This week faced many issues. First of all, we did not have a CEO until the middle of this week. This meant that our group had to form our team dynamic without the inclusion of our CEO, which would naturally cause some adjustment once he/she arrived. Secondly the class collectively faced the issue of what to do with the group of students that organised everyone into teams. Mostly the class seemed to address this with some (granted understandable) animosity. At least for me, the absence of our CEO links to the subsequent issue.
My immediate concern was, can we still go from good to great without a leader? The insecurity of performing as a team without a leader was a little unsettling at first however our team seemed to fit into our roles relatively comfortably and work well with each other. Compromises were made, and cohesiveness was in the midst of forming. However our performance would be contingent on the responsibility that we each hold ourselves and each other accountable to attending meetings and contributing. Due to the absence of our CEO, my team had suggested that I attend the ‘CEO’ meeting (as a proxy) Peter had called in the middle of the lecture on Tuesday. It was there that I discovered the skewed method to organise students into teams and the result of the organizers selectively placing themselves in a team. Having worked in HR for a year now, the lack of standardization used to place students into a team was what frustrated me the most. If the process were standardized in advance, students could have known that if they did not achieve $25 SHV they could have still handed their CVs in, all students would have been placed in teams based on the same factors (as opposed to some being contingent on SHV, and others being based on goals and majors) and finally the CVs of the organizers could have been clumped together amongst the rest of the students (eliminating self-selection).
If I were to consider this entire situation as an occurrence within an actual business, this unethical exclusion from the selection process is simply an occurrence that is likely to occur within business. So why dwell on it? It is by all means unfair however if this is any suggestion of how the workforce will function, it is simply an issue to either be resolved or cognitively re-evaluated to deal with. Our team ultimately came to the consensus that this entire issue would drive us to perform even better and with more ambition. Based on the ways in which we have carried out our meetings thus far, I predict that we will unlikely be the team to go home and work independently on online mode. This will greatly help us down the line to avoid any individual mistakes that may come about through lack of transparency and poor communication as we formulate all decisions together. Thus as we began to carry out more and more meetings I began to feel far more settled and acceptable towards the fact that we may have no CEO. Our team was “on-to-it” and thankfully, all high-achievers focused towards ‘learning’.
The entire week (and particularly the ‘CEO meeting’) led me to think about the type of Leader I wish to be. I am always afraid that I will not be an effective leader because of being conflict avoidant, or because of my fear of failing (despite appreciating constructive criticism and learning from mistakes), my fear of speaking out in case of offending or hurting anyone (even if the offence is only temporary and fully professional), or being told that being courteous would make me a door-mat. My consuming care for what others think of me is immense and one of the facets of my personality and identity that I wish to change most strongly. Often you see on tv how the most visionary leaders and managers are those who don't give a second thought to what others think of them and when they are confident in their decisions, just aim for them without regard. Personally, I always admired their self-confidence and self-assurance in all actions they take and deeply despised how much I cared for what I thought others thought of me. However this weeks reading by Jim Collins talks of leaders who are “shy” and “meek” figures, who compensate by being immensely hard-working and “iron-willed”. (2005) I believe strongly in addressing situations with grace and respect and if my redeeming quality is that I can put in twice as much effort to be the leader I believe I can be (while others can shift into the same mould with half as much effort), then I would still be proud of myself and call that a success.
I have genuinely discovered something about myself this week that was not just for the purpose of carrying out a reflection. My capabilities as a leader are not limited to qualities that I previously thought of as weaknesses. Rather, I am perfectly confident that despite being a firm touch at times, addressing situations with humility and “meek-ness” is no reflection to also being able to guide myself and anyone else to success. We are our own leaders and our own change-agents. With or without a leader/CEO in front of me, I have the competencies (and now the confidence) that my entire personality is capable of being just as strong as anyone else out there, and being ‘courteous’ in no way forces me to be boxed into being a ‘door mat’.
Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolve. Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136—146