February 16, 2011

some thoughts in "building a tower

On Monday, each of our teams built a tower by leading with our leaders. Some of the leaders turned out to be autocratic and some of them were more democratic. I agree that it was partly because of the characteristics and habits of the leaders, however, what I am thinking is that the behaviors of leaders may change when they face different tasks. For example, Ian was the leader in our team and he did engineering in his previous degree. So he was confident in managing the task and made his decision quickly before he came back. Obviously, he was very good at handling our team though he appeared autocratic and didn't ask our opinions. We worked together quite well as his instruction was clear and his strategy was really effective. However, the leaders who were lack of knowledge in construction may feel diffident and weren't capable at making decision by themselves. In this situation, they had to ask their follower's idea and listened carefully even if they were definitely not such kind of person. But, once these democratic leaders got the chances to lead in an area that they are really familiar with and good at, will they still prefer democracy as well?

Besides, during the exercise, I felt that initiative of employees was important and necessary at work. For example, at the beginning of the exercise, I just sat in my chair and cut the tapes lackadaisical. Later, I thought things couldn't be like that as every one worked so fast and I should be more active, or else I would out of our pace. Because I enjoyed the game so much as I wished to make our tower better, it was not difficult for me to walk around the table and cut tapes. But if I thought the game was boring and I really didn't want to build a tower, probably I would stay in my chair through the exercise unless I was forced to stand.  

What I am also thinking is that though initiative seems good most of the time, leaders still need to manage it sometimes. Initiative appeared as a positive factor in our team and Ian didn't need to concern about it, however, I remembered when we finished building our tower, some groups were still discussing their ideas. I mean, there are full of initiative in each team and because of the democratic leaders, every followers tended to show their opinions. If only ten minutes were allowed in making the towers, we couldn't have so much time to argue and discuss. Therefore, initiative might cause negative results in the above situation and leaders need to control the initiative to a certain degree.


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