My name is Manuela Scognamiglio, I am a third-year student at Bocconi University, Milan, enrolled in the Bachelor in International Economics and Management. I am currently doing my Erasmus program in Bogazici University, Istanbul, and taking Human Behaviour in Organizations here. It is about leadership, not only as a concept per se but as a characteristic that affects each and every one of us in our daily life.
Five friends and myself engaged in a questionnaire for evaluating my leadership style, emotional intelligence, locus of control, taking charge of change and political skill. I will analyse the results obtained, distinguishing me from the others, to then be able to set the targets I have in terms of improving my leadership skills as well as the action steps to reach those targets.
As far as my leadership style is concerned, I appear to be a transformational leader rather than a transactional one. Transformational leadership is defined as the special ability to bring about innovation and change by recognizing followers’ needs and concerns. If we combine the results (me and others), I obtained the highest values for Individualized Consideration (4.28/5) and Inspirational Motivation (4.73/5). In fact, by nature, I always think about what other people may want to do or the way they would like me to act. I take others into consideration and rarely think for myself alone, especially if we are talking about family and friends. I think of relationships as real commitments, in which both parties work for the other’s personal growth. Considering now the results separately, there is a discrepancy between my answer for Inspirational Motivation and the others’ answer: 5 against 4.45. It is the only parameter for which my result is higher. Inspirational Motivation consists of inspiring and empowering followers to enthusiastically pursue challenging goals and a mission. Hence, the reason for this difference might be that I don’t usually tell people what to do or what not to do. I am the first one they can look for when it comes to asking for help or advices; I willingly accompany them but I don’t manage them. Another significant difference lies in the Idealized Influence – Attributed: “go beyond self-interest for the good of the group”. The results for me and others were respectively 3/5 and 4.35/5. For the same reasons I listed above, I am more in line with the higher result. The latter concept and Idealized Influence – Behaviour are part of the broader category Idealized Influence, also known as charismatic leadership. It all consists about creating, as a leader, a sense of identification with a shared vision, and instil pride and faith in followers. Personally, I don’t consider myself as a fully charismatic leader, at least not as much as others do. In social situations, I usually tendto not impose my decision but be compliant with what others want to do. However, I never remain silent when it comes to discussing about something and my friends always show they care about my opinion. As far as the communication with followers, the intensity of emotions and the role model aspects of charismatic leadership areconcerned, I may call myself a charismatic leader. Transactional leadership is also known as managerial leadership and focuses on disciplinary power and an array of incentives to motivate employees to perform at their best. From the results on the graph, it seems I have more margin of improvement if we look at my transactional leadership skills. It is probably worth mentioning the gap in the Contingent Reward results, where I obtained 3.25/5 while the others evaluated me at 4/5. If we focus on the explanation of the term, it is about rewarding followers’ efforts contractually, telling them what they are expected to do for obtaining the reward and punishing them in case they behave in the wrong way. In other words, it consists on providing others with assistance in exchange for their efforts. I don’t personally see relationships as “transactions”, in which you have to give something in exchange for something else, it is not about rewards, but rather about you being involved willingly. For both Passive Management-by-Exception and Laissez-Faire, the results are close to 1 (1.5 at most), which means I would take action before things go wrong or when important issues arise.
Switching now to Emotional Intelligence, it is defined as the ability to identify and regulate emotions in the self and others and has five components: self-awareness (ability to recognize your moods, emotions and their effects on others), self-regulation (ability to control disruptive impulses), motivation (passion to work for reasons beyond money and status), empathy (ability to understand emotional make-up of others) and social skill (proficiency in managing relationships and building networks). Comparing the results, there is not a big discrepancybetween myself and others. All of them are between 3.75 at least to 4.55 at most. Indeed, emotions play an important role in my life, they shape my way of behaving and going through situations. I have a good control over them though, especially when it comes to handle anger. Furthermore, I usually empathize with the people I am with. I spend quite some time observing what happens around me and this has made me able to understand what people are thinking and how they are feeling. Another interesting analysis is that of the concept of Locus of control, defined as the belief that one’s success depends on ability rather than luck. This is where (in this second table) there is the most significant difference between my evaluation (3.5/5) and the others’ (4.15/5). One possible explanation is I am very strict with myself but try to be confident and positive when with people. I am the one that praises the group because I strongly believe this is the way to succeed. Still, when it comes to judging myself “in front of the mirror”, I am never satisfied and often think I could have done better. Considering now the take in charge of change, referring to the expertise to make constructive suggestions for improving how things are operated, the average result obtained is 3.44/5. I am a change-oriented person, willing to improve myself as well as the situation I am facing. Yet, if it is easier for me to come up with constructive suggestions, it isn’t to elaborate creative solutions.