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Leadership capabilities

Gaining respect and confidence from team members are two things that every person in a team should attempt to achieve. My first employment opportunity out of college was with British Petroleum and one of the earlier projects that I worked on dealt with the retail division at the company. The retail division consist of company owned and operated gas and retail stations. The goal of the project was to work with three underperforming stores and ensure that these three stores pass the internal BP 10K audits.

The BP 10K audit is a strict internal set of processes and guidelines that are in place to standardize operations, ranging from marketing to safety procedures. Outside of sales, this is the single most important way of measuring a sites performance. I was selected to oversee this project which at the time was a great opportunity to exhibit leadership capabilities. I knew from the start that this project would prove to be difficult due to my limited experience and I also knew it would be challenging to lead employees who were more senior than me and may have issues listening to a young recent college graduate.

Before I could gain any ground in this project, I

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knew the first priority had to be set on gaining the trust of my team members and proving that I was capable of leading them. At each site, I made it clear that I was willing to work with each employee and learn from the ground up and do whatever it takes to ensure the project was completed successfully. I set individual meetings with each employee to figure out what motivates them and to set action plans for meeting our goals. I also wanted to present to them how completing the project successfully would benefit all, and not just BP as a company.

Once I talked to each employee, I was able to identify which employees would be the greatest assets in accomplishing the project. I had each of those employees, along with myself call or meet with managers from other sites who had consistent success in their store operations in order to gain knowledge from their best practices in successfully passing the 10K audit. After the conversations, I met with my team members and set timelines, goals, and delegated certain responsibilities and assignments.

I set these planning meetings to chart out our objectives in order to set milestones and create a clear path to our ultimate goal. Once these plans were underway, I noticed that two of these stores began to fair better than the other store, so halfway through, I adjusted employee resources to the lagging store. I also set priorities on which objectives were the most important to focus on. To ensure all employees continued to be motivated, I always made them aware that their contributions were appreciated.

All of these actions proved to be beneficial, with two of the three stores passing with 90 plus scores out of 100, and the third store also passing with an 88 score out of 100. Previously, each of these stores had scores below 75. The leadership role taken on this assignment demonstrates my potential success as a MBA student at the Jones School of Management. When challenges are presented, I seek the opportunity to take on difficult projects. I believe a person who leads an already smooth running process will be known as a good leader.

However, a person who takes on challenging projects and provides successful results will be remembered as great. I have learned that planning and communication is vital in any project whether it be a work environment or a class setting. Setting clear objectives and having timelines to keep projects on target will help keep my team activities on track for success. When working on the BP project, I spoke to each team member to figure out their strengths and weaknesses. I will take this same procedure when working on teams at the Jones School, to help balance out workloads and capitalize on team members strengths.

Flexibility and the willingness to help team members when times get tough is also a takeaway from the BP project that I will bring to team projects at the Jones School. Prioritization was a huge factor in the successful completion of the BP project. I will take the lessons learned from my previous work experiences and use my judgment on prioritizing heavy workloads while at the Jones School. Taking best practices as well as learning from mistakes from my team projects will help guide me into being a successful team member at the Jones School.

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