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.
Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136--146
Katzenbach, J. R. & Smith, D. K. (1992). Why teams matter. McKinsey 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