Leadership roles and effective communication skills in these roles are critical in all areas of life whether the individual is in a leadership position or in a position whereas group functions and meetings are a necessary part of the task. It is important to recognize one’s own weaknesses and areas of improvement in these roles in order to continue to grow in an effective manner. Although it is easy to think that one is able to communicate in at least a functional capacity, it is important to recognize the differences between been functioning and being an effective communicator. Regardless of the willingness to complete a task or be successful, not fine tuning leadership and communication skills will likely undo any positives that are created from basic personal motivation. From this course I have learned my areas of weaknesses as a leader, and the importance of improving my skills as a leader in relation to my family, community, and future prospects of employment.

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At the beginning of this course, I was already aware of my weaknesses in regards to communication and my lack of being an effective listener. This had been brought to my attention and I had noted this several times in my life. However, I was not aware of the methods of improvement which I learned throughout the group sessions and through the Personality Type Assessment that was conducted during the group work session. From this, I learned to speak to other group members and to tackle my fear of online group meetings. This was a big step for me as I am very introverted and have difficulties socializing with others, especially people I do not know well. However, I recognize that this is critical in my roles in life as a member of a large family and an active community member. This will also help me greatly in the business world as online communications and interacting with new individuals will likely be an integral part of my daily routine.

In my present daily routine, I have regular interactions with my friends, family, and fellow students. Additionally, there are constant areas of other business that I am attending to such as school work and other functions that I participate in. I have found that I often let these other areas distract me during my interactions with others and that this often makes me come across as if what others are saying is not important to me. This, of course, is not the case, but I simply tend to let other distractions take over in my mind and then, as a result, fail to be an effective listener and an active participant of the conversation. In order to improve this area of communication, I have found that I need to look away from my computer and look at the person who is speaking to me. This will allow me to fully take in what they are saying and also make them aware that I consider the conversation to be an important part of my daily routine. My making the speaker a priority and making certain that they are aware that I am doing so, the communication will likely expand and the conversation will be more enjoyable for all parties that are involved. This will improve the conditions of communication with my family and in my community.

In terms of employment, both present and in the future, this course has made me aware of the importance of actively participating within a group setting. Again, my main opportunity for improvement is in listening and this will benefit my career in numerous aspects. Specifically, in relation to this course, I have learned that I can not merely be a part of a group but I must also be an effective listener, communicate my own position, and be very active in the happenings of the group setting. This not only includes the need to be a better listener, but also to be a better speaker as well. I learned that it is important to speak up and voice my concerns and my opinions in order to gain the most benefit out of the group setting. For example, when setting the time for our group members I had yet to discover the importance of speaking up. This negatively impacted my ability to participate and benefit from the group meeting as I agreed upon the time that was convenient for others in the group but did not express that this time frame did not work for my schedule. By accepting the time frame, I was obligated to attend the meetings at a time that made my schedule very hectic and only allowed me twenty minutes to meet before I had to rush off to attend to yet another commitment. I truly could have gained more and offered more to the group goals if I had simply had the initiative to speak up at the beginning of this course.

Another area that I could have added more to the group was through motivational techniques. I do not feel that I grew in this area through the group as I did not press for information as to the reasons that people would miss the meetings. I did not portray the importance of these meetings nor did I try to gain more participation from others within the group. Motivation is an important part of leadership as well as a task that should be taken on my every member of a group. Without motivation and a desire to motivate others, one member, regardless of their role, can not be effective in a group setting. In the future, through actively speaking up, I plan to take this role more seriously and press to motivate others in my group.

In this course, I have learned the importance of communication skills such as actively listening and speaking up when necessary. I intend to continue to work on these skills in both my personal and professional life in order to improve my relationships in both of these areas. Listening better will help me to better understand what is being said to me and to react in a more effective way. My reactions could improve my chances of greater opportunities and stronger relationships. Improvement in my ability to speak up when necessary will help me to better arrange my schedule so that I may give my undivided attention to the task at hand rather than being distracted by time constraints. Verbally expressing my concerns and needs in a situation will not only help me but will also help others in my group by giving them the benefit of my attention and increasing my ability to actively and effectively listen to what they have to say. Also, I will be more likely to be a better motivator as the tasks and goals of the group will be my priority at that time rather than the other distractions that presently loop through my mind as I am trying to pay attention. This will be a work in progress. I do not anticipate waking up tomorrow and being a more effective communicator or a perfect leader. However, through what I have learned throughout this course, I do anticipate being able to move in the right direction towards improvement in these areas.