A successful leader should not be measured solely by their own success in being uplifted by others but rather in their capability to uplift others to a level equal to or superior to their own. In this, I have found that a true leader is able to recognize the abilities of their followers and aid in nurturing these skills for the betterment of the organization without mindfulness as to personal concern. By placing the organization first and the followers second, a true leader is then able to provide support to the staff that will promote the longevity and profitability of the organization. I have found that, although I take great pride in my own successes as a leader, the greatest sense of achievement through the visions of those whom I have mentored into positions of leadership. Through verbalizing this pride, I have gained the admiration and respect from other followers as they recognize my dedication to their success to be equal to or greater than my commitment to my own. It truly is a win-win situation when a leader can build this level of trust and commitment within a team as all members function to support one another in the common goal of promoting success within the organization.

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Building such a strong team has come through my own ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses within myself. By being transparent with my crew as to my areas of opportunity for improvement, I can also assert my strengths without being perceived as authoritative or egotistical. I am them able to present their areas of opportunity for improvement with a sense of empathy and understanding to which they positively respond. I believe that it is essential to this process for me to be able to discuss these strengths and weaknesses for many reasons openly. For instance, it shows that I am approachable and fosters a sense of teamwork within the group. It illustrates that I am aware of their contributions to the organization as well as any shortcomings that may need to be addressed. Above all, it shows that, just as I continue to learn and grow, I am willing and able to help them to do the same. This open discussion policy allows my team to see that I am honest and understanding as well as competent and consistent in my dedication to them and the organization.

Having worked under leaders who were unwilling to communicate their personal strengths and weaknesses as being comparable to their followers, I recognize the necessity to be both caring and capable. It is essential that I can present my role as a leader as being one that is well accomplished and deserving based on my professional knowledge and competence. It is important that my followers recognize my achievements in leadership to gain their respect and support in my decisions. However, although I understand the foodservice industry very well from a financial perspective, I am also aware that my followers have insights to add to my knowledge base. Balancing between leadership and being a member of the team is best achieved through showing a true commitment to the success of all of the members so long as their primary focus is on the overall common goal of the organization. In this, I find that I have successfully created a team atmosphere that promotes the goals of the organization while still maintaining an environment of professional growth for each of my team members.

In sum, I am a strong leader with exceptional knowledge and experience within my chosen industry. I have maintained profitability for the organization and clearly established the goals for my followers. However, I believe that it is important to acknowledge areas of opportunity for improvement as continued growth is critical to the longevity of a career. I address my followers in the same manner as I address my own strengths and weaknesses. I present these as opportunities rather than as obstacles. I believe that this shows my ability to empathize with my followers as we are all continuously learning and growing. This openness shows my integrity as I am open and honest about how we should move forward as a team. This practice presents my self-awareness as well as my competence as a leader. Finally, this shows my commitment to the organization as I work diligently to promote from within so that the organization will benefit rather than attempting to oppress the skills of my followers. By doing so, I have been able to mentor three individuals into positions of leadership while still maintaining growth within the organization. In my opinion, this is truly the illustration of a successful leader.