November 18, 2011

P8 Leading a Group Project

Tutor: Mary Sage

Date of workshop:16/11/2011

Let's do this. So, the first workshop based on leadership was a few days ago. We began by thinking about what a project is actually defined as, followed by working out what made projects successful. Bingo, straight away hit on my first action point: setting milestones with projects. You see, when I have a project to do with or without others, or any large task for that matter, I generally throw it all into one big category - THE PROJECT. Hence, it always seems daunting, and I often end up avoiding it like the plague. However, when I start it, I really get into it, and end up wearing myself out by working long hours that should have been separated out! So, first action point - aim to split large tasks (not just projects), into smaller ones. I've also noticed this then leading other people; I don't see the overall aim as a series of small goals.

Next, we learned about authoritarian, participative and delegative leadership styles. Authoritarian is the standard "you do this. I'm the boss." style of leadership, participative is more "let's all contribute to decisions and live in harmony", and delegative is "I'm the leader, but you guys decide everything on your own". Thinking about my own style, I definitely have to rule out authoritarian: I'm pretty rubbish att telling people what to do (cue assertiveness skills seminar!). Conversely, I'd say my strengths lie in getting all opinions and making decisions that keep everyone happy; I'm not a big fan of conflict! This leads onto my next action point; delegation and chasing people up. If people aren't pulling their weight in group projects, or anything in life, I'm the last to force them to do things. A polite suggestion is just about as far as I'll go; I find it hard to make people do things they don't want to do. So, since there aren't many oppertunities to make sure people are working in group projects currently, I figure the next best thing is looking outside my academic life. The kitchen in my house (bear with me here) is constantly a complete mess. I'm only really bothered when it's my cutlery etc. that's used and not washed up, but it's getting pretty ridiculous. Anyway, the skill I'm going to try and implement is encouraging people to play their role in putting the work in to keep the room tidy. This skill is obviously transferable to any projects I have to lead in future. I guess you could call it being team leader of "Project Kitchen"! Except maybe not, because that sounds super lame.

Hmm, third action point... considering we have a psychology project coming up, which involves team work, I think it would be wise for me to get the team I'm probably working with together and come up with some ideas about what kind of thing to do a study on. This kind of planning this far ahead isn't normally something I would do, but neither is a seminar on leadership, and both will help me in the long run!

Summary: Break things into smaller tasks, delegate and enforce tasks, and work out an early project action plan to save time later. Sounds do-able, we shall see!


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Mary Sage

    A great first blog and set of action points, Matt. it’s good that you’ve chosen both academic and non-academic aspects. If you can crack “Project Kitchen” I guess leading your psychology project will be a cinch! good luck and I look forward to reading your next blog.

    29 Nov 2011, 18:27

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