When asked for their opinions on my suggestions, the common answers elicited from them were ‘All right’ or ‘Sounds good’. Upon dividing the programmer into different sub-events (such as games station, ice-breakers, teaching of jingle, etc), allocated a portion to each member, so that each of us can research on our individual activity and provide more in-depth details for the proposal. Besides that, I offered to collate everyone’s work and come up with the framework of the proposal.
The stipulated deadline was the subsequent week (the third meeting). During the week, I sent out some emails that constituted some of my humble pinions and suggestions on the different sub-events in the light of cultivating a team environment whereby ideas are expressed and exchanged freely. However, most of my team mates did not reciprocate, notwithstanding my reminder to request them to read the emails. Problem 2 Furthermore, as I was collating everyone’s work, I realized that some of them submitted work that was slipshod in my perspective.
Some work exhibited direct copying attempt from the internet without any paraphrasing or analysis, while others lacked structure, thoroughness and forethought. For instance, John repaired the ‘logistics’ document, but he merely listed the logistics in scatter of words with the absence of a table or structure and excluded many essential details like quantity and deadlines to purchase them. With all the aforementioned occurrences I faced, I bottled all my feelings and took everything in my stride.
After assembling everyone’s work, I edited the proposal myself by injecting my ideas, rephrasing the words and researching on my other team mates’ parts. 2. Self-reflection found myself thrown into a pool of mixed emotions – disappointment, anger, infusion and discontentment. To describe all these emotions in one word, it would be ‘disheartened’. Disappointment believed that creativity is an imperative quality that is necessary in the making of an effective team, and to foster creativity, we should be straightforward with our ideas so that we can combine and refine them to create the best outcome.
Thus, when was the leader, I placed a significant proportion of emphasis on establishing a climate of discussions and interactions. I also hold the conviction that if I have any interesting insights or plausible ideas, even if the work is assassinated to my other team mate, I should still share with the rest instead of keeping them to myself. This is my understanding on the essence of ‘team work’. All the sub-parts tasked to the individual team member will ultimately be organized together and the final product will be submitted as a team effort.
Hence, I was very disappointed by the low frequency of team mates voicing out their ideas to support one another. The lack of response painted an impression that everyone was focusing solely on their parts independently instead of considering the overall picture. Anger Secondly, I was furious when some of my team mates submitted work without meeting the basic requirements. In my point of view, it is the responsibility of every member that whenever tasks are allocated to them, they should demonstrate some professionalism in their work by performing extensive research or analysis to achieve its basic objectives.
When a member performs the task poorly, it impedes the team’s efficacy, especially if it inconveniences another member to stand in and complete the remaining work. In the midst of experiencing such array of emotions, I kept my cool and tried my est. not to show it, because my nature is not prone to expressing feelings. To be frank, I was also afraid of igniting unnecessary conflicts or shaking the team spirit. Hence, I did not raise these issues with my team mates. Confusion and Discontentment Coupled with exhaustion and stress, I became increasingly baffled and displeased with myself.
As leader, I felt that I am not doing enough to understand and solve the problem. If I tolerated everything, pretended that the team was progressing smoothly and not ameliorate the obstacles, how can call myself a responsible leader? Being responsible does not only entail the fulfillment of obligations. There are two parts to this empowering word. The first half is ‘response’ which means ‘response’. The second half, ‘ability’, is a variant of the word “ability”. Therefore, ‘responsibility’ broken down to its roots literally means respond with ability.
It means accepting the situation for what it is and choosing to respond rather than react to it. To me, the members in a team are paralleled to different instruments in a symphony. Each instrument produces a different sound and plays a different melody line. A symphony always sets out to provide a flawless work of art, displaying the harmony achieved by its many intricate melodies from different instruments. For my team to be that ‘symphony’ I envisioned, I told myself that need to be responsible by responding to the situation. ‘How can I inspire them to join in the bandwagon towards achieving a cohesive and efficient team? With this question, I was determined to find the root of the problems and remedy them. 3. Application of leadership concepts Identifying the problems Through the leadership concepts learnt during lesson, I identified that the main robber of my team was called ‘corrupting’. Most of the team members were reluctant to express their opinions to question the viewpoint made by others. Dissenting views were often suppressed or absent in favor of consensus. Understanding the causes was next in line after identifying the problem. I realized that there were 2 main reasons that led to the ‘corrupting’ problem in my team.
Causes of the problems Firstly, according to the Big 5 model personality test that we did in class, the trait of ‘agreeableness’ appeared predominantly under the top 2 traits that my team mates possess, including myself. Perhaps we concentrate so much on our relations and that deterred most of us from expressing opposing views, leading to us accommodating to each others decisions and conform to unanimity instead of objectivity. This stifles creativity as a team. Secondly, from the Ten characteristics of Effective Teams, I reckoned that my team lacked the ‘vision’.
Aligning to a team vision means all members having a clear comprehension of achieving the shared goals through individual commitment and common standards. The existence of ‘corrupting’ could possibly be due to some members’ lack of regard for the importance of the reject, giving less attention to the contribution of ideas or smaller priority in achieving quality work. The lack of understanding on the team’s common expectations also gave rise to differences in perspectives on the standards of work values and attitude. The last problem lies in me.
From the Leadership Grid of ‘Concern for Production’ against ‘Concern for People’ covered under the Contingency Theories In Leadership, I rated myself as a low structure high consideration country club leader. It explains the suppression of my emotions to maintain an easy-going image and my lack of courage to pin-point the issues I faced as a leader. I needed to work on building my ‘authority- compliance’ aspect and not let my concern for people override my concern for productivity. Solving the problem After recognizing the causes of the problem, I picked up my courage.
With sensitivity and tact, I told my team the predicament faced as the leader, and how we could address the problems by applying the leadership concepts we have learnt. To build an open communication, I infused more humor in discussions and constantly make positive affirmations to other members, allowing meetings to be conducted in a friendlier and less-solemn setting. I also attempted to elaborate n a participant’s contribution with examples and suggest new angles to view problems. These helped to prompt them to speak up more frequently.
Next, every team member took turns to articulate the objectives we wished to achieve individually and as a team. After understanding each other’s’ needs and establishing a common vision which everyone could connect with, we took some time to come up with a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in the Team Charter, whereby we determined the criterion on acceptable standards and behavior. At this time, I took the opportunity to let my team understand y stance regarding individual commitment and quality of work.
I was pleased to see all of them acknowledge where I was coming from and promised to strive for better performance. Furthermore, I initiated a fortnight peer evaluation (see appendix 3. 1) to recognize the terrific efforts from my team mates, and learn to work on our weaknesses. This will also help the team to keep our efficiency balance in check. After all the efforts into effecting changes in my team, I am delighted to see everyone making consistent progress. The ‘corrupting’ problem is resolved and views are exchanged more openly and regularly.