This week much of my focus has revolved around the selection ‘incident’, and what this meant for my team and the competition. At the CEO’s meeting, finding out about what had happened and how it had unfolded, I was shocked and rather annoyed. My biggest issue this week was around the ethics and morality of the situation. I’m an advocate competition but competition should begin with an even playing field. My biggest concern at the CEO’s meeting was how this news would affect the motivation of my team and how I would deal with the aftermath. I found it slightly ironic that this week’s reading by Spreier, Fontaine & Molloy (2006) pre-empted what happens when a team is achievement focused; that there will be a tendency to “cheat and cut corners and leave people out of the loop” (p.76). Even though none of us predicted this would happen, in the same sense it is not surprising considering how achievement focused this group of people were likely to be. I began to wonder how a ‘good’ leader should deal with this situation and what the best outcome would be. It was at this point I began to realise that the answer depended on how you perceive the problem. I chose to see it not so much as problem but rather an opportunity.
When we met as a team and discussed the events, we all came to the same conclusion, that this was just another reason to work harder and smarter. We were all striving for the same thing, not just success but also the opportunity to learn from one another and to be able to work with people whom you knew little about. After four meetings together, we are already embracing the collaborative team notion. We are becoming friends and building a relationship based on trust, vision, participation and most importantly understanding (Sprier et al., 2006). So the more I think about it, the less of a problem I see and the more this week becomes a blessing in disguise. I began to focus less about what a ‘good’ leader is or does and rather on how to maintain a strong team. This in itself reflects the nature of the team and the way that we can collaboratively work together, with flexibility and responsibility to ultimately reap the rewards (Sprier et al., 2006).
This week has emphasised that it is how you perceive a problem that is most important. I have found myself feeling attached to my group, a group comprising people that I had previously never met. It is this group with whom I have been able to develop a vision that we can work towards this semester. I am proud to both lead and follow them because ultimately I think they work hand in hand (Kelley, 1988; Sprier et al, 2006). A leader cannot succeed without a team beside them; we win together, learn together but we never lose together, because a lesson learnt is never a loss.
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