I want to share with you the lessons I have learned throughout the process of completing my group projects and my individual class work. I really enjoyed this semester and had the chance to work with some really great people. Without my teammates, I would not have been as successful as I was this semester. I also learned a lot about myself and my leadership style.
Leadership and Leadership Styles
The V-Leader simulations taught me about a lot of concepts that I previously neglected during my interactions with team members and subordinates. One of those lessons, is to pay close attention to nonverbal communication because it is a major part of communication; it is estimated to be up to 93% nonverbal. The way I started to focus on nonverbal communication was paying close attention to someone’s body language while I was delivering a message. Paying attention to body language allowed me to tell how Oli and the other characters in the
V-Leader simulations were feeling, such as, if they were bored or frustrated with the message I was delivering. This allowed me to make the necessary adjustments in my delivery to achieve my desired effect, which in the V-Leader simulations was to get the appropriate task completed.
The group project allowed me to really understand my leadership traits. Throughout this course, I have been able to use all my traits to help me tackle each task that has been put in front of me and my team. This course is designed in my opinion to force students to use every leadership trait intelligence, confidence, charisma, determination, sociability, and integrity. This is accomplished by the way the course is designed from group projects and presentations to individual exercises. The entire course drives you to find your inner leader in side of you. The traits I most utilized throughout this course was intelligence, sociability, and charisma. The reason I feel these where my most used leadership traits was the fact we had a group project. The group project really made me use my social skills to complete the tasks at hand.
After completing the leadership traits questionnaire, I found that I scored fours and fives in most categories, but I had a couple of threes. The categories that I had threes in were: self-assured and conscientious. The reason I scored my self-threes in these categories are sometimes I will have doubt in a decision I am about to make, and I will seek out reassurance before making the decision. Or sometimes I will speak before I really give serious thought to the question. These two categories are where I am going to try to improve as a leader.
Core leadership skills are broken into three main categories: administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual. By taking the leadership skills questionnaire I found that I ranked very high to high in all of the categories which I was happy to find out. My strongest category was interpersonal. I scored a 29 in that category which is considered very high. My next highest category was conceptual which I scored a 27 which was also on the very high side of the questionnaire. Then, my weakest category was administrative which I scored a 24. I agree with these scores, I feel like my weakest leadership skill would be on the administrative side. The feedback I received during my group project feedback sessions was in line with how I rated myself in the questionnaire. I plan on trying to work on my administrative skillset and appreciate this course for bring this short coming of mine to my attention.
My leadership style is a democratic leadership style, I really try hard to treat everyone fairly and allow them to do their job without my interference. I liked to allow my subordinates to work independently. The reason I like this form of management is because that is how I like to be managed. The democratic style of management also has many positives, it causes higher levels of group member satisfaction, commitment, and cohesiveness. When I took the questionnaire for leadership styles I ranked as follow democratic first, authoritarian second, and laissez-faire last. What I found interesting about the scores where I scored a 25 which is high on democratic and a 22 which is also high on the authoritarian leadership questions. This finding proved to me that you might not be one or the other, but a mixture of multiple leadership styles. I think having a good mixture will serve you well in different situations.
Tasks and Relationships
Tasks and relationships styles of leadership have made me consider how your current position within a company can affect what kind of leadership style you have. The reason I say that, if you’re in manufacturing or logistics both of which are production environments it’s going to be hard not to be tasked orientated. The reason I feel this way is, in my professional experience I really care about creating relationships within teams because I feel like it builds comradery and it builds trust. The problem is right now, I find myself in a very task orientated environment, so that forces me to be tasks orientated as a leader. A perfect example of my point is the group project, the real job as a leader was to make sure everybody was clear on what their tasks were and when they needed to be completed. I do feel like my group members and I grew to have good relationships with one another, but that was because everyone was completing their tasks and by doing so everyone was building trust.
A perfect example of creating a vision was done when my group and I decided on how we were going to construct our presentation. We came together with shared values, to implement the plan that would allow us to complete the presentation in a manner that would allow us to achieve our vision of getting a good grade on the presentation. I scored in the very high range on the leadership vision questionnaire, I feel like this is one of my strongest attributes. Being able to see where my group of my company can improve is almost second nature to me. Using my vision in V-Leader allowed me to focus on how to get my points supported by the participants.
Creating a constructive climate is one of the most important jobs of a leader in a group or a company. My group in this project had a great climate actually the best climate I have ever experienced in a group project for any educational class I have ever took. The reason for this is, we were all working towards the same goal getting a good grade in this course and growing as future leaders and hopefully we accomplished that. Also, I think the members of my group were great at clarifying norms and providing structure and because of that, we were able to build cohesiveness. The project itself also allowed us to feel reward throughout the whole experience because instead of receiving one grade for the whole project we had to submit multiple pieces at different times. This allowed us to get rewarded throughout the process because we could see grades and know we were doing good, which in turn made us strive for more success.
In V-Leader, I feel like building a constructive climate was crucial, you had to know when to green or red click an idea or person to achieve the results you wanted. This was a lesson I took some time to learn and that is why I feel like my scores on the simulations slowly increased. If I were to continue doing V-Leader simulations I think I would constantly get better at construction the climate I would need to get my key objectives supported.
Out of Group Members
This is an area I believe as a group we did not have any issues everyone was on board and working towards the same goals. In V-Leader, the team was not on board with some of the changes in the beginning, but it seemed that every simulation the team was being more receptive to the ideas I was presenting. If there would have been an out of group member on my team, we would have tried to allow them to bring their ideas to the table and listened to them. This would have made them feel like we were being receptive to their ideas and hopefully allowed them to feel included. Once they felt included this would have impowered them to act making them a productive member of the group and allowing the group to be stronger and move forward.
A group or a company will face many obstacles, as a group leader or leader within a company you must not create your own obstacles. My group faced a couple of obstacles in our efforts to complete this project. One such obstacle was at times there was going to be an uneven work load, my group handled this very well in my opinion. An example of this is we didn’t have an even number of chapters to cover, so I decided to take on the extra chapter and it wasn’t a problem. But I want the only one that did this at one time or another every group member step up and did a little extra and that is why we were successful. In V-Leader, I witnessed Oli do this, he picked up extra assignments because he felt like it would help the company be successful. Every group or company will need people to step up to the plate and do a little extra to get the job done sometimes. The way you make sure everyone is motivated to do a little bit extra is by having clear goals and clear directions, these crucial elements will keep everyone motivated allowing the company to avoid obstacles.
How a leader handles conflict is every important because every group or organization will face some sort of conflict, and how the leadership handles it will be vital in the company’s success. In my group we had minor conflicts on how we wanted to handle a task or what point we wanted to focus on, but it never negatively effected the group. The reason why conflict never negatively effected the group is we practiced a collaborative style of handling conflict. This allowed us to come together to figure out the best course of action. We were always able to handle conflict with professionalism. My conflict style questionnaire reinforced my thoughts on handling conflict. I was strong in that style of conflict mediation. V-Leader gave me great examples of how to manage conflict between group members sometimes you need to understand what’s going on in a conflict. I feel I gained some good experience by completing the V-Leader simulations.
Throughout this project I believe I showed ethical leadership. Every decision I made was based on good character, good values, and honesty. I truly feel that all my group mates will agree that I showed ethical behavior. If a leader doesn’t have good ethics I don’t believe he/she will be successful because it will be hard to get people to follow you if you are unethical. You must have strong character to lead a team. After completing the questionnaire for the chapter on ethics I found my two core values were: family and happiness and I’m ok with that. I feel those two values will drive me to achieve success because I want my family to be comfortable.
Leader Strengths and Weaknesses
Let’s start with my weaknesses after reviewing the leadership strengths questionnaire I rated myself poorly on the question pertaining to being the glue that holds people together. This was not addressed in any feedback sessions, but I do feel that sometimes I can focus on my tasks and not give as much dialogue to my group members as I could. This is something that I will try to work on going forward in my professional career and in my academic career. My lowest score was as an implementer, which is probably true; I came in as moderate in that area. Sometimes I can be slow to get started, but once I start I always push tasks and projects over the finish line.
The feedback my group received during my leadership stage was pretty good. We received a high grade on the presentation and the outline. So being that I was one of the co-leaders of that phase is a good reflection on my leadership. Yet, I still would like to work on communicating more in a group and also being more organized. The reason I feel like I need to work on communicating more is, I could go a couple of days without checking in to see where my group mates were at with their tasks and if they may have needed some assistance. This could possibly lead to finding out there is a problem to late to do anything about it. Luckily, that wasn’t the case, but it could have been if I was in a weaker group. Also, organizational skills are not my strong suit and I continue to work on this skill to get better.
Now, my leadership strengths I scored on the very high range on the leadership questionnaire for being an innovator and being analytic. I agree with those finding I consider myself to be a thinker strategic and to figure out ways to fix problems and change processes. The one compliment I kept getting from my group during the feedback session was how I always figured out away to get tasks done and how I was always positive in our dialogue sessions. This group project was very rewarding to me because I was able to use my strengths to help my group achieve a very good grade, and I also met three wonderful people throughout this process.
Emotional intelligence is very important for a leader to possess, it helps you understand how someone is feeling and allows you to guide them and motivate them. Self-awareness is one of my strengths. I’m always assessing myself and this allows me to make adjustments when dealing with group members or subordinates. Leaders with good emotional awareness will be considered good to work with because they will adapt to the situation and make the situation a positive one. This will allow team members to be as productive as possible and find enjoyment in their tasks.
Dealing with Conflict and Tension
Conflict is not always a negative, but how you deal with it, is very important. During my time as a leader in the group project I did not deal with much conflict, but in the first stage of the project my group had a member who did not complete any task what so ever and we had to go through the process of having him removed from the group. The situation was handled very professionally by the group leader of that part of the project. The member that was expelled from the group was given multiple chances to complete their assigned tasks, but gave no effort in doing so. The group leader was very clear in her communication with the team member, yet she did not come off as being rude or abrasive. Overall, I was impressed by her conflict resolution techniques and I learned a lot from that situation.
Power, Motivation, politics, and Influence
My group was extremely self-motivated and impowered to complete their tasks, that allowed me to take a very diplomatic style of leadership throughout the group project. One member of our group used daily communication to influence people to keep the communication channels open and this kept everyone really involved in the project. This lesson will service me as I continue to work in group situations. During my time as a leader in my group I used my sociability to influence my team members I think that allowed my ideas to be well received throughout the process. By being political savvy, this allowed us to build trust and come together to complete our project.
Personal Decision Making and Group Climate
Our group climate was great we didn’t have much tension in our group, so the climate was positive for the whole project. There was a situation in the presentation part of the project when my group was having a brain storming session, and we realized there was one chapter that no one was assigned and we all had one chapter already. As the session continued I got the feeling that no one really wanted to do the unassigned chapter. So, I decided as the co-leader for this part of the project I would step up and take responsibility for the chapter. I used my intuition to observe everyone’s hesitance to take on this chapter and this caused the climate of the meeting to be very constructive.
Team Devolvement and Ground Rules
The group really stuck to the ground rules and the team structure laid out in the team proposal, this was our road map to success. The culture of our team was on of flexibility and cohesion this allowed us to always be on the same page and have clear and defined goals. We utilized feedback sessions and meetings to make sure everyone was on the same page and following the groups processes. The role of leadership was very important, when I was the co-leader of my part of the project I had to make sure to set meeting at times where everyone had the opportunity to participate. I took pride in making sure everyone was able to attend every major meeting during my leadership phase. I even utilized concepts such as, green clicking people that I learned from the simulations during group brain storming sessions.
Developing creativity is definitely some where I need to improve, sometimes I follow the instructions too much and just check of the proverbial boxes. This hinders me from expressing my creativity and possibly decreases the quality of my work. Leaders need to use creativity to challenge themselves and the organization and this is an area where I will focus more effort on trying to improve my performance.
Team Effectiveness and What I Learned
This project has allowed me to realize my strengths and weaknesses and the individual report is where I put them on paper. Now, I will work on my weakness and try to play towards my strengths. I think the few issues I had during my time as a leader would have been handled better by more communication. Communication or more consistent communication is something I am focused on improving. But if I improve on my weakness and build upon what I have learned throughout this course I think I will be successful in future situations.