All entries for Wednesday 12 February 2014
February 12, 2014
Will leadership emerge in our classroom exercises?
So day 2 of the Leadership and Excellence module is now over. We have had 3 occasions to work in groups, two of which had a leader who was selected beforehand. However, I feel that we should ask ourselves this question. Do we need to, given the nature of the team-exercises we are doing?
Let me explain further. The exercises we have done till now have had several things in common: (1) the time-frame; they have all been short exercises, the longest being almost an hour long. (2) they are all "safe" exercises as Paul pointed out in the first session as they are being conducted in a classroom environment (3) most of the teams do not know the capabilities of everyone in the teams.
In this context, how limited is selecting a leader? Does he/she make a huge difference to the performance of the team? How much value can he/she add? My take is that, even if left alone a team faced with such a short time-frame will have some person(s) emerging as a leader just to coordinate the efforts of team. To ensure that everyone's contributions are being taken into account and to ensure the team is progressing towards achieving their objectives. I say so because in all the exercises till now, the leader has been a rather nominal figure. Now I am not taking anything away from the people who led, but according to me, the team would have performed at a similar level even without a leader. The only difference that I can imagine right now is the few minutes at the start where a leader, if present, would divide work among the team quickly and efficiently. A leaderless team might consume more time over this initial allocation of duties.
Thoughts and comments invited.
How important is empathy to being an effective leader?
So this is my first warwick blog post. Hope this sets at least some of you thinking. So today's exercise (as a part of the Leadership & Excellence module in WMG) had us all trying to define what leadership is. To me, this was an opportunity to look into myself and examine what the term really means to me and then to reconcile my view with those of my team-members'. I hit upon (do forgive the expression) something interesting while doing this.
The question of empathy and how it is important to a leader. The definitions we were looking at concerned leadership that set and achieved goals, that garnered support and inspired performance over and above simple compliance from a group. That motivated a group to reach their goals and monitored their progress. None of the definitions explained how this might be done. By being an effective leader? Well, who is an effective leader?
Well I have some questions to pose. Is an effective leader emphatetic? Is it not important to understand those who are being led? To understand what each team-member is capable of and to unearth capabilities within them that might be latent/dormant. Does an effective leader empower one being led to find what they truly love, to develop themselves while contributing to the goals and aims of the team all this while? According to me, the answer is yes. I also believe that self-development can become a powerful incentive to the people in the team. Who wouldn't love to work for (with?) someone who will help you improve yourself?
That is all i have to share for now. I invite any comments and/or feedback.