Well, it’s finally started and I am very excited about the prospects and yet filled with a degree of trepidation of the unknown. It’s been many years since I have formally studied so I will need to learn new skills and upgrade old ones. I must say that my biggest concern is the issue of academic writing. Personally, I have found a lot of academic writing to be boring and just not written in a manner that engages the reader. Not me anyway. The styles that I have seen are very much unlike my conversational tone and I am slightly concerned about this. I will be working hard on adapting and particularly learning the skill around referencing my work.
The introduction to the subject has initiated looking at several different leadership styles. These are all covered in the textbook, Leadership: Theory and Practice International Student Edition by Peter G. Northouse. I elected to get the electronic version as opposed to the paper copy. I prefer electronic versions of any book as I can take them with me on my iPad wherever I go. I also love the fact that I can drag my finger across any number of words or lines of text and highlight it for future reference.
All my previous ebooks are on my Kindle app, but it seems textbooks use the Vitalsource Bookshelf app as their base. It’s odd how we are resistant to change in small ways at times. Vitalsource scrolls down the page whereas Kindle scrolls sideways, at least on my iPad. I find the latter to be more natural as it’s like reading a book. Of course, the Vitalsource system is the same as reading a webpage. Both systems provide for the ability to export highlights and notes which is very useful for filing away. One piece of advice that came up just yesterday in a webinar was in regard to note-taking. That advice was to pick one of two systems. Either paraphrase your notes or record them exactly from the source. If you mix and match, you may well end up including an unreferenced note in an assignment and be in breach of academic integrity standards. Because I’m a big highlighter with reading, I will stick with the direct quote system and paraphrase when writing.
The First Assignment
The first assignment was set for us in the week 1 work. It is titled Leadership – Self Reflection. A lot of the reading for the first week was around some of the base leadership styles. Basically, the main two were trait leadership and skills leadership. Essentially the difference between the two is that trait theory supports the idea that leaders are born and not made. Skills leadership on the other hand supports the theory that leaders are the product of their environment and learning. I would be a supporter of the latter theory but I also recognise that we all do have some inherent traits that can be useful in leadership.
The assignment was to focus on a reflection of my personal leadership based on the behavioural approach. This theory focuses on what leaders do, or how they behave as opposed to what traits or skills they have. It examines the concept that a leader exercises two different styles which are either task-oriented or relationship-oriented. I am a personal believer that leadership requires a mix of both styles and was pleased to find that when I completed the survey that my scores were equal for both task and relationship. Leadership is always situational and it depends on the situation as to how you are able to lead. That said, I still take the view that relationships are critical in leadership as they engender trust and respect. These are the two characteristics that are the glue that binds the task and relationship styles.
My assignment is due on Tuesday, but I have already submitted it and am moving on to the next module. I am happy with my work, and now it is up to others to assess what I have written.
It’s been a remarkable first week. When I introduced myself to my online learning facilitator, Kerry Kingham, in the forums, I made mention that I have a thirst for knowledge. I went on to say that I was hoping this course would quench that to some extent. Kerry replied that I would feel as if I was drinking from a fire hose. She was certainly right about that! I must also say that I have found all of the staff at the Australian Institute of Business to be great people. They are all committed to your success and want to help as much as possible. This is a considerable difference from my original expectations that you would be set the work and left to your own devices.
It’s been a great start to the course and I am now more excited than ever about what the future holds.