The following is a reflection on my leadership capabilities based on the results from the StrengthsFinder, CQ Assessment and self-discovery. I will identify my greatest areas of strength and the greatest areas of improvements. I will also determine what this means in the overall personality and leadership style.
It was interesting to see that I rank high in all CQ capabilities, which are Drive, Knowledge, Strategy and Action. In the Drive category, I am clearly embracive of people of many cultures. This could be because I am married to a woman who lives in Canada, while I live in UAE Abu Dhabi. This has exposed me to people of so many cultures that I feel as though I have been very fortunate to get to know so many people of varying ethnicities. I have been around people of various cultures throughout my life, and I don’t think I treat anyone any differently based on the culture they are from. To me, there is only one culture, and that is of multiculturalism. I’m not surprised I scored so highly in the Drive category, as I feel like I embrace everyone. I also scored very high in the Knowledge category. I’m not surprised here, as I have friends who are from so many different cultures and I know a lot about them. My line of work in security at an airport also involves meeting many people of various cultures. I am certainly not an ignorant person and I feel strongly that it is important to learn about people of different cultures if one wants to expand and grow.
In the Strategy category, in which I also scored very high, I have a strong awareness and ability to plan for multicultural interactions. I’ve always been a very social person, and I enjoy meeting with people of all sorts of walks of life. I find that I am most keen on knowing people when I find them interesting. With people from different cultures, I feel there is a lot I can learn from them. I believe we have a real opportunity to meet people who have lived an incredible journey. There are many people who went through incredible hardships to get to where they are in life, and then they had to build themselves from an infant to what they are today. Learning about these characters and about their incredible hearts is such a privilege and I am certainly not surprised I scored highly in this category. In the Action category, I also scored highly, as I have mentioned. I believe that it is, again, my interest in people of different cultures that has led me to be adaptable when relating and working interculturally. All these categories interrelate and it only makes sense that if I were to score highly in one, I would score high in them all.
The results in the CQ score match up well with the StrengthFinder results. Four of the five categories that I scored the highest in were in the Executing category, including Focus, Restorative, Arranger and Deliberative. In the Strategic Thinking category, I scored high for Learner. All of these qualities are conducive to becoming knowledgeable and accepting of people in different cultures. And I have had a lot of initiative in pursuing a lifestyle that is inclusive of various cultures. According to the test, I know how to make things happen. I work tirelessly to get things done. I can also come up with an idea and make it a reality.
It was interesting to see that I scored in the top 25 per cent for the CQ score. I believe this is an accurate reflection of my cultural intelligence. The report says that I have confidence in my adaptive abilities and this influences the way I perform in intercultural situations. The test is accurate in every category that I can see, where it matches the results with the characteristics that are tied to it. My high score shows that I am “motivated to learn about different cultural settings.” This affects the way in which I adapt to various cultures, and I know that I thrive in culturally diverse settings. I have always been an avid traveller and according to the test, this is reflected in my high CQ score. I believe that my long history of travel is reflected in this test. Because I have experienced so many cultures in my life, I feel like I am well-educated on what people of different cultures offer.
I am happy to say that I scored 100 in the Intrinsic Interest, Extrinsic Interest and Self-Efficiency. I believe this is an accurate reflection of the cultural skills that I possess. The Intrinsic Interest category shows that I thoroughly enjoy participating in culturally diverse experiences. This is absolutely accurate, as travel is one of my favourite things to do. But even while at home, I feel most at ease when I am socializing in a space with people of many different backgrounds. This is when I am the most interested in the people who are in my company. The Extrinsic Interest is most exemplified, I think, through the education process of communicating with the people of various cultures at work. The various culturally diverse experiences that I partake in have allowed me to grow as a person, and I value the relationships I have with people of other cultures. Some of my best friends are from cultures that are different from mine. In the Self-Efficacy category, I know that I have the confidence to be effective in a culturally diverse situation because that is where I feel most comfortable. In fact, I have been around people of various cultural backgrounds for almost my entire life and it doesn’t really occur to me that the people are of different cultural backgrounds, because they are just people to me. I see so many cultures in a basic day at my job.
My CQ-Knowledge scores were a bit more mixed than I expected. These scores reflect how culture plays a role in how people think and behave, and my familiarity with how cultures are similar and how they are different. I feel that my scores were relatively good, but I am somewhat disappointed in how I scored in a couple categories, which I will get into in the following paragraphs. I know that the score will help me be more self-aware so that I can focus on making some improvements in the coming months and years. While there were categories that I scored well on, I can improve in the Values and Norms and the Socio-Linguistics categories.
In the Business category, I scored 100, which shows that I have a high level of knowledge about the economic and legal systems. This could be because it is demanded in my job, and I always watch international news, particularly the BBC, which has a massive amount of information on news that is happening around the world. I also scored 100 in the Leadership category, which proves that I am very capable at managing people and relationships across cultures. The Values and Norms category only gained a result of 84, which somewhat surprised me. The category deals with knowledge about values, social interaction norms and religious beliefs. I believe that I mostly suffered in this category because of the religious beliefs section. This is an area that I feel I can understand better. I don’t fully understand many religions and how they relate to the people in various cultures and this is an area that I intend to spend much of my time concentrating on. I believe I have strong knowledge of values and social interaction norms, though this is only in some cultures. People in many of the lesser-known cultures are somewhat less understood by myself and I need to make an effort in understanding them better. In the Socio-Linguistics category, I didn’t fair that well; I scored 62. This category describes my knowledge in the rules of languages and rules for expressing non-verbal behaviours. I suppose there are situations when a person believes they understand the other completely while they actually don’t. However, I believe this transcends cultures, and it is very common among genders. But it also includes people from the same gender and culture. So I don’t think it stops with communicating with other cultures, though there are definitely more nuances to socializing with people who are from elsewhere. I think it would be the easiest to improve in this category by spending more time with people of various cultures, but I would also like to read books about some of the common social cues from people of different cultures.
Overall, in the CQ-Knowledge category, I scored 86. This is still in the top 25 percentile and I think that, again, this is a reflection on the fact that I have travelled and have become familiar with so many people of various cultures. This result, though, it isn’t perfect, but it reflects that I have a “rich, well-organized understanding of culture and how it affects the way people think and behave.” I have a “repertoire of knowledge of how cultures are similar and how they are different… understand how culture shapes behaviour.” These abilities will help me to be effective in multicultural situations.
In the CQ-Strategy category, I was relatively pleased with my performance. This category breaks down into three subcategories, including Planning, Awareness and Checking. Scoring 95 in this category puts me in the top 25 per cent, and indicates that I am aware of what is happening when there is a multicultural situation. This means that I think about the cultural interactions before and after they occur. I plan ahead, check my assumption and expectations when I am interacting with people of different cultures. This allows me to better strategize for my next encounter with people of different cultures. In the Planning subcategory, I scored 100. This shows that I strategize before a culturally diverse encounter. I suppose I wasn’t aware that I do this, as I didn’t think that I put a lot of emphasis on the fact that I would be encountering someone of a different culture. In the Awareness subcategory, I also scored 100. This claims that I am aware of my cultural knowledge. I always consider myself a student of people from other cultures, but being married to a Canadian while I am from UAE Abu Dhabi has likely made me more aware about my knowledge than many people. In the final subcategory, Checking, I scored an 84. This says that I check my assumptions about people of other cultures and adjust any stereotypes that I might have about them when I experience something different than what is expected. I have been surprised so many times by people of different cultures, that I never know what to expect. I never believed that I held stereotypes against people, but I guess everyone does until they get to know them. I feel like I could have scored higher in this category, but the score does show that I do adjust my behaviour after meeting someone who isn’t what I expected.
In the final category of the CQ assessment, CQ-Action, I scored 86. This, again, puts me in the top 25 per cent of people that took the test. This shows that I am able to adapt to various cultural norms. I am able to translate my other CQ skills – CQ-Drive, CQ-Knowledge and CQ-Strategy into action. I have a wide range of verbal behaviours, speech acts and non-verbal behaviours. These skills can be applied to fit a specific context and I know when I should adapt. This category also includes three subcategories, including Non-Verbal, Verbal and Speech Acts. In the Non-Verbal subcategory, I scored 75. In this area, I am good at modifying my non-verbal behaviors, such as gestures and facial expressions. I haven’t really been conscious of this subcategory, though I suppose most people take on mannerisms that are being expressed by those around them. In the Verbal subcategory, I scored 84, which means I modify my accent and tone when I am around people of different cultures. I can say that this is definitely true, particularly when I am around people who speak in a British accent. For some reason, my accent changes when I am speaking to them. I try not to do this, as I believe it may sound as if I am mocking them. This is something I need to work on. In the Speech Acts area, I scored 100. In this category, I modify the manner and content of my communications, such as being direct or indirect. I suppose I do this no matter who I am speaking with. I think there is a huge difference in the way people of the same culture communicate, and it could be simply a matter of them being introverted or extraverted. I think I change the manner of communication so that the other person feels more comfortable around me. I obviously don’t want to be overbearing around someone who is more thoughtful.
Personal Leadership Development Plan
In the following section, I will identify 2-3 things I can do in the next month, and 2-3 things I can do over the next 6 months to improve how I lead and innovate. I’ll then take a look at my leadership aspirations for 5 years from now.
Over the next month, I intend to focus on building the trust among the people I lead. In the StengthsFinder survey, I am identified as being a Focus-type leader. These types of leaders are savvy at treating others with respect, because we often understand what is important. In the next month, I can improve in this category by making sure that I don’t ask people to do things that don’t really matter. By doing this, people will trust my judgement more. As an aviation security professional manager, I am responsible for managing the daily security operations and monitoring the international security threat levels and ensuring that they are addressed in a way that they should be. There are many tasks that I am forced to handle, and I have a team who assists me in executing these tasks. Sometimes there are tasks that aren’t very important and I need to delegate some of these to my team. If I assign a task that doesn’t really need to be done, then that means that I am losing some credibility. My team might begin to lose faith in my judgement and the next time I ask a member of the group to do something they might not be as willing.
In the next month I believe I can also make progress in providing stability. In this area, I will expand on my talents in the Focus category by planning further ahead. While I have goals that will decide what I do for the next couple years, the StengthsFinder survey says I should take a longer view at what I will be doing. This will help me to be more in control of my life and have a more stable future. In this area, I need to really get into the details of my life in order for me to make all the correct steps now, for the future. I also don’t share my long-term goals with many people, so I believe I should broaden the circle of family and friends who are aware of what I plan to do in the next five years and beyond. By telling more people, I will sharpen my own image of what I want to do in the future and my attention will be more on the things that I should do now in order to get there. Also, my family will become aware of that they are involved with my future and they are important to me. When they feel like they are valued in my life, they will be more likely to be there for me, and they will provide me with support.
Also in the next month, I can create hope by being there for others when they need me. I don’t think I do that enough as it is. I am so focused on my personal issues that I don’t feel like I am as supportive as I can be. My Restorative talents can be put to good use by asking my team at the airport for any feedback that they think could be useful. I know the team that I have now is very good, but I need to see how I can take them to the next level. I know that we can improve and I need to be the one who says to the team that we will strive to be even better than we currently are. Without showing that type of leadership, people might not feel challenged to keep on improving.
In the next six months, I believe there is much that I can do to improve as a leader. While the groundwork for many of my initiatives can begin to be set in the first month, there is much more that I will be able to accomplish in half a year. In the Non-Verbal subcategory of the CQ-Action, I scored 75. In this area, I need to work on the way that I communicate with people from different cultures – at least in the way my facial expressions are around them. I don’t think I’ve put enough thought into this category before and I think it is an area that will take some time for me to improve upon.
I could also improve in my leadership qualities in the Deliberate section of the StrengthsFinder. In this category, I can focus on not having snap judgements. I didn’t think I had these kinds of judgements any more than the next person, but according to the survey, I need to concentrate on the way I am judging people. This coincides with the CQ Report in a way. It is identified as one of the areas that I need to improve on, but I still received a score of 84 on the Checking subcategory. This category details checking assumptions and adjusting mental maps when actual experiences differ from expectations. I believe I need to first realize what it is I am doing wrong in this category before I can address it, and that it why it could take some time.
It may also take up to six months for me to improve in the Socio-Linguistics area of the CQ-Knowledge. I scored a 62 in this subcategory. This will take a longer time to improve upon because I think it requires an education about the various cultures in order to have a better understanding of the knowledge about the rules of languages and the rules of expressing non-verbal behaviours. Obviously learning the basics of a new language takes quite a lot of time. For learning the non-verbal behaviours, I think it often takes visiting the country in which the culture takes place to learn these. These gestures, I believe, should be limited to the polite customs such as bowing, or shaking a hand, for example.
Five years from now, I’d like to learn a new language. That will obviously take some time, but that could broaden my scope as a leader. I obviously deal with many people with many different languages in my line of work. By being able to communicate with others in their language, I think that would add to the respect level in my job. It would also help me to address security much better. The more languages I know, the better positioned I am to make security decisions.
Another area that could take a long time to address is tolerating people who take a long time to set a clear path for themselves. The StrengthsFinder says I become exasperated by these people and I suppose it is true in a way. It’s pretty annoying when you see someone with a lot of potential, but they seem afraid to act. There are some people on my team at work that don’t make an effort to get better. There are opportunities to grow in the company, but they don’t have their sights on improving. I can understand that there may be some in the company who have other career goals, which is fine. However, I know that some of them have families and they aren’t pursuing any other line of work. They have already put in several years of work at the airline, but they don’t have their sights on moving up in the company. A promotion could give them more time and money to spend with their family. Often the people at work are hindered from moving up because they aren’t focused enough on their job. I believe that is because I am extremely focused on my job and the StrengthsFinder actually identified this as an area that I am talented at.