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My concept and experience of leadership and how I can benefit from Chevening scholarship

ahsan_daniyal 3 / 7 1  
Sep 23, 2018   #1

Chevening scholarship and question connected to leadership

My concept of leadership is parallel to the philosophy that leadership is not about doing things right but rather it is about doing the right things. Whenever, I have been assigned to a leadership role I have given preference to the direction efforts while keeping the intensity of efforts secondary to it because working harder in the wrong direction would only achieve the wrong results even faster.

For this very reason, when I was first selected as editor in chief of the departmental magazine of Textile Engineering at NEDUET, I did not put my teams to work on content writing and marketing immediately. Instead I advised them to conduct surveys to find out what sort of content the readers would be interested in reading. When the surveys came in, we realized that a major portion of our magazine covered the technical side of the industry such as technological developments whereas people wanted to read more about the people of the textile community. We realized that we had to make the magazine more about the people who read them to add a personal touch so we tailored our content to cover more people related to our department and industry for example alumni who were doing exceptionally well in the industry or a student who had successfully completed an innovative project during his internship. This allowed us to reach a larger number of readers than before hence increasing the overall popularity of the magazine.

Another more recent leadership experience came during my job Artistic Milliners. During my second year in the Research and Development department, I was tasked to prepare a collection of new and innovative fabrics which would be displayed as samples at our firm's booth at The Kingpins Show, a renowned denim fabric exhibition held in Amsterdam. I was given a month for completing this collection which was quite a short time for that task. Realizing that my efforts alone would not be enough to meet the deadline, I motivated the two trainees assigned to me to give their best efforts. I accomplished this by involving them more deeply in the design and development process. I explained to them the significance of that exhibition, its impact on our sales for the entire year and stressed upon them the vitality of the role that they were about to play in this process. This strengthened their sense of responsibility and they performed their tasks efficiently with minimal supervision from my side allowing me to focus on more important tasks while delegating the relatively easier tasks to them. In this way I was able to effectively plan and design my collection on time.

If I am awarded the Chevening scholarship I would gain the kind of exposure required to bring about positive change in the textile and fashion industry of my country by introducing modern innovative practices in order to help it achieve new horizons of success.

kartikt 6 / 13  
Sep 23, 2018   #2
I am not sure what the prompt is asking for but as a few general suggestions I can give are-
1. The flow of the essay seems to linear. Maybe you can start with an anecdote or a quote which you might reference in the conclusion to neatly tie a knot.

2. In the second paragraph if you can include statistics on how much did the readership grow it will have a larger impact.
Holt - / 7,529 2001  
Sep 24, 2018   #3
Daniyal, revise the content of your essay. It has irrelevant and superfluous examples in it that do not really have a strong impact on your application. Delete your definition of leadership and its philosophy. The essay is asking you to show the reviewer why you perceive yourself to be an influential leader in your professional community. He is not asking you to define it and he doesn't care about your definition. That is not the point of this essay.

For that matter, your second paragraph is far too academic in nature to have a significance when read by the reviewer who is looking for a professional leader and influencer. He doesn't need the basis or the foundation of your leadership skills. He needs to read about how you actually function as a leader in a stressful work situation. Therefore, your third paragraph should be the basis of your revised essay.

Mention the year that you joined Articist Milliners. Your style of leadership needs to be better developed in the presentation. The way you have it set up, it is as if you are a leader who only delegates authority but doesn't do any supervision nor influencing. You merely tell them what to do and trust that they can do it. While that is a leadership style, it is not a very effective one. If the only outcome of this leadership and influencing style is that you were effectively able to plan and design your collection, then you did not do a very good job at it. There should be a sense of overall team growth not only on your part, but the part of the trainees as well through your influencing style. Surely the trainees had some difficulties that they had to overcome which you helped them with, include those aspects in the narrative in order to prove an effective leadership and influencing style that had positive results for all concerned.
OP ahsan_daniyal 3 / 7 1  
Aug 14, 2019   #4

Chevening Leadership Essay- My Leadership Experience in A Difficult Situation

Being a good leader has always appealed to me on a professional level as i believe that without good leadership no effort on an individual or collective basis can have a far reaching and enduring effect.

I got one such opportunity when I had almost 1.5 years experience working in Artistic Milliners, a denim manufacturing company, and a number of our customers(mostly European and American fashion brands) complained that our fabrics were not up to the mark in terms of innovation despite the fact that my company had boosted R&D activity in the past few years

When this came to my attention I carried out a detailed review of out fabric portfolio from the last 3 years during which I discovered that though we had a lot of innovations in terms of shades, finishes and other areas of fabric design, we had very few new developments in terms of fabric construction and fiber composition, meaning that the new fabrics we were presenting to our customers looked new but were essentially the same in terms of performance and felt the same when they were worn by testers during wear test. In order to highlight this problem I compiled some stats of our previous developments which followed the same pattern and presented it to my head of department, the R&D manager who officially tasked me to fill this gap in our fabric collection and made me the leader of a three member team formulated to deal with this task.

As a first step my team members and I increased our exposure of denim by visiting stores of various fashion brands to understand what kind of fabrics were currently in demand. Then I started holding brainstorming sessions where I encouraged all members to come up with new ideas regarding fabric constructions, specialized yarns and fibers that we could incorporate into our fabrics to enhance their physical properties and performance. I also started inviting colleagues from marketing as they visited denim trade shows frequently and were able to bring an accurate perception of current industry trends to the table. This enabled my team to gain a thorough understanding of the current market demands and provided them an insight into the mind of the fabric buyers.

By implementing this process continuously for two months, we, as a team, had developed and produced a collection of fabrics with unique new physical properties and performance traits and presented them to various customers. Later, this collection along with some other fabrics was displayed at renown denim trade shows such as Kingpins Amsterdam and Premier Vision where it was lauded by buyers and denim designers alike. This collection not only helped us gain more business from out existing buyers but also helped add some new brands to our existing portfolio. Due to the success of this initiative I made such brainstorming activities a routine part of my team's daily activities so that innovation would become a constant process rather than a sporadic one.

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