So the first decision for multi-player Mikes Bikes is done and dusted, and groups are well in truly developing into teams. This week’s readings got me thinking however, is there a clear leader and clear followers in my team? Are these roles performed correctly and in the most efficient manner?
As the reading pointed out, people can be delegated a role of a leader e.g. when referring to Mikes Bikes we might consider this leader to be the CEO of each individual Bike Shop. We were divided into our teams and told our position, it wasn’t our teams deciding who the leader was and who was a so called ‘follower’ or department head, these positions were given to us. So who’s to say our CEO was the best for the job? Who’s to say our department managers/key areas of focus for each member will be performed most effectively by this person? As you can see after reading this week’s readings I gave thought to a lot of questions that came to mind.
I feel to be an effective leader you also have to be an effective follower while also to be an effective follower you need to at least understand how being a leader works and understand the concept. The reason I feel like all these positions must be understood by each and every person in a team is because I feel like you can’t gain or give someone respect if you don’t understand the position they are in. Reflecting on my personal experiences I have been both a leader and a follower and I feel this has benefited me in creating the most efficient input into team discussions – in all papers not just my team in Mikes Bikes. My point about understanding all roles within a team was given reference to in (Kelley, 2001), stating that the beginning of an effective leader or especially follower is understanding perceptions and motivations. Which raises the question to – Why are people in the position that they are? What are their motivations to the teamwork and what perceptions do they hold?
When looking at our team in Mikes Bikes, I feel like our roles have been delegated extremely well. Our CEO is showing all the positive signs of being an effective leader, however also not being overly controlling. She is letting the team make decisions not telling us what we should or shouldn’t do. This is creating a team atmosphere for critical debates about our decisions to take place and everyone is well aware of where our company is going. Our CEO runs our team well and starts off discussions where ideas then flow outwards from there underpinning issues that need to be felt.
While I have established that our leadership in our team is effective and not overpowering, I now turn to reflecting on myself as a follower and also the rest of my team members. (Kelley, 2001) outlines the quality of a follower and as I read these qualities I immediately stop on the first point as I find this very relevant and important for our team. “They manage themselves well.” Short and to the point. Even a week in a can see that we all individually manage ourselves well. The leadership style upon us isn’t overpowering so we would have potential to slack off from our work if we wished, however we all completed our sections ahead of time, in detail with justifiable reasons. This them lead onto the second point… we all (seem to be) committed to the purpose and principle of Mikes Bikes. Again this has been shown this week through the effort put in individually, while we weren’t all able to attend all meetings together due to other commitments by team mates, everyone finished sections on time and in full showing commitment. Thus leading onto the third quality of “build competence and focus their efforts for maximum impact”, focus has been 100% there this week I feel with meetings being on task and efficiently run and understood by all and when members didn’t agree or wanted to raise a point, they were “honest and credible” demonstrating the last quality.
After this week’s academic readings and relating back to our work this week I feel like valuable lessons have been learnt. I feel I am extremely lucky to be working with the people that I am as we mesh well together as a team allowing efficient actions to develop. Returning to my questions from the beginning of the journal, I feel there is a clear leader in my team however the nature in which she leads the team isn’t dominating. Our CEO is inclusive and open to our ideas which are what the best leaders possess. As we have a clear leader, I also feel like our team has clear followers. Other group members aren’t fighting for the leadership role, however are tentative listeners yet aren’t afraid to challenge other members of the group including the CEO and also individually we seem to be risk takers. I feel this will help us in the long run for Mikes Bikes and especially will help to avoid conflict.
Kelley, R. E. (1988). In praise of followers. Harvard Business Review, 66(6), 142--148