Before we were assigned into our teams last week it was made clear that while some teams have all six roles covered, others have only five team members. Once the power point revealed everyone’s student numbers, I realised that my team was one that had only five members, but the role that was missing was that of the CEO. This obviously came as a shock to me and a few of my members as we were, at first, under the impression that the CEO typically holds the most crucial role in an organisation. When we each had our chance to discuss our goals and expectations, we concluded that we are all perfectly capable of being in charge of our own departments; therefore we can all in some way hold the title of being CEO – that is, CEO of our own operations.
In Tuesday morning’s class, as we began to think about where we should even start planning and strategizing, I felt as though we would all direct our attention and opinions to whoever had the laptop in front of them at the time. It was just a lot easier, at least for me, to assume someone as the centre of the group considering we didn’t have a CEO, and stereotypically the CEO is the centre of our ‘organisation’ as they are the ones who approve or disprove our proposals. Kelley’s (1988) idea about our preoccupation with the leader preventing us from realising the importance of the followers is evident in this case
Very soon into that lecture, we were introduced to our sixth team member who very luckily was willing to take on the role of being CEO. Carrying on with the rest of the week’s classes, I have realised that my team members very much hold the same qualities that Kelley (1988) describes of an “effective follower”. They are all capable of managing themselves, carrying out their required duties, and also committed to the purpose of this task. These characteristics in some ways resemble the qualities that are expected of a leader. In this case, can it not be argued that an “effective follower” (Kelley, 1988) can also be seen as a leader? These qualities represent someone that is independent and has the ability to efficiently self-manage, so here is where I question how Kelley’s (1988) “effective follower” differs from a leader.
Every member in my team has proven to be very good at self-management and have “[focused] their efforts for maximum impact” and I am very pleased with the first week that we have all officially worked as a team – not as a group. Looking back to last weeks readings, I was worried about this threshold that exists between being a group and being a team that Katzenbach and Smith (1992) discussed, and about how long it will take us to get there. I am confident after this week that we are all well beyond this threshold.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142-148