Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Recently I had a friend ask me to read her application for a leadership position. One of the questions on it was to "use 3 words to describe yourself/leadership style". I do really like the question, however, I think there are some really good answers, and some terrible ones.
In the near future when I am elected Emperor of the World this question will appear on all official applications. Any responses that include: responsible, organized, integrity, respectful or similar words will be thrown out. To me it shows a complete lack of creativity, and panders more towards what the candidate assumes I would want to see.
But do not fret, for I have devised some stellar answers to this ultimate question:
How many times have you sat in a meeting where the same topic is talked in circles countless times? If you're like me the answer is thousands. Some people would rather debate a problem ad nausium instead of taking the next step to devising a plan to deal with it. By replying "forward thinking" you're telling your future boss (me) that you are not a circle talker, but instead focused on solutions.
Let me preface by saying I strongly dislike being forced to sit down and write goals. However, being a goal oriented person implies that you're not some schmoe just looking to fill the status quo.
This is a personal favorite of mine because the person reading the application will be caught completely off guard thinking that you contracted a rainforest disease on Spring Break. However, the word infectious stands for a concept that I believe strongly in: "Positivity is Contagious". This positivity can be exemplified in many ways such as body language, laughter, jokes, camaraderie or even something as simple as smiling.
How many situations have you been in where everything goes 100% according to plan? If you answered anything other than 0, you're lying. The ability to go with the flow is paramount when dealing with high pressure situations.
These words play an especially large role when looking at working with large non-profit organizations like.... an international fraternity or the YMCA (both employers of mine). This allows you to encompass all those traits that I said not to use into one catch-all. In addition, it shows servant leadership - be it serving a community, organization or cause. This answer also screams good character.
A couple last pieces of advice on how to answer the question.
1. Don't make up words. Always double check to make sure your advective+suffix actually exists. Nothing worse than trying to apply to a leadership position and you make up a word like "respectableness".
2. Stay away from words that imply control. By these I mean "Compulsive", "Obsessive", and "Anal Retentive". While you're point may be that you have a strong attention to detail, these words invoke images of some of the worst people to have in a group situation