All 3 entries tagged P8 Portfolio

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May 05, 2012

Final Entry on Leading a Group Project

Original 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.


From the concepts introduced in this workshop and the Leadership scheme, I have developed a further understanding of what it means to be effective in different types of leadership roles. From my experience as a ski/snowboard instructor where leadership had to be very authoritarian to ensure the safety of the children I was teaching, through to the far more democratic and delegative leadership style required for effective academic group work. Leadership works on a continuum and leading a successful team requires the Tuckman's model of group formation, namely the forming, storming and norming needed to perform.

From this particular workshop, future action points I will continue to take forward include remembering to familiarise myself with group members to understand their preferred roles and familiarise myself with the tasks set - often the 'forming' and 'storming' parts of group work which are brushed aside to dive straight into the work. The management of expectations and setting of clear ground rules is also an important aspect raised, which can help to avoid conflict and tension within groups, and the ability to adapt leadership styles to suit the situation needed are some of the important points I have found most useful and will continue to apply with more detailed reflection to follow through my final leadership blog.


April 13, 2012

Follow up on Leading a Group Project

Here's a summary of how I've been getting on with my 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.

Having joined the leadership scheme I have further developed this understanding, becoming aware of what style best suits me and practised adapting my leadership style in role play situations, for instance, getting the most out of even the most quiet. During my academic group work I have also worked in a large variety of groups with many different skill sets and as a result have had the opportunity to learn which style is most appropriate. When there are strong characters in the group who like to actively contribute to discussion and the direction of work, I find it best to adopt more of a co-ordinator style of leadership. Then, when the group is less willing to contribute openly, a more autocratic, but fair delegation of work helps to keep the whole group engaged and involved.

2. Remember to get to know group members or at least their preferred roles, experience or skill sets.

Having worked with and got to know the majority of the class by now, it becomes easy to overlook the importance of this step. Nonetheless, it is still important to understand each others strengths and weaknesses and often the preferred roles and skill sets are volunteered at the start of such group forming stages, making the delegation of work easier and more efficient. 

3. Familiarise and understand the task before delegating and setting ground rules which must be achievable and realistic.

This is again another important stage of group work, which when subject to time constraints can become neglected. Despite this, throughout my academic group work so far, I have made the conscious effort to set aside an evening or so before the group begins work so everyone has the chance to familiarise themselves with the tasks set. This has helped to improve understanding and work efficiency and is therefore something I will try to maintain. It is also important to note that it is never too late to take a step back and evaluate the progress or relevance of the work generated, as this is where problems can be resolved instead of ignored. In terms of ground rules, the most productive has been that everyone attends each group meeting. Where the work delegated can be completed and then the individual contributions pulled together as a group, to ensure full and visual participation. 


February 01, 2012

First Entry on Leading a Group Project

Workshop tutor: Mary Sage

Date: 31-Jan-2012

Introduction

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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