All entries for Friday 05 December 2008

December 05, 2008

LE reflection + the social right of a leader

Second day into LE module and just want to quickly reflect on the class content thus far

1. In class exerciese on day1 was quite good and it helped us to begin thinking about some of the issues around leadership. I think some points that came up  from the life boat leadership exercise was that not only the appointed leader need to possess potential to leader, he/she must also have the right skill set. For example, navgation skill is one main reason why I was persuaded to choose Roger over Lyn. Lyn seem to have a much broader range of skill and experience as CEO but none of it included working in the sea.

2. This brings about the point that leadership is situational. Possesing the right skill set I think gives the leader a much greater personal power because the follower can believe that their leader knows what he/she is doing. When I look back on my own experience of leader, I think this is quite true, I can feel confident about leading in a clas environment because I have had experience before working in class groups. I know what tasks needs to be done and what resources are available, and I know I can help others with their tasks. But if I were put in a unfamiliar situation e.g. being a capitain of a sport team , I probably wouldnt have the same sort of confidence.

3. there was a slight debate over how much power leader have and whether without 100% consensus a leader should be able to make a decision for the team. And if he/she does, what right does leader have and what obligation does member have to obey leader's decision. To me I think the leader does have the right to make the decision for the team. First if the leader was elected then , the member would have given up the right to veto since he/she has already agreed to transfer his/her right to decide to the leader (contentious point !) . Second , 100% consensus is rare, yes it's a nice idea that no body should be forced to agree to something against his/her will. But if the different voice within a group is stopping the ability to make progress because a decision cannot be made, then the effect on the group is detrimental. Think about being on a sinking ship, if we have to ask everyone what our next move should be, the end result is probably everyone die together. Coordinated effort is necessary in any situation if the group is to suceed. And leadership is the core ingredient to that coordination. Any decisions made by him would need to be the best decision possible given the situation. Therefore when picking a leader we would look at the qualities, abilities, influence, and all these other attributes so that we can have someone who can make the best decision for us. The decision is already made during the leader selection, not during the individual decisions. Sure , one might ask, what if the leader makes a crazy decision that nobody agree. Well, then the group made a wrong decision in choosing their leader, so the education of member is important. Second, even when a leader is chosen, to lead effectively, he/she still has to respect the dominant opinions in the group, weigh up the strength of argument between sides, then make a decision for the team and move on. If he/she doesnt do that , then he will soon loose the personal power to influence others, and his will be punished by not to be chosen to lead again.

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