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So this week has been incredibly interesting to say the least. 

Caution: story ahead has many twists and turn and motion sickness can occur.

An important team member finally turned up to class this week, unfortunately she couldn't attend class earlier due to valid and legitimate family and personal reasons. She is a bundle of energy, excitement, intellect, and very extroverted. Unfortunately our team had already set up a set pattern of interaction, communication and overall the teams dynamics' had already been figured out. I felt as our team had moved past our storming stage to norming, but due to her delayed arrival we went back to storming well internally at least. She is amazing but the team dynamics had changed abruptly and no one likes rapid change. I, myself had a hard time warming upto her because of various reasons whether those due to the situation or  else I couldn't seem to figure out. I like most people and get along with everyone but thats in a social setting, maybe in an educational team setting I prefer to have things outlined and ready from the start and don't like disruptions. Maybe in my head she's a disruption and I need to change that outlook. I dont want to have cognitive dissonance every time I have team meetings, that may later develop into passive aggressive tendencies or resistance to her and her ideas in general. So I've given myself a week to see if her communication style and personality irk me or is it the situation and then I shall either talk to her privately, in a respectful manner of course to inform her of my observations. Why am I doing this because it is important to me to get it out of my system so there is nothing hindering my contribution to my team and our collective success. As a collective, a team needs to work like a well oiled machine comprehending each others needs, thoughts and actions to perform at a high level (Katzenbach & Smith, 1992). 

Right now within my team I feel that there maybe too many extroverted or individuals who hold strong opinions within my group and the quieter members get silenced. Even though I am extroverted too, I try to get the more quieter members of my team to contribute and talk in a manner that is acceptable to them. Before the arrival of our team member we had decided on the team structure of not having a team leader and all contribute equally to all decisions, this was going rather well for us. This is parallel to the article written by Kelley (1988), since most of our team members were effective followers with leadership capabilities it would have worked out well. Yet since our latest addition the team has reverted back to its traditional format, which I dislike and I feel is creating a barrier of positional authority and creating hierarchy. Kelley (1988) writes about how most critics say this may not work due to this structure being less effective in comparison to the traditional leader and team structure. Yet how can one quantify effectiveness is it the success of the team, reaching a specific goal or learning the most along the way?. Critically examining Kelley (1988) article questions arise on who decides what is deemed effective, there is bias if the team decides, or the organisation benefitting from the team's existence are making this decision. 

With the traditional format we have now, leadership style will determine whether the team works well and whether I align myself with the team leader. The article written by Spreier, Fontaine & Malloy (2006) talked about leadership styles and approaches. Spreier et al (2006) also talked about the differing leadership styles, directive,visionary, affiliative, participative, pacesetting and coaching. Whilst it is best to combine all six it doesn't usually work that way, the environment, leaders' personality, team dynamics and team members personalities affect what sort of leadership style is adopted (Spreier et al, 2006). The power motive comes from socialised source (encouraging others and allowing them autonomy) and personalised (restricting decision making authority and undermining team members). Its too early in the semester to say what sort of power motive my CEO or other team members have, but I do know personally when I was in leadership positions I had a tendency to have a socialised power motive. Learning from those past experiences I know socialized power is the best way to go, I wouldn't want my leader to be a condescending person, therefore I aim to always facilitate a positive experience for others. Group dynamics where a personalised power motive is at play can get messy, with the group revolting or not performing at all. This is maybe why slavery did not work or survive, aside from the ethical concerns around slavery. The treatment of other individuals who work in accordance with you to deliver something, whether it may be financial results in a firm or producing cotton in the cotton fields, should be handled with respect, ethos, procedural justice and equity.

The question of whether we have a level 5 team leader/executive shall be determined as the semester progresses. My personal opinion is that we don't, solely due to the fact that level 5 leadership is rare to find and usually occurs when an individual experiences that have significantly impacted the persons life, thoughts and actions (Collins, 2005). This isn't to say university students haven't have life altering experiences but the chances are rather low. Most students are in their early twenties, haven't really travelled much and like the rest of the world are preparing to compete in the rat race of the corporate world. Yet I hope we all develop into level 5 leaders as life progresses.

References 

Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolveHarvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136--146

Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matterMcKinsey Quarterly, (3), 3--27

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

12 Comments

  1. Please ensure you label your learning journal correctly. It's fin to have some interesting ones—as you do—but you need the basics in place too (e.g., journal week03 2014). I've added them in for you this time.

  2. What a rollercoaster you're on :D I feel honoured to be privy to your innermost team interactions. I hope you find some calm in the newly troubled waters, though. Its disappointing when things change suddenly and seemingly for the worse.

    With regards to the content, I enjoyed how you identified the problem, compiled explanations and outlined your plan of action. The only change I would make would be to reconsider the last section talking about level 5 leaders as it seemed like you were throwing in some theory to finish it all off where I felt a bit of leadership theory sprinkled throughout might have helped the flow more effectively.

    That being said it was genuinely refreshing to read a very different journal than the others I've been frequenting. Keep up the interesting writing!

    1. Yeah your right, I really need to work on integrating the readings in a seamless manner. Thanks hope I made your day a little more interesting ahhaha. Thanks for the feedback (smile)

    2. The only change I would make would be to reconsider the last section talking about level 5 leaders as it seemed like you were throwing in some theory to finish it all off where I felt a bit of leadership theory sprinkled throughout might have helped the flow more effectively.

      Yes, I felt that way too. Quite a few people are falling into that pitfall at this stage. 

  3. I think your reflective writing for this week to ''Caution: story ahead has many twists and turn and motion sickness can occur'' - is how I feel, to when there is a surprise and I am really trying to come to grips with it.  Can I ask - have you talked to this amazing person who has become the newest member to your team?  I think communications is important, and open communications may flesh out what is the issue for you in regards to this person.  Otherwise, your new team make-up and your expectations, experiences and intentions, will help you develop more meaning-full relationships with open communications for your team to become dynamic.  When you do query with this exciting person - please stay respectful at all times to ensure you gain value in the wholeness of this person, listen and then comment.  In that way, you will be able to converse with this extrovert in positive dialogue.  Whether you chat to this person in your team environment or alone - this is really your choice? 

    I found your learning journal very interesting and I believe there is a couple of Level 5 leaders in our class who have travelled, gain life experiences and are currently employed in leadership roles.  I know for myself, I have returned to university to receive further professional development - so there is certainly some things you can gain in your learning to reach that Level 5 as a leader, when you have completed your tertiary studies.

    Can I suggest in your next learning journal that you make mention of your personnel building exercise following from this peer review?  I would also like to add that your writing is interesting as Lisa Tate has mentioned and it is refreshing, but I got the feeling that maybe you did not care about the scandal that took place this week - which is your right!

     

    1. Thanks for the feedback. (smile) I did care about the scandal but in this environment I thought it was wise to put my emotions and thoughts on an issue you cant really change behind and move on. Secondly of course I'd engage with my team member with respect. I maybe different to her but that doesn't retract from how amazing she is. Our styles are different and like I mentioned that shall be worked through. Thanks for the feedback again, it was insightful and thought provoking.

  4. I think you have the basis for at least two outstanding here journals here. That's a double-edged sword. You might consider limiting your learning journal to one idea, but, from the way you write I'm not going to strongly recommend that (as I often do with others).

    I hope you don't mind if I recast some what you say in of your learning journal with my own comments using Kolb's model of experiential learning to illustrate how you might strengthen your learning journal.

    Concrete experience: A new member joined the team. This resulted in what you describe as a return to storming. It would be helpful if you (briefly) described the behaviours that were occurring before and after the event. That way, readers can better follow you logic.

    Reflective observation: You did not like the change that occurred in your team's dynamics. Specifically, what was it you did not like? Have you faced situations like this before and how did they play out ... that'll matter in the next step as you engage in:

    Abstract conceptualisation: You do some theorising that says if this continues, your behaviour will change in some not so helpful ways. One aspect of what you say seems particularly important, that you consider two different paths to resolve this. Either you might change how you think (and act?) or the other person will. Bravo for identifying two distinct paths. It's in this section that you can really bring your theories of how the world (or teams work) together with any one else's that you find useful/relevant to explain what is happening and what might happen in the furture.

    Active experimentation: GIven all that, what might you try to do? Change your behaviour or how you think? Force them to change (not realistic)? Talk to them? Whatever, as you think about viable paths forward you can check/test them against your AC, before you decide what you will try.

    Then in another learning journal, you might report how it went (the CE again), and kick of another cycle of learning.

    Overall, am I worried that you're going to have problems when it comes to summative learning journal; not on the basis of what I see here (and on the comments you have already done). 

    Do I think you have take your learning journals to another level. Absolutely. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks that was amazing feedback, I shall endeavour to be more specific, I was just worried about overspilling about my teams interactions. I dont have the intention to offend anyone ya know. (smile)

  5. There is no doubt that writing seems to be one of your strong points, as your thoughts and opinions flow fluently throughout your reflection. I really don't know how my review is suppose to compete with that of Peter's, as he pretty much covered everything, and like the others that have commented, reinforce the same questions that I have had. However, I was curious as to what role you were given in your group? and how you feel this impacts your views on leadership and follower-ship? Another thing that I found quite interesting and I was wondering whether you could also shed some light on, is whether your team had (with the absence of that team member) communicated with her whilst sorting out your teams 'set pattern of interaction, communication and overall the teams dynamics' as I find it hard to see how her coming in this week would have caused such a disturbance if you had kept her in the loop (via email, facebook, cellphone) regardless of her 'legitimate family and personal reasons'. However, I really do commend you for being able to piece in such relevant and thought provoking insights from the readings as it really does add another level to your writing & motivates me to put more time and effort into my reflections as well. Moreover, I couldn't help but feel (and please do not be offended) as your group dynamic, in which there was no leader (especially with a group dominated by extroverts) was more of a way for your team to cater to the ego's of your team members and this may be why you dislike the addition of your newest team member as the influence of order and control might be inhibiting the freedom and need for the extroverts in your group to be heard. Other than that, like I said before, was thoroughly interesting and was a pleasure to read. All the best for your team and no doubt you're going to ace the summative learning journals! (smile)

    1. I really don't know how my review is suppose to compete with that of Peter's, as he pretty much covered everything, and like the others that have commented, reinforce the same questions that I have had

      No need to compete (smile) 

      But I am wondering why Purnima Seth is getting three reviews (plus mine)

      1. I dont mind, it all helps. I think people are reading more journals because they find them interesting? (smile)

    2. Hiya thanks for the feedback

      I was given the HR role and with that depending on how you think you can do either a lot or nothing at all, well I think so. So Im just worried that I might not be able to bring as much I would like to the table. Also with my ligament being slightly torn in my ankle, how that issue is going to affect my peer review!. Im trying to give my all but there just seems to be obstacles everywhere, but hey thats where the learning occurs I guess.

      Set pattern of interactions - well we did a team expectations setting - its basically where each individual outlines what they expect, want to achieve and leave with. So that was typed up as a document and agreed upon by everyone, we tried to add our team member on facebook but she didn't accept till we saw her in person which is reasonable. We created a group and everything, we only had her upi which we emailed as well but she probably didnt have the time to reply.

      Just simple communication details most people know, maybe shes not aware she does it, I dont really know. I personally dont appreciate when someone is talking to you and the other person doesnt respond back. They then start another conversation with someone else in the team and ignore what you are saying. Everyone has the ability to like or dislike something, I only want to be acknowledged that you heard my idea and I pause clearly and say what do you think? by that time shes too busy in another conversation.

      In terms of the ego thing, I agree I like power but not in a way I control everything. I just want to feel like I'm contributing to something bigger than just me. We all asked each other what was their best strategy and went with what seemed to work or make sense, then tweaked things and everybody was working through any decision that was made.

      Sorry for the huge comment, I just wanted reassurance or advice to know Im not the crazy one or am I? ahhaha

      Thanks though for your open honesty. Much appreciated (smile)