Week 6 – Leadership Skills and Style

Leadership skills are always viewed as the key to success. However, cultivating leadership skills is not easy. I realized the importance of leadership skills many years ago. When I was in high school, I participated in a simulated business competition, and I became the leader of the team. I did not do this out of my choice. However, no one in our team was willing to take responsibility, including me, so I was forced to become the leader. Even though I was reluctant at first, I gradually put more and more efforts in it, especially when I saw positive results due to my leadership and my teammates’ contribution. We won third place, but the process was not trouble-free. The whole team met several difficulties and challenges. When trouble happened, I realized the importance of leadership. This is the first time that I learned how to become a leader, how to unite the whole team, and how to be responsible for the entire team.

After that business simulated competition, I decided to foster my leadership skills. When I studied at Pitt, I tried to take every chance. As a student in the CBA, I had many group projects every semester. I met group members with various personalities and different backgrounds. With people that I liked or I did not like, I tried to work and corporate with them in every situation. I became better at cooperation. However, I still met many cases and trouble that I could not solve. To have more experience and practice my leadership skills in other aspects besides academic career, I became the president of the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association last semester. As the president, I led the whole organization to hold the biggest during April. We also cooperated with the Chinese Student Association in CMU. From my experience, I had my understanding of leadership skills. As a leader, the ultimate aim is to unite the whole team to put efforts into the projects and work towards the common goal. Even though I tried to foster my leadership skills for several years, I still have a long way to go. In some situations, I still could not get a satisfactory outcome with my teammates. People have different perspectives and opinions, and no one wants to compromise. I sometimes also lose patience and make things worse. Therefore, I keep looking forward to learning more about leadership skills during this internship.

As a new intern in the workplace, I have not got many tasks which I should lead the whole team. What I did most was being a team member, communicating and cooperating with other people. Working for venture capital, I usually work with other colleagues and followed my supervisor to finish many tasks. Even though I did not lead much, I learned how other people led the whole team in the process. He gave me a different perspective on leadership. When I am a leader, I am trying to consider every piece of opinion, and then make a decision that everyone is satisfied. In this way, all team members feel that they are respected and considered. Under this situation, people are easier to get along well. However, it takes more time making the final decision because too much consideration becomes hesitation. However, my supervisor always needs to make much final decision within a short time. Therefore, he is more straight forward than I. When he got some opinions or thoughts that are impractical after his careful consideration; he always speaks out directly. Then, he passes this and works on the next one. This decisive way is more effective and efficient in some situations, especially when the whole team hesitates for a long time.

In the future, I will also try this new kind of leadership, which is more decisive because I met some difficulty and wasted much time due to hesitation in the past experience. For example, when I just became the president of the Chinese Undergraduate Student Association, I was afraid of being viewed as a tough person, so I wasted too much time coordinating different thoughts on the most significant event. Even though I spent much time, without one person taking the responsibility and making the final decision, all time is wasted. Therefore, this internship also improves my leadership skills indirectly, even though I did not lead the team to finish big tasks. Provided with a new perspective, I realize there is no single answer for the leadership.