Blog Post 12, 20 Nov. 2015

PART 1: AN EXAMPLE OF SHARED TEAM LEADERSHIP

I think a project I’m working on right now in my Magazine Publishing class is a great example of shared team leadership. For our final project, we’re conceptualizing, designing, and producing an iPad application for the Vignelli Center at RIT. Everything from the content to the schedule to the project plan is up to my class, but we are required to have a product at the end that would be reasonable to build upon, even if it is not entirely completed.

Just so you get a better idea of what it is we’re actually doing, here are some preliminary drafts of our brand guide and a page of the app:

Everyone on my team shares an equal amount of responsibility for the project, and we make decisions in a very open-forum like matter. There are some people who are more vocal and tend to take control more often, but there is no one clear leader/manager. We all have our specialties and we are all competent and know what we’re doing, so we share the leadership amongst ourselves.

Taking that and putting it into the context of the conditions and characteristics of team effectiveness and excellence that can be found in the text, we have most of the conditions of group effectiveness and characteristics of team excellence that can be found on table 14.1, especially a clear, elevating goal; a results-driven structure; competent team members; external support; a compelling purpose; and a supportive organizational context.

PART 2: RESULTS OF TEAM LEADERSHIP QUESTIONNAIRE

I filled this out based on the team for the project that I described in part 1.

Team

  1. Clear, elevating goal: 4
  2. Results-driven structure: 3
  3. Competent team members: 4
  4. Unified commitment: 3
  5. Collaborative climate: 3
  6. Standards of excellence: 2
  7. External support and recognition: 3

Leadership

  1. Focus on the goal: 2
  2. Ensure collaborative climate: 4
  3. Build confidence: 4
  4. Set priorities: 1
  5. Manage performance: 2

PART 3: QUESTIONS

a. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?

It would be hard for me to disagree with the results because this was more of my evaluation of my team than an actual survey, so all the answers are my own and I by definition agree with them. I think it accurately reflects the way my team operates – sometimes our leadership gets muddled and confusing since we don’t have an appointed project lead, but we are all very competent and manage to get things done well regardless.

b. How does the knowledge of shared team leadership affect your definition of leadership, if at all?

I think team leadership is already reflected in my definition of leadership:

Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge, skills, drive, adaptability, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire and empower each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.

However, I think the word “team” is more clear than the word “group,” so I’ll make another one-word change to my definition:

Leadership is when a person or team has the knowledge, skills, drive, adaptability, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire and empower each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.

c. How does the knowledge of team leadership affect the way you see yourself as a leader, if at all?

I think that, as long as there are others on the team who are the same amount of dedicated and motivated as I am, I would have no problem sharing leadership with my team. However, most of the time it feels as if everyone else takes a more laissez-faire approach to projects, so my type-A approach to leadership tends to take over everyone else’s leadership in the project in question. But, if someone on the team knows more about a certain area of the project, I will happily let them take the lead so that our product is the best it can be.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that under some circumstances I can participate really well in shared team leadership, and in others it is more difficult – but it doesn’t really make me see myself as any more or less of a leader. According to Pearce, Manz, and Sims (2009), shared leadership is not always an effective approach and “should only be considered for situations where the tasks of the people involved share a certain degree of interdependence.” I think, so far, I’ve been able to identify when it would work and when it wouldn’t work and proceed accordingly.

d. What team leadership characteristics do you need to display to be a better leader?

Kocolowski (2010) said that the primary success factors for team leadership are “decentralized interaction, collective task completion, reciprocal support and skill development, shared purpose, and a unified voice, all enhanced via social interaction that involves mutual accountability, partnership, equity, and ownership.” In order to be a effective team leader and facilitate these success factors, I believe that I need to improve my coaching and training skills, which Northouse says are an integral part of relational and task internal leadership decisions, respectively. Teaching/coaching is never something I’ve been great at and I’m not very patient, so I have a tendency to leave people behind who don’t already know what they’re doing or at least make a very active effort to learn, which would not be beneficial in a team leadership environment.

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Blog Post 12, 20 Nov. 2015

Blog Post 11, Nov. 13th 2015

Part 1: An Outstanding Adaptive Leader

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel is the current chancellor of Germany – the first woman to ever hold that position (), and also, “practically speaking,” the person in charge of the European Union (Fortune Editors 2014). Such a position, especially taking into account the economic and political turmoil in Europe in the last several years, would require very strong adaptive leadership skills, particularly the ability to “get on the balcony” and see the bigger picture, because the problems she faces are probably very rarely “technical” in nature and require deep thought and decision-making skills. Nicolaides and McCallum (2014) say that “adaptive challenges…require unlearning old assumptions and attitudes and learning new ways of knowing, doing, and being.” This heavily applies to anyone in a position such as president or chancellor, because there are rarely if ever clear-cut answers to the problems and questions they face on a daily basis.

PART 2: Results of Adaptive Leadership QUESTIONNAIRE

Average Self Difference
Get on the Balcony 21.4 21 0.4
Identify the Adaptive Challenge 13.8 17 -3.2
Regulate Distress 20.6 18 2.6
Maintain Disciplined Attention 17.6 19 -1.4
Give the Work Back 13.8 14 -0.2
Protect Leadership Voices from Below 18.2 21 -2.8

PART 3: questions

Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?

As you can see by the differences between my self evaluation and the average of the respondents’ evaluations, there are several I agree with and a few that have a larger difference. I have a tendency to trust the respondents to my surveys more than my own answers, because I know how hard it is to be objective when one self-evaluates. Apparently I’m much better at regulating distress than I give myself credit for, which I’m happy to learn. However, it also appears that I’m drastically overestimating my ability to protect leadership voices from below, so that is something I need to pay more attention to. Also apparently I’m much worse at identifying the adaptive challenge than I thought. I think it’s because I have a problem “separating a problem’s technical elements from its adaptive elements,” which Heifetz, Grashow, and Linsky (2009) identify as a key component of this aspect of adaptive leadership.

How does the knowledge of adaptive leadership affect your definition of leadership, if at all?

I think it’s important that my definition of leadership changes in order to incorporate adaptive leadership, but since the definition of adaptive leadership is so broad and incorporates so many things, I’m just going to make a small change to reflect the entirety of the fledgling theory:

Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge, skills, drive, adaptability, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire and empower each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.

How does the knowledge of adaptive leadership affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?

I think it helps me see where I may have been lacking in my previous leadership endeavors; it doesn’t really change the way I feel about my leadership abilities, but it does give me a plan on what to do differently going forward.

What adaptive leadership characteristics do you need to display in order to be a better leader, if any?

As reflected by my adaptive leadership survey,  the components I’m most lacking are identifying the adaptive challenge and giving the work back to the people. The second one has always been difficult for me, because I get paranoid about not finishing projects and tend to take on the bulk of the work for myself. If I want to be a truly effective leader who helps her followers learn and grow, I’m going to have to learn to delegate and let followers work through difficult problems on their own without stepping in.

**P.S. – sorry this whole thing is in bold text for some reason, I couldn’t get it to stop doing that.

Blog Post 11, Nov. 13th 2015

Blog Post 10, Nov. 5 2015

Part 1: An Outstanding Servant Leader

Anna From Frozen

According to the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.”  Anna spends all of the movie Frozen trying to help her sister, who is going through a rough time, largely to her own detriment. Ana exhibits several behaviors throughout the movie that are crucial to servant leadership, including emotional healing, persuasion, ethicalness, and putting followers first (Spears 2010).

Part 2: Results of servant Leadership Questionnaire

1. Emotional Healing – 25; High

2. Creating Value for the Community – 19; Moderate

3. Conceptual Skills – 24.5; High

4. Empowering – 20.5; Moderate

5. Helping Followers Grow – 20.5; Moderate

6. Putting Followers First – 21; Moderate

7. Ethicalness – 24.5; High

PART 3: QUESTIONS

a. Do you agree or disagree with the results? Why?

I do agree. The two people I had complete the survey are good friends of mine that I’ve also worked with on a major project in a class, and they both know me very well. I think ethicalness is extremely important, especially in a school or business environment, and I go out of my way to be fair to everyone I work with. I think that my conceptual skills are very good and I like to think in a big picture kind of way. I’m a little surprised about how high my emotional healing score is, but in a good way. I try to take my followers’ and teammates’ feelings into account, and apparently I have more success than I realized.

b. How does the knowledge of servant leadership affect your definition of leadership, if at all?

I think that servant leadership was already partially reflected in my definition where I mentioned that leaders help their followers develop their skills and grow, but I think I can add in another element to the definition after learning how servant leaders really empower their followers and give them autonomy and decision-making opportunities:

Leadership is when a person or group has the knowledge, skills, drive, and vision to successfully take initiative, whether they choose to or have it thrust upon them, to inspire and empower each follower to develop their skills, grow, and work with the group to achieve a common goal.

c. How does the knowledge of servant leadership affect how you see yourself as a leader, if at all?

Servant leadership makes me feel like I’m a better leader than I thought. A big part of my lack of confidence in my leadership skills is because people don’t tend to frequently identify me as someone who is very in charge, but servant leaders kind of lead from the background and that is something I feel like I can identify with.

d. What servant leadership characteristics do you need to display in order to be a better leader?

The servant leadership characteristics that I am most lacking are empowering and creating value for the community. I think those are both difficult to display in an academic situation, because you’re so often trying to learn along with your team and it’s hard to empower others to make decisions and help them grow when you’re not incredibly sure about the decisions or skills you need yet either. However, I definitely think it’s possible, especially as my education advances and I’m more and more confident in my abilities, so I will keep the community and follower growth in mind going forward.

Blog Post 10, Nov. 5 2015