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An individual reflexive essay is the major summative assessment for the Leading the Organization course. It will be peer assessed. The Task This is an ideal time to reflect on what you have learned from this course and how you plan to integrate lessons learned into your leadership practice. The purpose of the assignment is to write an individual reflexive essay that demonstrates how you integrate and apply what you have learned about leading an organization. In your essay, you must describe three leadership practices that you would like to sustain and three practices that you would like to improve upon. You should reference the relevant academic literature and the work you have done in this course, particularly your reflexive journal entries. There are a range of practices and knowledge that you might consider. For example: • your personal leadership philosophy • creating a vision for your organization • developing a plan for your first ninety days or developing a similar plan for new people in your organization • your decision making • how you develop strategy • how you recognize and deal with workplace culture • how you build your team(s) • how you deal with crisis • sustaining your organization over the long term There are many more. Structuring your Individual Reflexive Essay Full instructions for structuring your Individual Reflexive Essay and what is to be included under each heading will be included for you in the Final Assessment section. However, the basic structure to be adopted is: Part One: Introduction (approximately 100 words) Part Two: Three Practices I Plan to Sustain (approximately 900 words) Part Three: Three Practices I Plan to Improve (approximately 900 words) Part Four: Conclusion (approximately 100 words) You will also be marked on Presentation: Ordering, flow, structure and referencing (Criterion Part Five). You must use appropriate referencing – APA 6th Style Guide. Please note referencing conventions for BUSLEAD2x lecture videos are included under the ‘Course Content Video’ section. (Referencing is not included in the assignment word count). We encourage you to draw on all the activities you have undertaken throughout this course to assist you in developing your Individual Reflexive Essay. Your response should be 1500 – 2000 words in length. Your peer assessors are under no obligation to read or assess any words over this limit. Submit your response by uploading a pdf version of your plan. Tips! When answering the question ensure that you: • Demonstrate an understanding of the key issues, concepts, theories and methodologies introduced in this course. • Discuss the implications for practice. • Incorporate critical reflection of relevant literature. • Refer to the marking criteria for further detail. The Process for the Peer Assessment You will be provided with a marking rubric for this assessment. You are then asked to do practice assessments on two sample responses. Compose your own response. Submit your own response and then provide an assessment of four (4) responses from your peers. A rubric is provided to help you to write your submission and to assess the writing of others. It is provided multiple times during the process. Please consult the rubric as needed, both during the writing process and during the peer assessment. Once you have completed the required assessments, you will receive your grade from peers. This will be the median mark from three (3) peers. **It is important to allow sufficient time to write your own submission, assess others’ submissions and be assessed by your peers. Honor Code It should go without saying, but we would like to remind you of the first point in the edX Honor Code Pledge: By enrolling in an edX course, I agree that I will complete all mid-terms and final exams with my own work and only my own work. I will not submit the work of any other person. Please make sure that any work you submit for this assignment contains your own ideas and writing. Cite information that needs citation and acknowledge all research appropriately. Peer Assessment As you review the work of your peers, it’s important to understand and recognize the challenges created by peer assessment. As you read the work of others, be kind and considerate. Please remember that this is a course that contains participants from all over the globe with different levels of expertise in both writing and the content. Reward the honest effort of students and do your best to provide a fair appraisal of their writing. We ask you to focus on the elements of the rubric and mark accordingly. Marking The entirety of the two practice peer assessments (5% each) and the final peer assessment (30%) is worth a total of 40% of your overall mark in the course. While peer assessment is an online learning tool that we are excited to share with you, we realize that we cannot control the exact grade you will get as a result of this process. However, your ability to pass this course should not be jeopardized by this process or this assignment. Instead of focusing on the exact grade you earn in the course, it’s more important to focus on the learning you have completed throughout the course. Introduction This individual reflexive essay describes my own leadership practices in relation to key concepts and theories offered in the UQ Business Leadership course, Leading the Organization. In this essay, I identify and describe three practices that I wish to sustain and three that I wish to improve in order to help me perform better as a leader of an organization. I will also illustrate how I have integrated the key concepts from the course into my overall leadership practice and how I believe this will serve me in my future work. Three practices I wish to sustain There are three leadership practices that I believe I currently demonstrate when leading an organization. Upon reflection throughout the course, I believe these practices have served me well and I think that with some consideration and modification, I can continue to use these practices effectively as a leader. The three practices I wish to sustain are articulating vision, making decisions, and developing strategy. I will now describe each of these. Firstly, I have always been described as a visionary leader, able to inspire others to follow a new path into the future. I consider myself a very passionate and expressive person and I have been told that I am a good storyteller. When I have held leadership positions, I have worked hard to give my team stretch goals, an inspiring view of our potential future, and clear milestones that we focus on achieving along the way (Zaccaro & Banks, 2001). While I appreciated learning about what it means to create a vision from the course, I believe that I can continue to refine my practice of creating and communicating a vision to help my team succeed. Secondly, I have received feedback during my career that indicates that I am a good decision maker. On one specific occasion, I was given the lead for developing a new marketing plan for our team. I collaborated with my team members, other teams, our firm’s marketing department, and our customers to better understand our challenges and the solutions available to us. When we considered all of our options and compared possible outcomes, we were able to deliver a marketing plan that increased our sales by thirty percent in the first year. While I feel confident in my decision-making abilities, I also realize that I need to stay alert for biases and mental traps that can cloud my thinking or create flaws in my logic.(Harvey, 1974; Janis, 1972; Kahneman, 2011; Kahneman & Tversky, 2013; Taleb, 2007) Thirdly, I believe I demonstrate good practices when it comes to strategy and I wish to sustain this over time. Over the past several years, I have sought to involve myself in strategy sessions, strategy development workshops, and strategy feedback sessions at my company. I have embarked on a journey of personal development to bolster my understanding of strategy and how to strategize. I have also received laudatory feedback on my annual performance appraisal for my willingness and contributions to strategy development within my firm. In particular, I think I have a firm grasp on identifying where and when to play in our marketplace. (Lafley & Martin, 2013) I also like to use the concept of the ‘Blue Ocean Strategy’ (Kim & Mauborgne, 2014) when trying to identify new markets for our products. If I can continue to sustain my practice of and grow in my experience with strategy, I believe I will continue to be a valuable member of our management team. While there are some aspects of additional practices that I believe I should sustain, the practices of vision, decision-making, and strategy are three that I feel most confident about. This confidence stems from both formal feedback I have received during my performance reviews as well as informal feedback from my team members and peers. As long as I do not become overconfident and continue to seek personal improvement, I believe that sustaining these practices will be beneficial for my own leadership practice and for my team and organization as a whole. Three practices I wish to improve There are three practices I believe I should concentrate on in order to become the best leader I can be. While I have not received direct feedback on my performance of these practices, upon deep personal reflection, they are the ones I feel are most lacking in my leadership practice. The three practices I wish to improve are my leadership philosophy, integrating new people (the first ninety days), and building my team. Firstly, I believe that I have been unclear in my own personal leadership philosophy. While I have intuitively known what is important to me as a person and somewhat as a leader, I have not taken the time to actually sit down and clearly identify and articulate to others what my leadership philosophy is. In module one of the course (Preparing to Lead), I was struck by the amount and depth of preparation that is truly necessary in order to be ready for a leadership position. While I think I have a good understanding of who I am and what I care about, I realize that I have never undertaken the exercise of writing this down in a way to help me and my team understand where I am coming from. This simple (but important) step of developing a leadership philosophy (O’Quinn, 2018b) has helped me have a re-invigorated discussion with my team about who we are and what we should be achieving as a team. I realize though, that I have much more work to do in this realm. Therefore, I plan to continue to refine my leadership philosophy as I continue in my current team leader role. That way, when I get the chance to move up into a new leadership position, I will have a more clearly defined set of ideals to communicate with those around me. Secondly, I believe that I need to improve upon my practice of integrating new people into my team. After hearing about the ‘first ninety days’ (Watkins, 2003), I got a better understanding of what I should be doing for other people as they join our company. In the past couple of years, our team has had two new members join us. When they came to the organization, although they had experience in the industry, it was obvious that they needed help becoming fully operational team members in our company. As a leader, I thought my job was to familiarize them with the human resources department, the company mission and values, and let them know what our team’s purpose was in the overall organization. Now I see that integrating new people is much more complex and that as a leader, I should be doing so much more. For example, I should be building an onboarding plan for all new recruits that shows them not only what goes on in our team, but also what goes on in the rest of the company. Furthermore, I should be trying to help new recruits build relationships with members of other teams in order to help the recruits and our team to perform better. In fact, I should not only be helping new recruits with this process, I should also be doing the same as leader! I realize now that I could be scheduling my own ’90 lunches’ (O’Quinn, 2018a) all the time to better understand what is going on in our company through interactions with my fellow team leaders, department heads, and even the boss. I believe that if I work to improve upon integrating new team members and myself, I will deliver better results as a leader in my organization. Thirdly, I seek to improve my practice of building my team. Upon reflection after module 8 (Building Your Team), I realize that I have not focused on the right aspects of building my own team. Specifically, last year I was involved in the recruitment and selection of one of my team members. As a member of the hiring panel, I was partly responsible for helping to select who would join my team. While we advertised the position with a position description, and reviewed and interviewed a group of potential candidates from a pool narrowed by our human resources department, we did not clearly identify or communicate what we were hiring for. That is, we did not clearly describe how we understood the work to be done and we did not understand how the candidates understood the work either (Sandberg, 2018). The end result of this was that we hired a person who struggled in the position and was subsequently fired. If we had taken the time to correctly understand the work and communicate that to applicants, we would have saved ourselves an immense amount of subsequent pain. When I reflect on this experience after module 8, I realize how much more time and effort is needed in building teams. It is for this reason that I seek to improve this practice. Conclusion Leading the Organization has given me many new insights about my own leadership practices. Through the scenario videos, lectures, activities, and resources I have learned many new theories about leadership. In particular, having to reflect after each module and capture my thoughts in a journal has caused me to better understand and apply the lessons to my own situation. The process of compiling these reflections into this final reflexive essay has also built upon my learning and given me a plan of action for what I intend to sustain and what I plan to improve upon in my leadership practices. I wholeheartedly believe that I am a better leader as a result of this course and my team and wider organization will benefit from my personal growth. Harvey, J. B. (1974). The Abilene paradox: The management of agreement. Organizational Dynamics, 3(1), 63-80. Janis, I. L. (1972). Victims of groupthink: a psychological study of foreign-policy decisions and fiascoes. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow: Macmillan.