and set of political relationships can be less than functional in others. So while it's helpful to understand your own preferences, it's also helpful to look at the context and to compare them. So the second step in this project assignment is to complete a profile of the organization in which you work (please feel free to draw also on the organizational culture information that you generated in the last Module's project assignment if it helps here). Dr. Gary Lawson has this short organizational behavior survey to briefly profile the context within which you work.
As before, it's scored in a paper and pencil fashion. The categories of workplace description that it generates are fairly self-explanatory.
The final step in this assignment, preparatory to writing it all up is for you to sit down and look at the organizational profile and your leadership profile side-by-side -- and try to make some decisions about whether they match effectively. You won't be scored down if they don't, of course; this is all about learning and self-exploration.
When you have completed this comparison, think about it for a bit; then prepare a discussing the following points:
- a brief summary of your experiences taking the surveys
- the degree to which your leadership profile indicated by the survey fits your self-image, or constitutes a surprise in some ways
- what you can infer from this survey about your particular strengths in terms of leadership
- any areas in which the survey suggested that you might be able to improve
- the degree to which the organizational profile results were consistent or not with your understanding of your workplace, and your understanding of what this context says about the ability of leaders to function effectively within it
- what specific steps you could take to strengthen your overall managerial competence, based on the new insights that you have gained from this survey-- be as specific as you can, in the interests of getting the most value from the exercise for yourself.
Your overall opinion of these surveys as a measure of things related to personal managerial competence -- what it measures well, anything that you believe it does not measure well or at all.
Any overall comments you care to make as to why is it important for managers to understand their leadership patterns and the contexts in which they are exercised better.