Of economy of actions
In tune with the rest of the team exercises, the 'leadership challenge'today afternoon also came with its own lesson. The one of managing a rather complex task inside a short time period where you don't even have all the information about it was, well, challenging. The unique challenges were added onto by the fact only the leader knew all the information that was available and needed to communicate this effectively onto his/her team-members. As we know, no team was successful in the challenge but as Paul pointed out, teams have actually done it in the past and I was wondering what they could have done different.
The idea I have hit on is this:Simply put tobe economical in your actions.
Let me explain this one. To meet the main requirements of the challenge, it was necessary to choose which path to take to reach them. This would have involved not only choosing the most important things that needed to be done but also choosing not to do certain things which would have been lower down on the priority list and then ensuring that the team worked optimally in getting these tasks done. This would translate to the leader doing two things effectively: (1) prioritisation of tasks (2) delegation of tasks.
The leader has to identify the key tasks ASAP while also identifying the ones that would go lower down on the priority list. This would involve a mental map of things that need to be done, retaining a sufficient level of detail while at the same time ensuring that the detail itself does not become overwhelming. Having done this, the leader than proceeed to prune all the detail to reach the core of the problem.
Delegate the duly prioritised tasks to the team members so that the team can benefit from the combined human hours of the team as a whole. Though the exercise was for only two hours, given that each team had 5-6 members it would translate to 10-12 human hours in each team. With optimal delegation this could have been made better use of. Does anyone think that they could not have finished the task in 10 hours? While I do speak of an ideal situation, I believe the team if it performed effectively could generate enough work equivalent to around 5 hours of individual effort.
So the bottom line looks something like this: a lean operation of the team ensuring optimal performance.
Maybe someone who has another crack at a similar exercise could further develop and implement this thinking and generate some feedback. Till then, general discussions and comments are welcome.
5 comments by 3 or more people
According your thoughts how these two teams achieved to finish this task on time…I want to add some more points…that the solution of a problem will produce with all together….members and leader…of course the leader needs to make the base..and to do these things which you referred but I think such as the leader and team members are communicating vessels…in today’s exercise one of the point was how the team members will produce questions to help themselves and leader…how followers will give soul and effort to clarify the situation….so maybe the previous teams had the above characteristics, a two way effective communication…the solution for this exercise is help the leader with how will give you answers without to bombard with questions…and help team members to understand this huge with information topic….cheers
21 Feb 2014, 22:05
Prioritization and Delegation should be done in a parallel manner I believe, such as Prioritizing each task while choosing who will do what based on their known skills during the preparation plans.
Also, I really think prioritization is so much easier said than done, because this is not taking into account the pressure and time at hand, and having to swallow as much information at once. So specific note taking skills (such as a mindmapping, checklists, color coding notes, etc.) can come in handy, because many of these techniques are not time consuming either.
23 Feb 2014, 11:08
It’s true the followship needs to be very actively involved as well, but the trouble I had and would like to share is how can I get out information from the leader without creating any more pressure within the team.
So, i thought back to what Graeme Knowles taught us in our coaching session, that we have to devise ways to get as much information out of the other person as possible, while trying not to suggest/influence their thoughts as well.
From this thought, maybe next time we can try to find strategies and skills as a followhsip to make the team communicate and operate better, such as using our coaching skills as a start.
23 Feb 2014, 11:19
Exactly Jaat…and we could connect the work environment with this..or other factors where have important role in the situation how leaders will produce a trust, freedom and open-minded place for their followers as result to create innovative ideas and to develop an two-way effective communication….
23 Feb 2014, 18:14
Thanks a lot for the comments Jaat and Kleanthis. I would like to suggest a few things as well.
1) When I meant prioritise and delegate I meant that is what the leader brings to the table. The leader, if he/she could have grasped the task at hand with reasonable clarity could have then progressed towards some sort of prioritisation. I personally find it easier to do this in a pressure situation as then I would strip the argument (of deciding between two tasks) down to its bare essentials and not consider it in all its detail. As Jaat suggested, skills like notemaking, mind-mapping etc. would certainly be of help in this situation. This is not to say that the leader cannot involve the team in this exercise. But seeing that the leader had 20-30 minutes at the start with the material maybe someone could have attempted this.
2) I completely agree with not overloading the team-members with all the information at once. I also agree with the part about how team members could have helped the leader out with good questions. I will connect the two which is what I had in mind while composing the blog. The leader comes back to the team and explains the problem in a nutshell. The team-members are delegated tasks and go about them. In the event that they need more information than they already have, they approach the leader who either directs them to how they can obtain the information or gives them the information from him/herself. This would be the leader’s unique way of adding value to the time they have used with the material.
3) As Jaat pointed out, all this is easier said than done especially with the amount of information that the exercise had. I would also like to clarify here that I am talking ONLY about tasks which are of a similar mould. Short-time periods, new teams etc.
25 Feb 2014, 00:56
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