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My responsibilities as a leader. 2017 Chevening Essay - Leadership and Influence Question

indahindah 1 / 1  
Oct 22, 2017   #1
Hi everyone, I'm Indah from Indonesia. I have drafted below statements to answer the leadership and influence question. I would highly appreciate your comments on the draft. Thank you!


go-to person for corporate communication matters

I started my first year with Chevron with a bang. Under my leadership as a project manager for the company's participation in 2015 Indonesia International Geothermal Convention & Exhibition, the most prominent event for geothermal industry executives and professional in the region, Chevron won the best booth award for the first time since its initial participation in 2013.

My key responsibility was to demonstrate Chevron's reputation as the world's largest geothermal energy producer through its exhibition booth. Thus, I had to ensure that every design and activity in our booth reflected the company image. In order to do so, I worked with a cross-functional team consisted of employees from various levels. As a new hire, leading people who were older than me and/or far more experienced than I was made me nervous. Although I was well prepared, I stuttered several times during the execution plan presentation in the first committee meeting.

Knowing myself well, I realized I needed to get familiar with the team members, especially the key persons, by learning more about them and their expertise that could contribute to the project. I made time to reach out to them and ask them to share their experience in previous similar events. Occasionally, I sought advice from them too; specifically on things they were really good at, to help me make important decisions regarding the project. Sometimes we even talked about something else which was not work-related. Knowing them better not only boosted my confidence to navigate the project, but also improved my learning curve and our working relationship.

When it comes to influencing skills, I have been able to widen my sphere of influence by building my credibility. At work, a post-acquisition integration is ongoing. My newly appointed supervisor who plays a critical role in the transition team asked me to support him as a subject matter expert for corporate communication.

Being the only incumbent in the communication team with exposure to different kinds of communication projects for more than 6 years, I take the opportunity to "lead the leaders" by showing my technical expertise to the project team, which comprises of people from various departments and levels. I share with them how things were previously done, what worked and what did not, and proposing ideas supported by logical and rational reasons.

My job is to make sure every communication product is error-free and able to convey the company's message. Every time my colleagues ask me to review a draft, I clarify what they actually want to communicate before share with them my edits and insights on, for instance, particular word usage. This is how I advocate my position and connect with them at once. There are times when people disagree with me; those are when I learn to see from different perspective, identify my gaps and consider different approach to be more effective. I remain the go-to person for corporate communication matters.
FatemahEbrahimi 5 / 11  
Oct 22, 2017   #2
Dear indha, I am preparing for chevening as well and I don't say I am in the position to advise you, but, what I already gain from my preparation is a few things. First, in your first example you did not show how your activities and skills affected the company to earn best booth award. You also have mentioned that you lead a group and narrated your responsibilities, however, you have to explain how you managed your skills to lead a group and what was your achievement in position of leadership. You don't have to say what made you nervous, instead you can tell us how you were able to solve the problems using your leadership skills. Try to show both your leadership and influence skills in your examples. The instance you put for the influence skills is not to related.

By the end of your essay try to tell how you are able to use your leadership by awarding the chevening and your impact on the chevening community.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,941 4806  
Oct 22, 2017   #3
Indah, this is not an effective essay for 2 reasons. The first, is that your experience at the booth is not profession related. That is extra curricular in nature and did not require any true leadership or influencing abilities on your part. You were only participating in an exhibition. Not a Chevron work related project. That is why there was a lack of leadership and influencing presentation in this part of your essay.

The second problem, is that when it came to office work, you were nothing more than a liaison officer who served in the capacity of reviewer, not leader in this scenario. Even when you were asked to assist the supervisor, this could not be considered a leadership experience as you were only there to serve as an adviser to the supervisor. No leadership required, no influencing accomplished.

In all honesty, there is nothing in this essay that would depict that you have the ability to "lead the leaders" because, it would appear, that you are not in a leadership role in the office. So you are passing off your rank and file duties and abilities as leadership and influencing skills, hoping that the reviewer cannot tell the difference. The problem is, he can and he will not continue with considering your application because of your lack of true leadership and influencing skills.

Review your most recent work related activities and try to find an instance of true leadership and influencing skills within it. Look for conflict, discussion, influencing, and resolution within the concept. If you find those 4 criteria, then you will be able to use it for this essay.

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