My primary leadership model is being a servant leader. I try to be always giving time, energy, and resources to others. I want to serve first instead of lead first; this will inspire me to lead. Leaders that serve will grow, become healthier, and more inclined to serve others (Greenleaf, 1982). I enjoy this type of leader and I hope to be one of these leaders. My secondary leadership model is “model the way” from Kouzes and Posner Leadership Inventory (2003). I believe leaders need to stand for something, believe in something, care about something, and be the example they want others to follow.
I viewed myself as a leader before I came to Touro University Nevada (TUN) for the occupational therapy school. However, at TUN I developed into a stronger leader and learned from my mistakes as a leader. I wasn’t aware of all my strengths and weaknesses as a leader until I started to really stretch myself as a leader at TUN and also study it in our Leadership class. I knew there were different types of leaders, but I could not have categorized them. I didn’t realize the breadth of my own leadership; I tend to challenge the norms, and I lead by refusing to conform to what everyone else is doing. I usually stand out because of what I believe. One of my great strengths is my solid character; I choose to do the right thing, even under pressure. One of my weaknesses is my ineloquent public speaking; my nerves tend to get the best of me and I start fumbling my words. I have learned to realize this and I have to be extremely conscientious of my volume and tone of voice. One of my other strengths is I am goal oriented and can focus for long periods of time. This is something I learned about myself during the program. I have a better understanding of my strengths and weaknesses, but I hope to further improve this understanding.
My attitudes about leadership have changed. I have learned to be more self-started as a leader. I have led in the past, but I tend not to self-start or adapt to new experiences quickly. Here at Touro I volunteered for leadership positions; I have had to go outside my comfort zone, talk to many strangers, and provide leadership opportunities for myself. In the past, leadership opportunities seemed handed to me, but while I was a Touro I had to work harder to produce for these opportunities with fewer resources available. Instead of others delegating leadership opportunities to me, at Touro I had to create the leadership opportunities myself. It was hard to go out and find leadership opportunities, but it forced me to develop as a leader.
Through all my leadership experiences I have learned to be more confident in my decisions and to share my opinion. I have learned to take more risks as a leader, even when it uncomfortable. I have grown as a leader by better understanding my strengths and weaknesses and being more cognizant of them. I have learned to capitalize on my strengths and work on improving areas of weaknesses.
I have exercised servant leadership by organizing a donation drive to collect toiletries for abused women and children; I served by collecting the items and taking them down to the donation center. I also volunteered my time, effort and resources to serve as the Vice President of the Geriatric Interest Group. I’m committed to making time to provide opportunities to serve older adults, so I can serve the older adult population with other students. I believe in the importance of caring for the elderly and treating older adults with respect. I also learned to lead others, by trying to convince others to join our club on Club Day. I also displayed leadership when I talked to older adults about ceasing tobacco use. I served in my daily by having open conversation with co-workers and others and giving them practical steps to stop smoking. I led the way by not smoking myself and staying true to what I believe in.
- Greenleaf, R. (1982). The Servant as Leader. Robert C. Greenleaf Center.
- Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2003). Leadership Practices Inventory: Leadership Development Planner, San Francisco: Pfeiffer.