Leadership Critical Reflection Article

Leadership Critical Reflection Article

The kind of leadership style exhibited it our team significantly determined the success or failure of our project (Gastil, 1994). While Alex acted as the team leader during the first assignment, I became the leader during the second assignment. My leadership style was not endearing to group members as I was very strict. Among the three leadership styles According to Lewin, Lipitt, & Ralph (1939), my style can be categorized as autocratic, while Alex’s style can be categorized as democratic. The difference in our leadership styles explains why our leadership generated varied results within the group.

As an autocratic leader, I subjected my group member to my own views and opinions without consulting them. I decided what was suitable for the rest of the members and expected them to follow my instructions to the letter. I did not leave them room for complaints and never encouraged them to give their opinions. They had to follow my instructions for they had no choice (Lewin et al., 1939). I dictated everything that the members ought to have done in regard to the assignment; the members were not recognized as decision makers. Unfortunately, my leadership style seemed to attract rebellion and discontent from the rest of the group members (Lewin et al., 1939). This resulted from the fact that the members were not involved in decision making; and hence felt that my decisions were not suitable. Besides, they developed a negative attitude towards me and could oppose any of my decision regardless of its suitability. Contrary to the group members’ views, I personally felt that what I was doing was for the good of the group, and indeed committed a lot of time to it, a behavior that De Cramer (2006) referred to as self-sacrifice. Our leadership styles can be illustrated in the figure 1 below.



Figure 1 Autocratic Democratic Leadership Style Diagram


AUTOCRATIC                       CONSULTATIVE                               DEMOCRATIC

On the other hand, Alex’s democratic style advocated for the collaboration of all group members towards decision making. We had to consult each other before reaching to a particular course of action (Lewin et al., 1939). Avery team member felt as part and parcel of the group and cases of rebellion were unheard of. All the team members seemed to enjoy the democratic leadership as they were all involved in decision making process (Lewin et al., 1939).

Despite the freedom during Alex leadership, Peter and Mike did not undertake their tasks adequately. They seemed less motivated and rarely participated or interacted with other group members (Lewin et al., 1939). The two members seemed to rely on the leaders to do their parts. Besides, the two members had not involved themselves in adequate research on the subject matter and hence lacked adequate knowledge and skills required to accomplish the tasks.  They could not be able to work independently (Lewis et al., 1939). I and Alex acted as facilitators rather than participants because we were expected to give guidelines in everything.

The differences between my leadership style and that of Alex can also draw some explanations from Cecil & Rothwell (2007) thory X and  Y. My leadership style can be described as X because I viewd my subjects as less impoprtant; as I did not consider their views as important. I had to make all decisions to ensure accomplishment of our project. In my leadership, I had to give orders which were not to be questioned and constantly foresee what the group members were doing. Alexs’ style which can be described as Y was participative and aimed at achieving results on the tasks and the group members as well. Alex considered all the group members as skillful and reliable and hence entrusted them with decision making. This style motivated the group members through giving them opportunity to exploit their potential and realise their personal goals (Cecil & Rothwell, 2007).

It is however notable that a compromise of the two styles could give the best results, whereby the leader listens to the group members but at the same time exercising some control over them. As such, inactive members like Mark and Peter needed some control to make sure they performed their tasks as expected. Giving them a lot of leeway seemed to make them more rebellious and less concerned. Our group consisted of teamwork since we had gathered to contribute our individual knowledge and skills towards achievement of a common goal which was accomplishment of the assignment in this case. We had teamed up to take advantages that a person working as an individual may not achieve (Rousseau, 2006). For example, as a team, we could share knowledge, skills and motivate each other towards the achievement of a common goal.

As a team, more was expected of us because cooperation facilitates open-minded discussions and hence better results (Alper et al., 1998). People discussing as a team are likely to be more creative and motivated. That is why the studies have shown that cooperation and group discussions have helped restaurants employees in Hong Kong to serve their customers better (Tjosvold et al., 1996). Better results encourage team members to become committed to their team. Our group consisted of two categories of behaviors. The fist type is the task work behaviors and the other is the teamwork behavior (McIntyre & Salas, 1995). A task work behavior is the category of the behavior that was associated with the assignment task. The second category which is the teamwork behavior   was influenced by the group dynamics. This category was more profound as compared to task behaviors. It defined the impact of group relationships and leadership to the overall accomplishment of the tasks (Homans, 1950).  It is the kind of behaviors that for example resulted from my autocratic leadership. Most group members opposed my leadership which negatively influences the result of the teamwork. Team members seemed to get motivated where they were recognized as decision makers and given opportunity to participate fully in the teamwork. In general, team obstacles were the main cause of unsuccessful completion of our task (Tjosvold et al., 1998).

Our team used stasis theory by Brizee (2008) to build common ground and solve the issues that were disagreed upon. This theory helps to break possible deadlock in a team; and hence helping group members to move forward (Belbin, 1981). When used as a process for discussion through the information related to the website, the stasis questions can help our team continue with the dialogue until a consensus is reached. When a consensus is reached, our team shall be considered as having achieved stasis with each other. Our team did not complete the discussion amicably in all cases; they had to disagree in some issues which resulted into exchange of words, but were finally resolved (Brizee, 2008). For example, different team members disagreed about whether the website project involved any capital expenditure. Here is a sample of the discussion that the team engaged in:

“Running of the website does not require any capital commitment”

“Running of the website requires capital commitments”

“Running of the website does not require capital commitments because all the expenditure that are incurred are recurrent”

The two team members disagreed about whether or not the website requires any capital expenditure. This kind of argument can result into a deadlock if the members fail to reach a common ground (Brizee, 2008).The members went on and agreed that the website required some funding to help host the website (fact). They went ahead and agreed that that expenditure is incurred during the introduction of the website (fact). They finally agreed that such expenditure, though substantial and incurred during the start-up; the expenditure becomes recurrent in future when the hosting period expires (quality). Generally, our team work did not end amicably; however, by using stasis questions to help keep the discussion going- team  members finally reached a common ground and worked towards an idea that was acceptable to most of the members, even if not all (Johnson, 2007).

Our team had experienced a lot of obstacles because Peter and Mike were not actively engaged in the work and focus of the team. This proved really problematic because a success team requires that all the team members commits and participates in the team’s process with the aim of achieving the team’s objectives. “The team member must be dependable and carry the full weight of personal responsibility to complete their individual commitments by the date committed to.” (Belbin, 1981, p. 41). Peter and Mike ought to have actively supported the team members so that they can add value to the team. Other team members ought to have understood their problem and try to motivate them so that the team can move forward as one…………

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