Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Leadership and followership

3 Reviewing your own leadership experience

Reviewing your own leadership experience provides a personal starting point for this course, allowing you to develop a clearer idea of what to do next as you learn more about the different facets of leadership.

A word cloud incorporating words such as leadership, creativity, experience and risk.
Figure 3 Key words that capture the essence of leadership.

There are numerous situations or contexts in which you might have developed your leadership skills. Here are just a few:

  • undertaking a leadership role in the workplace either for a project or team
  • organising a fundraising event or social gathering
  • mentoring someone
  • volunteering to lead a project or a group within your local community
  • taking responsibility in your home due to the illness of a parent or guardian
  • being captain of a sports team
  • holding a committee position within a university society
  • leading a group project as part of your course.

Rebecca Fielding adds her ideas about ways to build your leadership experience both within and outside of the workplace.

Download this video clip.Video player: lf_1_video_week1_section3_fielding.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

REBECCA FIELDING:
There's lots of ways to build your leadership experience up. And that can be absolutely in a voluntary and non-work based capacity before you get into work. So I'll move on to work shortly, because you can start building up your leadership experience once you've got a job, of course. But beforehand, if you're studying or you're not working yet, there's lots of ways to do it. You can volunteer. You can get involved in projects. Putting your hand up is the most important element of leadership. So essentially, putting your head above the parapet, volunteering, and saying I'll do that, I'll get involved- that's the fundamental essence of leadership. It's putting yourself above others and saying, I'll take on responsibility. I'll deliver something. I'll make something happen. In your studying capacity, that can be offering to lead a piece of work if you're working collaboratively with other students. It can be about taking on additional responsibilities. It could perhaps be about joining a club or a society. Maybe you are going to join a netball team, or a football team, or a sports team of some kind. Can you take on a leadership role there? It doesn't necessarily need to be captain. There are plenty of people who want to be treasurers as well as captain. And I think people often think leadership means that you have to be a real rabble rouser. You have to be great with people and happy to present to hundreds or dozens or thousands of people, even. Actually, some of the best leaders are thoughtful. They're quiet. They're people in the background, people who are treasurers or membership directors. So those kind of things can happen at your local church. They can happen in your local mosque. They can happen in sports groups. They can happen with youth volunteering. They can go down to your local school or your local library and offer to support people with reading. There are so many things that you can do that can demonstrate and develop those leadership skills even before you get into work. And the principle, essentially, of putting your hand up, and putting yourself out there and taking a risk- which is, for me, the fundamentals of leadership and learning as you go- extend right into the world of work as well. So if you go into work, and you can see something that's not quite right and need to be done, offer to do it, or simply do it. As a leader of an organisation, that is one of the most wonderful qualities that you look for in your team members- someone who can see a problem, solves it, and makes a difference. So put your hand up for employability groups, employer voice groups, employee committees, extra projects, opportunities to get involved. But at the most basic level, look for opportunities every day. Just make little differences. That's what leadership is all about. And you can start doing that right now.
End transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 4 provides some prompts to help you to reflect on your experiences.

Activity 4 Reviewing your leadership experience

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Use the space below to note any occasion, role or activity that has involved you leading in some way. If you were part of a leadership group, think about your specific role.

For each of your examples, ask yourself the following questions:

  • If you asked the other people involved who was the leader – would they have said it was you?
  • Did you make a conscious decision to take a leadership role or did the situation evolve around you?
  • Did you enjoy being the leader?
  • Is there anything you would have done differently?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

The context in which you took on the leadership role may have influenced your perception of the experience. For example, if it felt like a negative experience that was forced upon you, you may be underestimating how much you learned from it. Try to detach your emotions and view the experience more analytically.

Maybe you took on the challenge expecting to fail or dislike the role, but you surprised yourself. Look for a new experience that pushes you further.

Perhaps you sought out the experience but felt disappointed by the outcome. Think about why you feel dissatisfied. Would others agree with your assessment?

Don’t worry if you don’t yet have many examples. Later in the course you will look at ways to build your leadership experience.

Asking yourself if you would have done anything differently is a useful learning tool.

Reflecting on your experiences so far is one aspect of identifying your starting point for this course. Another is to consider your aspirations, and in the next section you’ll reflect on your reasons for choosing the course.

LF_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371