All entries for Wednesday 01 February 2012

February 01, 2012

First Entry on Leading a Group Project

Workshop tutor: Mary Sage

Date: 31-Jan-2012


In this workshop I saw a return of some familiar faces working towards completing the portfolio award and some new. It began with a discussion on what we consider defines a project and the factors needed for a successful group project. Ideas included:

  • Leadership
  • Communication via relevant technology
  • Co-ordination/organisation/delegation
  • Commitment/motivation
  • Mutual respect/responsibility

Many of which were also relevant to similar workshops such as working in a team.

From this we then moved on to what we understood by the term leadership and what makes a good project leader? This raised a lot of interesting debate and discussion from which introduced us to Lewin's 3 leadership styles.

  1. Authoritarian - autocratic
  2. Participative - democratic
  3. Delegative - Laissez-faire

Each of these leadership styles has their respective advantages and disadvantages and the main thing I gained from this was to considered their importance as part of a continuum. Democracy of course has advantages, bringing more perspectives, understanding and experience to decision making but sometimes it is necessary for a leader to be authoritarian - in order to move projects forward and remove compromise and conflict.

Other models of leadership include Adair's action-centred leadership involving inter-related responsibilities for the task, team, individuals and Tuckman's model of group formation:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

This highlighted the often neglected first stage of forming, where a group gets to know each other. Essential to improving group dynamic and efficient task delegation to members with the most appropriate skill sets.

From my past and present experiences it is often the case that groups are too eager to dive into the task and from this workshop I will take an understanding of the importance to familiarise, plan and then establish effective 'ground rules' and targets to achieve the most from my group work. Due to time restrains the use of Gantts charts to establish timescales and milestones is not always applicable to my work, nonetheless it is an important tool to bring to future extended assignments. As a result of reflection on this workshop I plan to implement the following action points:

Action Points

  1. Remember that leadership styles operate on a continuum and recognise when and where the most appropriate style is applicable and adapt accordingly.
  2. Remember to get to know group members or at least their preferred roles, experience or skill sets.
  3. Familiarise and understand the task before delegating and setting ground rules which must be achievable and realistic.

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