Week 3 into the course and MGMT 300 is very much under way as the first practice Mikes Bikes roll-over approaches. We have held four meetings since being introduced to our groups and my optimism about the course and simulation has improved dramatically. Our team is working and communicating together well and have a good cohesion in terms of our goals for the course. However, thinking about how to maximize our success it led me to reflect (Daudelin, M. W., 1996) back on this week’s readings and how things like leadership and group relations will affect our performance and satisfaction over the next 10 weeks.
Firstly, I might add that my previous conceptions of effective leadership differed from most of the readings. Playing sport, I always associated effective leaders as achievement driven individuals who ‘lead by example’ and inspire others to do the same. However, this week has made me realize that this type of leadership has its time and place but that there are often more effective ways to lead and achieve results. Spreier, S. W., Fontaine, M. H., & Malloy, R. L. (2006) gives sufficient evidence that ‘achievement’ motivated leaders are 42% more likely to create neutral or demotivating work climates as opposed to leaders that focus on ‘affiliation.’ This brought me to conclude that although individual hard work and drive are good things for performance, team performance is helped just as much by building better trust and collaboration with team mates.
The conventional view is that leadership is an individual trait and that effective leaders create group success. I can now see flaws in this view, as Kelley, R. E. (1988) points out that in order to effectively lead, one must be able to also follow. For our group, I think it will be important for us all to be able to follow and lead in our different departments, to best balance our strengths and weaknesses as a team. Democracy and collaboration definitely sounds a lot better than dictatorship no matter how good a leader is academically and that is why I am very happy with how our team is looking at this point.
With a long way ahead of us, it is helpful that many of the readings so far have proven to be quite relevant to how we can operate effectively in our teams. For me, this week’s readings has tweaked a few of my previous conceptions of good leadership and allowed me to see that ‘following’ (Kelley, R. E., 1988) and collaboration is also equally important in team environments to achieve success.
Daudelin, M. W. (1996). Learning from experience through reflection. Organizational Dynamics, 24(3), 36—48
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148
Spreier, S. W., Fontaine, M. H., & Malloy, R. L. (2006). Leadership run amok. Harvard Business Review, 84(6), 72--82