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Personal Leadership Application (PLA) (1,000 – 1,500 words maximum)
Identify a challenge or opportunity for learning and growth related to your own personal leadership that you are presently facing in your workplace. If you are not working, you could consider your family context (i.e. nuclear or extended), or an organization with which you’re affiliated (i.e. community group), among others. Then, turn your gaze inward to better understand your role in it. What is most important is that the issue is, indeed, personal and immediate—something that you can work on internally, (i.e. alone). This is not a systems issue, or an organizational change project at this point—we will come to those later. Rather, it is a situation that you can improve by applying the leadership skills and knowledge that you will acquire this term. This is what we call a personal leadership application (PLA).
For the purpose of this PLA paper, it is important that you demonstrate reflective openness to a challenge/opportunity that can be shifted by applying your personal learning. As Senge (2006) suggested, “reflective openness leads to looking inward, allowing our conversations to make us more aware of the biases and limitations in our own thinking, and how our thinking and actions contribute to problems” (p. 261). Short’s (1998) notion of “learning from inside-out” (p. 35) also supports this. Past experience has shown that the issues are as diverse as the learners in the program and often involve observing yourself in relationship with others. Please observe yourself with a compassionate desire to learn and improve your personal mastery, not with a self-critical or judgmental eye.
In selecting your issue, ask yourself, does this PLA pertain to my quest for personal mastery? To further ground this in the literature, recall Senge’s (2006) suggestion that to view the enemy or the problem as being out there is itself problematic (pp. 17-26). With this in mind, choose a situation or pattern that impacts on you personally. What can change in this situation as a result of a change in your thinking, a change of your behaviours, your acquisition of knowledge, and/or your interactions with others? Ensure your PLA is small enough in focus that when the term is over, you will have a fresh perspective on the issue and new skills with which to implement new leadership behaviours in your workplace or other context you identified.
You may find the following questions helpful in framing your PLA.
What is the challenge/opportunity as you see it?
What role have you played in this challenge/opportunity? What roles have you not played?
In what ways, if any, is this PLA opportunity similar to past situations (i.e., do you see a pattern?)
What is your action plan? (i.e., describe what you will do in clear behavioural terms to actively work on this PLA during the first term).
Which course readings clarified your PLA for you? Why?
What might be the potential impact of your new actions on you, others, and organization/system?
What will others see, hear, and experience you doing in the online residency that will demonstrate that you are working on this PLA?
Please see Assignment 4: Self in Systems Analysis for more information on how you will reflect on your learning and growth related to this PLA toward the end of the term.
You will be asked to give a brief, oral summary of your PLA in your Advisee Team on the first day of the online residency.
Write this paper in the first person and follow the Assessment Criteria for Evidence-Based Argumentation.
Attach as Appendices the following:
Appendix A: Personal and Professional Vision (double spaced, maximum 300 words)
A leadership vision can shape your current and future life by articulating an image of the future you want to create. This is an opportunity to create a compelling personal and professional vision (or refine one that you have already written). This vision will be an integral part of managing your leadership and learning in this program and beyond. Your vision may or may not be deeply connected to your cultural identity or your life experiences in a particular community. Please write a summative statement (25 – 50 words) of your vision that will provide you with both a beacon and anchor for your personal and professional growth. Then include a deeper narrative of 200 – 250 words describing in more detail this image you wish to create for your future. You can refer to your activity 3.2.
Appendix B: Personal Values Grid (maximum two page chart)
Identify two to five core values that guide your life and career as a leader. Again, these values may or may not be drawn from your cultural identity or personal location.Then create a table that includes your meaning or definition of the value, why it is important to you, and how it will be reflected in your behaviour (actions that are observable to others). You may wish to present these in a chart such as the one included in activity 3.2. Pay particular attention to the related behaviours column, being sure to include observable behaviours which represent actions associated with living your values. For helpful suggestions that will facilitate identifying key values and operationalizing them, see Brown, 2018, pp. 188-197, 211; Kouzes & Posner, 2012, pp. 68-72.
Appendix C: Participation and Contribution Log
Your in-person and online participation will be assessed by your faculty advisor at the end of the term. Your participation and specific contributions reflect your ability to both enhance your learning and enable the learning of others. The aim of this activity is for you to take stock of your participation and contribution personally. Use the Participation and Contribution Log (Assignment 1) found in the Assessment Resources folder.
For Assignment 1, please submit one document which includes a title page for your assignment followed by your PLA essay, reference list and appendices. Note: for your ease of reference you can look at the Student Self-Assessment Assignments Checklists, which highlight key elements of each assignment and associated competencies.
Upload your Assignment 1 to the dropbox provided by the due date listed in the Activities Schedule. This will give you practice in using dropboxes as they are used for most course assignments.
Your faculty advisor will upload formative feedback on your assignment 1 to the assignment dropbox by the Saturday before the online residency begins.
Brown, B. (2018). Dare to lead: Brave work. Tough conversations. Whole hearts. Random House.
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2017). The leadership challenge: How to make extraordinary things happen in organizations(6th ed.). Jossey-Bass. (Retrieved from Ebook Central e-book database)*
Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. Currency Doubleday.
Short, R. R. (1998). Learning in relationship: Foundation for personal and professional success. Learning in Action Technologies