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My Development as a Future Leader

What is a leader?

Everyone will have their own interpretation of ‘leadership’, Fairholm (2015) quoted it as ‘we know it when we see it’. Hopkin (2015) suggest that ‘great leaders are made, not born’, even if a person is born with certain skills and talents, he still need to develop and improve those traits to become a real leader. Different leadership styles also consist of different traits and elements. There is no real definition or a standard as to what is a leadership.  John Maxwell (2016) then levelized the leadership styles to help the leaders for further development. In my opinion, this levelized leadership does help me to assess myself to become a better leader.


Level 1: Position

It is the lower level of leadership as everyone can be appointed to a position. This level does not require ability or effort to achieve, and they will only have subordinates but not team members because they mostly rely on rules and regulations to control the people. (Maxwell 2016)

Level 2: Permission

In this level, the leaders gain followers based on relationship where they give the ‘permission’ for the leaders to lead. Maxwell (2016) suggest that the leaders in this level needs to get to know his people and gain respect by develop positive influence in them because you cannot lead without understanding your people.

Level 3: Production

In this level, leaders need to produce result to gain trust and credibility through self-discipline, work ethics and organizations and skills (Surji 2015). In addition, the leaders also need to assist the team to generate result as well. People still follow not only because relationship, but also the result produce by the leaders give trust and credibility.

Level 4: People Development

Since people is the most important assets, leaders must be able to grow others into leaders as well by investing time, money and thinking on them (Maxwell 2016). In level 4, leaders shift their focus on producing result to developing others, the role also change from producers to developers (Surji 2015)

Level 5: Pinnacle

The leaders in this level lead extremely well for a long time that they have create a legacy of relationship in the organizations and they are conspicuous among others (Surji 2015). The Pinnacle leaders lifts the level of the whole organization and create environment that benefits every follower (Maxwell 2016). Their leadership gains a positive reputation where people follow them because of who they are.

Me as a leader – To understand more about my leadership styles and for future development, I have done personal traits test as well as peer reviews test.

Johari window is one of the theories which can provide useful insights on self-awareness and understanding (Saxena 2015). This model does help me on identifies very two important things: seeking for feedback and disclosure of self. However, it does not mean to open self entirely but to let others know more about yourself, in order to identify the best ways to work and communicate with you (Deiss 2017). I find out that I have a lot of ‘blind spot’ traits which not known to myself and ‘dependable’ scores the highest among all the traits. Now I only realize that my most of my team members think that I am reliable and trustworthy, this eventually raise my confidence level and to be more responsible. This model provides great information for my future development as I can try to explore these traits and work the best out of it.

Myers Briggs personality test

An advocate is the combination of introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging. An advocate manager does not like to use power to gain followers, instead they prefer encouraging and helping others. They tend to ensure their subordinates feel valued and happy. My leadership experience mainly comes from my secondary school times, I always focus on development of my subordinates, rather than my personal honor. Furthermore, in group work, I often more concern on what we have learned and not the results. However, there is weakness of advocate personalities as mentioned in the test results, the main criticism is that advocate is very sensitive especially when someone criticize or negate their principles or values. Furthermore, advocates are extremely private and do not easily trust a new friend.

Steps to develop leadership

1.Identify the preferred leadership styles

In previous blog, I mentioned that my preferred style is transformational leadership. The leadership consist of 4 main components which are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration (Bass 1990). From Myers Briggs personalities test, advocate has some link with this leadership style. For example, advocate and transformative leaders both focus on development of followers and always helping to improve subordinates (individualized consideration) (Reza 2019). Transformative leaders provide a clear vision and sense of belongings to motivate followers (idealized influence) (Smikle n.d.) while an advocate also emphasize on making their subordinates to feel valued and happy.

2.Identify self-weakness and overcome

However, to become a transformative leader, the main step I need to do is to overcome the weakness as an advocate. The two biggest weaknesses of advocate are also the opposite of two other major components (inspirational motivation & intellectual stimulation) of transformative leaders. Intellectual stimulation emphasizes on ‘open environment’. An open environment is created based on follower’s creativity and innovative, the followers are free to express opinion and reflecting the decision by leaders (Gonfa 2019). A sensitive advocate may not easily accept the criticism or negative reflection by the subordinates. Furthermore, extremely private advocate may find it hard to achieve ‘inspirational motivation’ as advocate may not easily trust someone. An advocate rarely shares his belief and goals which hard to motivate the followers to proceed in the same way.

3. Self-reflection and steps to change

In my opinion, I should be more acceptable for others’ reflection and criticism and this is the traits I need to improve as it is not known to others based on Johari windows. Furthermore, I should start sharing my views and beliefs to my team members and try to motivate them to the same goals. This is an important component on my way to transformative leadership because even my team members feedback stating that I am ‘shy and quiet’ according to Johari windows.

Currently I haven’t had any working experience yet, but I know that this leadership styles may not be adaptable to some industries .Furthermore, it may not also be accepted by employees due to Malaysian’ high power distance cultural according to Hofstede, but I will try my best to lead with transformative leadership styles if possible.

                                                                                                                   (1081 words)

Reference list

16 Personalities (n.d.) ‘ Advocate Personality’ [online] available from <> [ 27 June 2020]

Bass, M. (1990) ‘ From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision’ Organizational Dynamics[online] 18(3),19–31available from<> [28 June 2020]

Deiss, K. (2017) ‘ Intentional Leadership and Interpersonal Effectiveness’  [online] available from <> [26 June 2020]

Fairholm, M. (2015) ‘ Defining Leadership’ [online] available from <> [ 24 June 2020]

Gonfa, B. (2019) ‘ Review on Components of Transformational Leadership’ Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review [online] 9(3) available from <> [28 June 2020]

Hofstede Insight (n.d.) ‘ Compare Countries’ [online] available from <> [29 June 2020]

Hopkin, M. (2015) ‘ Great Leaders are Made,Not Born’ [online] available from <> [24 June 2020]

Maxwell, J. (2016) ‘ The 5 Levels of Leadership’ [online] available from <> [25 June 2020]

Reza, M. (2019) ‘ Components of Transformational Leadership Behavior’ EPRA International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research [online] 5(3) available from <> [28 June 2020]

Saxena, P. (2015) ‘ Johari Window: An effective Model for Improving Interpersonal Communication and Managerial Effectiveness’ SIT Journal of Management [online] 5(2) , 134-146 available from <> [26 June 2020]

Smikle J. (n.d.) ‘ Transformational Leadership:The Key to Employee Engagement and Commitment’ [online] available from <> [ 28 June 2020]

Surji, K.(2015) ‘ Understanding Leadership and Factors that Influence Leaders’ Effectiveness’ European Journal of Business and Management [online] 7(33) available from <’_Effectiveness> [25 June 2020]


34 thoughts on “My Development as a Future Leader

  1. Hi Ming Hao,

    Interesting entry you have here. You have always seem very calm to me. Was wondering, how would you overcome your emotions when receiving constructive criticisms? Mind to share?


    1. Hi Melissa, thanks for commenting! To be honest I don’t like to get into arguments, so most of the time I will just accept the criticism as suggestion.If the criticism is really harsh,I will try to have a talk with the person and let him understand my views and thinking.


  2. Nice insights Ming Hao! Wishing you the best in your future work endeavours. Understand that you are leaning towards transformational leadership. But what is the one thing that you’ll improve first in terms of your personality, traits in order to be an effective leader.


    1. Hi CY, thanks for commenting! I think the very first personality I need to improve is to be more confident.I am kind of shy when meeting new people, so always couldn’t work out my best with others. Furthermore, I need to share more about my opinion and thinking for my team to have more understanding on me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog Ming Hao! Thank you for sharing the levelized leadership, learned something new. Noticed that ‘adaptable’ and ‘logical’ falls under the open area of your johari window, how do you think these traits help you to be a leader?


    1. Hi Zi Ning, thanks for commenting! In my opinion I think that ‘logical’ is important as a leader need to make an effective decision which can bring the best interest to the company. Furthermore, adaptable enable us to overcome different working environment and situations.


  4. hi Ming Hao, great write up! Thanks for sharing, wish you success in all your future endeavours. I’m just wondering, currently which level are you at in the 5 levels of leadership model? In your opinion, what would be the best timing for you to go to the next level?


    1. Hi Monica, thanks for commenting! In my previous experience, I think I have just reach Level 2 of the levelized leadership as I always try to understand my followers. In my opinion, you need recognition and respect from followers to advance to next level, you cannot lead without ‘approval’ from your followers.


  5. Great post Ming Hao 🙂 the levelized leadership is very interesting. In your opinion, what is the greatest challenge of transformative leadership style?


    1. Hi Morisa,thanks for commenting! In my opinion, I think not all people can accept transformative leadership style. Furthermore, it may also not suitable for fast-paced company, especially when the leaders are more concern with the performance outcome rather than the people or followers.


  6. Hi Ming Hao. Great sharing and nice flow of thought. Seeing that you have more traits in your Johari window blind spots and facade than in your arena, is that something you would consider you need to work on? Thanks again and all the best in your leadership journey. Cheers, Fong


    1. Hi Fong, thanks for commenting! Johari window did help me a lot in finding out my personality traits as well as my team members’ views on me. I would certainly try to improve my personality based on this peer reviews as it helps me discovered a lot of traits which I never realised before.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting post Ming Hao and wishing you all the best when you become a future lawyer!

    How would you overcome your personality of being too private and having the difficulty to share your beliefs, in order to exercise a transformational style of leadership in the future?


    1. Hi Shiranthi, thanks for commenting! This is a big challenge for me as I am kind of shy and not easily to trust when meeting new friends and new people. I will try to talk more actively with others so I can have more understanding on my team or followers. I will share more opinions and views in discussions.


  8. Nice post on your journey as a future leader, Ming Hao! It’s great being in the same team with you and getting to know some of your qualities. You’re definitely dependable.

    “A sensitive advocate may not easily accept the criticism or negative reflection by the subordinates.”

    The above quote can be quite a challenge to overcome for many resulting in conflict avoidance that can have long term implications. Any thoughts on dealing with criticism and negative reflections?


    1. Hi Isaac, thanks for commenting! I always try to accept the criticism as suggestion to improve. I am trying my best to work on ‘open environment’ concept as previously I always try to convince others to accept my decision when having conflict with others.


  9. Hi Ming Hao, insightful and well-structured post you have here! Referring to your Window, I noticed that some characteristics identified by you are somehow in opposite of how you are perceived by others, e.g. cheerful vs shy. Do you think such difference has something to do with advocates’s extremely private and slow-adapting nature?


    1. Hi Cerisse, thanks for commenting! I am also on the thinking that such difference is because my slow-adapting and private traits. I always can’t work out my best when working with new teammates or new friends. I am trying my best to overcome this weakness by talking actively with others and try to understand others.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Ming Hao. Well write up. Every leader has his follower. And every leader has his admirer. Without work experience does not mean you can not be inspired. Leaders are made. Cheer


    1. Hi Uncle tong, thanks for commenting! I certainly agree with the views on ‘leaders are made’. I always learn lot of things from your sharing in class.


    1. Hi Ryan, thanks for commenting! An advocate is more concern with others development as advocates won’t engage in activities just to benefit himself. However, advocates are always need to have a cause on doing things or pursuit goals, so if an advocate can’t find a target or goals, they will always disappoint and giving up easily.


    1. Hi Devin, thanks for commenting! The biggest weakness I think is that the advocate extremely private personalities. An advocate rarely share their views and opinions which makes others hard to know more about himself. To overcome this weakness,I am trying to get more involve in the discussion and try to share my experience and point of views.


    1. Hi Sally, thanks for commenting! I am trying to involve more in discussion and talk actively with others so I can get to know more about my team members to overcome my ‘shy’ personality. Furthermore, I am trying to be more acceptable towards criticism, so I can create an ‘open environment’ for others to reflect on my decision and work.


  11. Hi Ming Hao! Well written blog! Some say that weaknesses can be turned into one’s strength. Which weakness of yours would you consider turning it into your strength? Thank you! 🙂


    1. Hi Dee, thanks for commenting!There is another weakness of the advocate which I would see it as a strength. An advocate need to have a cause on doing things or pursuit goals, so if an advocate can’t find a target or goals, they will always disappoint and giving up easily. On another side of view, which means an advocate will bring out his best to pursuit for the targets and goals.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi Ming Hao, you have a nice write up and I also learned something new on the steps. Since you do not have any working experience to relate to transformational leadership, do you have any experience for co-curricular activities during university days as well as what have your challenge been?


    1. Hi Meera, thanks for commenting! My biggest challenge from my previous co-curricular activities during my secondary school days was I am always hesitating in making decision. The reason is I always ask for suggestions and opinions from my subordinates or my team, this makes the decision making process slower.


    1. Hi Wong! Thanks for commenting! I am trying to involve more in discussion and talk actively with others so I can get to know more about my team members to overcome my ‘shy’ personality. Furthermore, I am trying to be more acceptable towards criticism, so I can create an ‘open environment’ for others to reflect on my decision and work.


    1. Hi Tiru,thanks for commenting! There are few disadvantages as an advocate for example, an advocate is extremely private, rarely share their life to otehrs and may not easily trust someone.Other than that, advocates are sensitive where they don’t like their principles being challenged or criticized.


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