Leadership, Followership, Teamwork and Belonging
The readings from this week lead me to reflect on just how the structure of my team impacted us as team members and the rolls we fell into. In our CV’s all six of us had specified ‘learning-oriented’ as our main goal for the semester and although achievement (in the form of an A) is indeed a goal that we are striving for, it is not our main focus – the path we take in order to reach this goal is much more than a means to an end. Perhaps this is how my group seemed to fall, primarily, into the participative style of leadership outlined in Spreier, Fontaine and Malloy’s article ‘Leadership run Amok (2006). Our CEO values and trusts the input that I and my other team members give, which falls squarely within the specifications for this particular leadership style. Questions are very common within team discussions, with our CEO often addressing each member and asking for their ideas on their departments before turning to the team and asking for a group consensus.
So far this approach to the simulation has worked well. As of the first practice roll-over our team is ranked 5th in the class. When we found this out our group Facebook page was overcome with post of congratulations and celebrations. Our hard work and collaboration had paid off and we are on the right track despite a hiccup at the beginning of the week where our SHV wouldn’t stop plummeting, so we had to take a step back, reflect and evaluate (“Why isn’t this working?” “What else can we try?” “Re-read the relevant reports and come back with fresh eyes, everyone,”) until we found a solution to our problem.
As a team I feel as though we have reached the norming stage of formation quite rabidly – we have clear, unified goals and expectations of each other, open channels of communication and a dedication to the goal – but the reason for this could be because we are, as specified in Kelley’s reading “In praise of followers,” effective followers (1998). Kelley writes, that a good follower demonstrates certain qualities; ones that, in actuality, overlap greatly with those displayed by a great leader – enthusiastic, intelligent and self-reliant participation. The individuals that make up my team hold those qualities inherently close to them; none of us are ‘sheep’ – passive and uncritical. We talk, research and have opinions, but we are also open to the thoughts of others and share a level of commitment to this project.
To us, communication is key. Each member in my group has a voice and adds value. We have only been a team for a week but already, we all belong. There is a long way to go in this project but with such a well-aligned team and a strategy that gives us the ability to have short-term flexibility, in order for us to factor in any learning curves we encounter, while still having long-term stability, I have confidence in Galaxy Bicycles and our future as a team.
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