Factors That Influenced My Leadership Potential Throughout My Life

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Introduction

Clearly, understanding and knowing the person you are is key to your self-development. For instance, looking through my prism and evaluating my leadership skills is easy to perform this assessment of self-analysis. Therefore, in this self-analysis assessment, I will draw the attention of my personality, a reflection of my family history, the crucial impact of traditions and customs, and other major influences and values that would have contributed towards who I am today as a leader.

First, my name is Nazim Ali, and I am thirty-nine years old. I am the fifth born of six children consisting of three boys and three girls. Currently, I am a Sergeant in the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment with twenty-one years of service. Furthermore, I am a single parent with one boy and a girl and an uncle of many. I have a Diploma in Management for Administrative Professionals, and I am quickly pursuing my Associate Degree in Management for the Protective Services at Costaatt. Moreover, I am passionate about continuing education and willingness to keep persevering in life to accomplish my goals.

Family History

According to Yourdictionary.com, family history is “an extension to genealogy in which the life and times of the people concerned are investigated. I am a descendant of East Indian Indentured laborers from India. Furthermore, having healthy conversations with my mother and father revealed that the nucleus of our ancestors came from Calcutta, India and settle in Trinidad and Tobago. Therefore, on my mother’s side, her ancestors were referred to as “Chhatri” which depicts the elements of pride and honor, whereas on my father’s side his ancestors were referred to as “Mubarak” happy and blessed.

Additionally, my family originally came from different geographical places in Trinidad. My father came from the rural area of San Juan and my mother born and grew up in Bejucal, Warrenville. However, when they both got married, they relocated to Bamboo Settlement No 1 Valsayn, to start a new life. Furthermore, both parents are alive today, however, they suffer from diabetes. Therefore, my propensity to develop diabetes is relatively high. Moreover, my parents came from a different religious background. For instance, my mother’s religious belief is in Hinduism whereas my father is Islam.

Furthermore, I was born into a family that has a strong nuclear value. My father Ashick Ali worked as a laborer at “DEWD” which was called “URP” now “CEPEP” and was also a farmer/market vendor, whereas my mother Savitri Singh did not have any formal education and was a housewife/vendor who used to sell fresh fruits and vegetables on the nation’s highway. My career path, as a soldier was influenced by my parents, who worked diligently to ensure that my brothers and sisters were afforded a sound education in life. Therefore, the discipline, dedication, devotion, and determination my parents demonstrated; I think this event is where my leadership skills started to emerge as an individual.

Traditions and Customs

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, family traditions and customs are “the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction.” In my family, we were very humble so there were no clear, identifiable traditions or customs that were practiced. Of note, I remember every Friday lunch time my father, and I attended Jumu’ah in the mosque whereas my mother would offer her daily Puja at home, and attend temple ceremonies and annual Hindu festivals. Furthermore, for part of his adult life, my father was actually a mu’adhdhin, this, after being a heavy drinker and I felt he was boarding on being an alcoholic.

Even, one of my mother’s hobbies was traveling overseas and every summer vacation, she would have taken me with her to several foreign destinations, however, due to medical ailment, she no longer travels. My father was the quite opposite, he has only traveled on an aircraft only once, and that is when his brother took him to Guyana a couple of years ago.

Family traditions/history that has influenced my life

These factors influenced my life in many ways, as I have always had a high value for education, my nurturing has facilitated an inquiring mind, and most all I have always had that desire of learning and experiencing new things. Like my mother, I am adventurous and like to travel overseas every time I took a vacation from my work. I travel August and December of each year, and I am always fascinated about the culture, and history of visiting places that I have read or browse through the internet, that piques my interest.

According to Walters, J “Life is short, so enjoy it to the fullest.” Thus far, I have acknowledged that life is how you make it and is short. The older, I become, the days seem to get shorter, and I make every attempt to get meaning and fulfillment daily. Furthermore, I have declared to myself that I will work, efficiently and absorb my time more wisely. As a father, brother, soldier, I must be able to touch lives, make a difference, whether it is in my family, my community, or the organization that I am a member of.

Currently, I serve as a treasurer for Bamboo No 1 Youths and Cultural Group, of which I was one of the founding members. Additionally, serving as a financial officer and being the owner of my foreign used business prompted me to pursue my Bachelors in Business Administration after I have completed my Associate degree, at Costaatt. Therefore, if I am to serve, I need the necessary tools and skills to effectively manage my business. Furthermore, I have been a soldier for over twenty-one years, and I am qualified through elevating to the highest rank in my division Warrant Officer Class 1. However, it is not my objective. First, I see myself as being the managing director of more branches in the foreign used business.

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These factors have fueled my desire to persevere and succeed, however, leadership probably came about as a consequence of discipline, dedication, and determination. Many times, I have failed, but it never stopped me from trying. For instance, examinations, business ventures and even being the role model to my children, where failure was invested in myself, however, failure has never stopped me from trying until I prevail and reach my destiny. Daily, I realize that life is a journey, setting your goals and timelines are significantly important, but the leanings, the friendship, and the experience along the way is probably the most rewarding.

Perception of Leadership

According to Myatt M, Perception means an individual’s belief, theory, feelings, and hypothesis; whilst the reality is certain, true, authentic, and factual. My perception of leadership was greatly influenced by my family heritage and background. The experience that I learn in my early childhood days, and the interaction that I had with my family often re-emerge in my life and interactions with the elderly in my community and in my work. In this context, my family becomes my first ‘organized’, and my family members become my first ‘leadership team.” Therefore, my family upbringing was significantly important because of the positive interactions, I had with my siblings, and many relatives helped me develop my communication skills which I use as a leader today.

Additionally, at home, I am always expected to be as a role model for my siblings, a guardian, a counselor and even think through problems and find solutions. Presently, I still perform the same function within my family, and I am giving knowledge to my children, nephews, uncles aunts, cousins, and most importantly my parents. Furthermore, as a soldier, I see myself as playing an important role in society, and in the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. According to the Defence Force Act 14:01, is to (a) defend the sovereign good of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, (b) to cooperate with and assist the civil power in maintaining law and order, (c) to assist the civil authorities in times of crisis or disaster, (d) to perform ceremonial functions on behalf of the State and (e) to provide Search, and Rescue services in keeping with national requirements and under international agreements to: (i) assist in the prevention of trafficking of narcotics and other illegal goods, (ii) monitor the safety of shipping in national waters and (iii) assist in the development of the national community.

A major influence on my perspective of leadership is my profession as a soldier, and it started with nine months of rigorous training at Teteron Barracks, Chaguaramas, transitioning from individualistic civilian perspective to a military team/collectivist perspective. This conditioning for the period that I have been through would have instilled important characteristics such as desire, discipline, dedication, devotion, and determination. Furthermore, some values that were taught include family, health, spirituality, community and meaningful work.

Leadership Potential

The realization of my leadership potential started when retired Hemraj Gosine from the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment communicated with my parents of me joining the Trinidad and Tobago Cadet Force. This is where my leadership skills gave birth. Furthermore, during my tenure at the TTCF, I excel in areas of foot drill, land navigation, and leadership. Therefore, I was promoted rapidly through the various ranks because of my discipline, dedication, and determination. Hence, I was given the duty to lead a platoon in the annual Cadet Force drill completion which I successfully won. This event was an exhilarating moment, not only for me but the entire platoon, and by extension the Chaguanas Detachment.

Even, as a youth, the interactions with my friends in the community at Bamboo, my schoolmates at Bamboo Grove Presbyterian School where I had a stint of class prefects always saw me in some leadership role. Furthermore, I used to hang out with older folks in my community who were heavily in smoking marijuana and consuming alcohol that was unemployed. I always wanted to do something better, therefore, I never took drugs or even consume alcohol, but I always maintained a good and healthy relationship with the older folks which I grew up around. In my community, I was never forced to consume alcohol, smoke marijuana or used other illicit drugs. At home, my parents, siblings and elderly in the community always looked at me as a role model, and I always provide comfort, support, knowledge towards them and continue to lead by example.

Values and Philosophies

According to Business Dictionary.Com values are “Important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable. Values have a major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude and serve as broad guidelines in all situations.” Common values such as family, health, finance, education, spiritual, recreation, and living life meaningfully are essential towards one own self-development. My philosophical attributes of leadership are leading by example. Even, other than the fundamental values that I have learned, I firmly believe in discipline, honesty, integrity, communication, and mutual respect. Furthermore, being a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment has given me a greater appreciation of my values and philosophy in life. Additionally, daily I constantly lead men and women through life-threatening situations and difficult times. However, through my values and philosophies, I have been able to lead my participants effectively and efficiently with the utmost respect and dignity.

Furthermore, there was an outstanding moment when I successfully lead a team of men and women from the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment on a commando assault course competition in Martinique. As the leader and trainer of this elite team, I was always present in training sessions and leading by example. Furthermore, as a team, we encountered many challenges in areas of preparation and administration. However, through communication, integrity, honesty, and mutual respect I managed to overcome those challenges. Additionally, as a leader the discipline that I instill in both teams through hard work and determination, the men placed first in their category, and the women placed second respectively. Therefore, at an annual award ceremony hosted by the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, I was presented with a Leadership award for recognition of the exemplary leadership role I demonstrated during the competition in Martinique.

Mentors and Critical Incidents

My mentor was my father. Although he was a farmer/vendor, he used “his” life experiences to guide mines. For instance, he was always making time to listen to all the concerns and experiences, and then guiding me through my decisions. Furthermore, it was not only of him making decisions for me but allowing me to think critically about the issue and derived with the best possible solution. In addition, on Friday, July 09, 1999, an incident took place that started with socialization after a hard day’s work and culminated with a fatal shooting of my batch at a popular fast-food restaurant that is forever etched in my psyche. Moreover, this event was extremely difficult for me to engross. However, this incident has highlighted several issues which had a changed and act on my life forever.

Furthermore, issues such as these and even ones that were more detrimental and brought to the forefront were not fairly treated by the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment to provide counseling for those who were affected. This has shown a clear disparity on the lack of leadership, integrity, and communication demonstrated by those in higher authority, to those participants’ families who were severely affected. Consequently, this highlighted certain deficiencies in the leadership exhibited by leaders within the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. Nevertheless, I made a promise to myself that as long, I am a serving the force, I would never endorse those styles of leadership. Additionally, I will aspire to be a leader that makes a difference and seeks the welfare of the men and women under my charge and grant’s effective leadership through the core values set by the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment.

Conclusion

The nurturing that I received from my parents at an early age was influential in the leader who I am today. Furthermore, the role model I displayed for my siblings, children, and the elders in my community provided me with focus, determination, and dedication to succeed. This drive and determination have gravitated towards me until today. Additionally, sometimes my leadership skills were engrained within and brought out the best in me as a leader. This self-analysis allowed me to look deeper into myself in which I have never done before. I embrace positive change, and new development with the character traits that emanate from the prism truly reflects my leadership style. Hence, I ask myself the age-old question, are leaders born or made? This self-analysis assessment was fundamental to me because it illustrates how to appreciate the significance of leadership.

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