a self-driven and empathetic leader
I am applying to Chevening Scholarship this year and this is my leadership essay. The question is as follow: Chevening is looking for individuals who will be future leaders in their home countries. Explain how you meet this requirement, using clear examples of your own leadership and influencing skills to support your answer.
I really appreciate if you can give honest opinion about my essay so I can improve it. Thank you.
My ability to identify problem, initiate solutions, take an active role to implement the solution as well as influence other people to involve in the process defines me as a self-driven and empathetic leader.
In my first year as XXX consultant, I was assigned to a tight deadline project. After two weeks of project, it was clear that the team has no firm direction. Considering the deadline, wasting another weeks in confusion was unfavorable. I communicated this observation to my manager. Unfortunately, he did not see any problem and insisted to run the project his way. To convince him, I initiatively crafted detailed project plan, identified critical milestones, and work division. I communicated the plan to my manager. He finally realized the nearing critical milestone to complete. He agreed with the plan and asked me to co-lead other team members. At first, the team members were not convinced with the plan since I was less experienced than other members. Instead of pushing the plan, I involved them in discussion on how to make it more feasible. I invited their opinion so they also acknowledged the plan as theirs, not mine. As a result, the project was completed on time with client's satisfactory remarks. I got double promotion in my first year joining the firm and got more exposure in other projects.
The purpose of a leader is not only getting the things done, but also developing people. My experience in XXX taught me the importance of empathy in leading people. My junior team mate was a new joiner whom I supervised. He captivated the team by his ability to learn quickly, resiliency to measure up with challenging tasks, and enthusiasm. He was a promising member, until one day, I noticed that he lost his enthusiasm. His work performance started to deteriorate. I initiated a one-on-one discussion with him. At first, he was defensive and reluctant to share his struggle. Therefore, I encouraged him by sharing my struggle at that time. Knowing that I too was struggling, he opened up and shared his childhood serious trauma that haunted him. The trauma started to negatively affect his professional life. I encouraged him to consult to psychologist. It was hard to convince him to visit the psychologist so I put myself in his shoes. I learned that mental health was uncommon topic for him. It was understandable since for most Indonesians, visiting psychologist is for "crazy" people. Moreover, the consultation fee is costly. I introduced him to colleague who did therapy with psychologist to open his mind that seeking professional help is indispensable. I reached out to my psychologist friend who introduced a NGO which offer low-fee consultation. I committed to help him finance his consultation if he committed to do it regularly. He finally agreed to do consultation. After several sessions, he got better. The trauma was not fully healed yet but he started to regain his enthusiasm at work. He stepped up his career game and took an opportunity to join a training that elevated his data analytics skill. He became a valuable asset to the organization.
I believe that self-drive and empathy are the traits needed by the future leader. By becoming a Chevening scholar, I will connect with a network of leaders who will enrich my leadership skills and prepare me to become a better leader.