The leadership style that I scored most frequently in the scenarios was participative. During one of the scenarios in the vLeader Advantage my leadership style based on my percentage of dialogue turns was participating at 39%. I found myself frequently engaging in two-way communication and encouraging involvement throughout the semester. I would engage in two-way communication by remaining involved and suggesting conference calls for everyone to be on the same page, this would result in everyone being proactively involved and constantly generating ideas. During the same scenario my employee satisfaction score was 95%. In achieving a high score in employee satisfaction, I was able to apply that behavior while working with my team, and it allowed me to gain my teammates support on my ideas that I wanted to implement.
Based on my team member feedback my teammates noticed the trust I built between everyone by treating everyone with dignity and respect, and my attempt to make the team setting and semester a fun project to work on. All the traits that were described during my feedback session were clear indicators that I proactively used the participative leadership style. I consistently asked for feedback and my intent was always to keep everyone motivated. Based on my experiences outside of this course I found this leadership style most effective. There are instances where directive and delegative must be applied, but overall my preferred style is participative.
Leader Strengths and Weaknesses
Reflecting on the instructor feedback and my icebreaker sessions with my team, I felt great because a lot of my strengths were brought to light. I felt I did my best in controlling my weaknesses for the sake of keeping my professionalism and maintaining my image throughout the semester. A weakness that I can say I have encountered is getting frustrated if something is not going as planned. For example, I was able to control this weakness because prior to sending a message or conducting a phone call I would plan out my use of tone in how I wanted my teammates to receive that message and how they should perceive it. In understanding that I had weaknesses I was able to develop my strengths.
One of my biggest strengths was fostering a positive environment. I was able to attend to the climate of the team, build relationships, have open communication, and find meaning of the work. I understood that for an organization to create a positive work environment they must have a positive physiological impact on employees. I attempted to do my best in creating that environment to enhance performance with the team. I found the feedback sessions very helpful because everyone was able to distinguish direct features that made everyone an effective team member and help them flourish.
Being in an online class our main form of communication was limited to phone calls and messages sent through our phones and computers. Applying and demonstrating effective emotional intelligence was determined through our tone of voice and grammar when sending messages. When it came to working with my team I proactively applied self and social awareness which led to a comprehensive understanding of my teammate’s emotions, and mine as well. I was able to observe and be conscious of everyone’s emotions and how it would affect every one of us individually and as a team. In terms of self-management, I felt I could have performed better, typically when an announcement or assignment needed to be completed I had no control of my impulses when it came to expressing myself and the need to get it completed. My strength was managing my relationship with my team. I contributed a lot of effort when it came to guiding and motivating everyone. With my influential characteristics I developed others in becoming a more collaborative and effective team member.
Dealing with Conflict and Tension
Dealing with conflict and tension in my group I had to understand my teammates personal differences to communicate effectively. In the beginning stages of our project we encountered a relationship conflict with a teammate who was non-participative. This relationship conflict led to a task conflict with that team member because they did not fulfill their end of the bargain by completing the tasks that they were assigned. Dealing with this situation taught us how to respond and mediate a resolution. Being that I was a phase one leader I had to control my behavior by not getting upset or taking it personal for their lack of participation. Out of the big five personality traits I scored high on conscientiousness because I was organized, responsible, and dependable. Whenever we had assignments to be completed I was always readily available. In terms of being organized I always took time to read the projects before submission. I also scored high on extroversion because I was very sociable and ambitious, yet assertive. By applying these personality traits, they enabled me to listen to others concerns and make an agreement for change. Our decision as a team gave us the strength to overcome this conflict.
Power and Interactions
In terms of power I consider myself a politically savvy person because I found myself challenging ideas and bringing up difficult issues without alienating others. For example, in the beginning some of my team members and I had a challenging time understanding the concept of the VLA scenarios. By reaching out I was able to influence others to share their best practices which in turn led to relationship building. When it came to the interaction of the team members we all demonstrated inclusion by helping and sharing ideas with each other. We demonstrated trust by being transparent, fulfilling our tasks, while also demonstrating commitment because there were times when we had personal issues outside of class and we had to make personal sacrifices for the success of the team.
When it came to the culture of the team, Jaislen played an affirmer role. She made members feel valued by including everyone’s opinions which allowed an increase in the team’s self-esteem. Alan fulfilled the role of a supporter by assisting the team members and encouraging us during tough times. Alan had replaced the previous team member who we fired. Jessica was the catalyst, she did an excellent job developing the ideas of others and expanding on team improvement. I found myself playing the constructive critical role because I would encourage others and promote ideas.
Personal Decision Making and Group Climate
A few qualities I wanted to bring to the table were my ability to promote group cohesion as a leader and how I will I will build structure to lead to our success as a group. During my phase 1 process as a leader I wanted to ensure I was providing a constructive climate within the team. Based on my readings of the VLA I was aware that constructive climate provides an atmosphere that promotes group members satisfaction and helps them achieve their personal best. Therefore, my goal was to provide structure, clarify the norms, build cohesiveness, and promote standards of excellence. There were a few instances where I had to provide constructive feedback and resolve issues within the team. My goal was to be honest and direct, it was not my intention to be mean or too nice but rather inform on how we can maintain and improve and move past these situations. Being able to resolve issues is a critical part of an effective leader, being in that situation and I was able to overcome any concerns and provide constructive feedback to that team member.
The climate of our team was very positive, everyone did their part to achieve their personal best. As a leader during the phase one process learning to establish a constructive climate by providing structure meant setting the expectations and stressing the importance of deadlines. I was able to build cohesiveness by including everyone in all the decisions made between the team and by showing my appreciation of the group, in turn I was appreciated by my group. A few of the outcomes of building cohesiveness within the team resulted in team members being more productive, group membership was very consistent, and everyone was interactive between each other.
Team Development and Enforcing Ground Rules
I personally felt team development and structure was the most important aspect of working in a team. I wanted to follow the five stages of development as closely as possible to have a successful outcome. During the forming of our team I took the initiative to reach out to everyone to create a form of communication that was going to be best for us throughout the semester, we decided on using WhatsApp. During the storming of our team we encountered a situation that became a hostile because some team members felt indifferent about the decision of firing a team member. After this road bump during the norming stage we were able to develop a closer relationship and foster a positive work environment. During the performing stage of group development each team member fulfilled their position in working towards getting their parts of the project done. And lastly during the adjourning stage we decided to keep in contact up until a few of us graduated. We did conclude with everyone being thankful for us having the advantage of working with each other because everyone proved to be a productive team member.
Our team culture proved to be very strong because everyone was committed to a common purpose, the achievement of performance goals, and their approach for which everyone held themselves mutually accountable. From the beginning the phase one leaders did an excellent job in setting ground rules for the team. Part of enforcing the ground rules was setting the expectation with attendance for the meetings, setting work expectations and what is expected from everyone on their part, and promoting confidentiality to maintain the trust of everyone in the group and with the professor. Because everyone fulfilled their end of the bargain we did not experience any issues with anyone not abiding by the ground rules.
Regarding the team process my main goal was to exhibit patience, have a positive attitude toward the team operations, listen to my team members, be flexible, and inspire everyone. I was aware that I was going to achieve this by having effective communication. During the team meetings the three roles were distributed evenly between everyone. Jaislen did an excellent job assisting the team in choosing the tasks and goals we wanted to achieve. Jessica performed a phenomenal job being the recorder and providing the team with the written documentation of what we were discussing. Alan shared his observations on the meeting and what we could improve going forward. These roles were rotated every meeting that we conducted. Because everyone participated this helped us build our team performance, which in turn led to a good grade on the project and low tension throughout the term.
Developing Creativity, Motivation Techniques Employed
To achieve our goal of working effectively in a team we all wanted to foster a culture of creativity. One way to build creativity is to give shelter, we did this by making others feel comfortable in sharing ideas and be accepting of those ideas even if we did not agree. In terms of sharing ideas, myself I don’t think I shared as many as I should have, I played a bigger role in listening and setting the limits on the ideas. In being a phase one leader, I did my best to empower my teammates by keeping the meetings interesting and supporting whatever decisions they made.
Finding the motivation was easy once I gained the respect and trust of my team. As a leader I was aware the only way I could maintain or increase productivity was to be productive myself, I had to set the expectation for my team. Setting an ideal climate was not difficult for us to achieve. We were all self-motivated and found purpose and meaning in our work. Being that our main communication was through WhatsApp it was easy to involve everyone in changes. Because we found purpose in our work, meeting with each other on a regular basis was natural for us.
There are several ways we can become a more successful leader, working together has enabled us to grow and work in a team effectively. For me the biggest takeaway was understanding the differences between management versus leadership. I did my best in applying leadership when necessary and applying management when needed. I think I performed a better job when applying a leadership style. I found myself focusing more on my relationships, motivating and inspiring, and the decisions focusing on the long-term view on what was going to be beneficial for the team. I can honestly say that there were no issues, aside from the one we had in the beginning with our decision to fire a team member. After this incident we all jumped into leader mode and moved past this. Every team member demonstrated different leadership traits, but this allowed us to come together and be stronger than before.
What You learned and How Your Skills Have Been Enhanced
The biggest piece of information and knowledge I’m taking away from this class is there are various ways to be a successful leader. I loved learning about different CEOs, their roles, best leadership practices, and how they became successful. Being successful has a lot to do with traits and characteristics. I have enhanced my skills by becoming more charismatic, confident, and determined. One of the aspects I feel is most important is intelligence. I think is crucial for a leader to obtain knowledge, learn about their job and environment, and use that information to become a better leader. Intelligent leaders are the ones employees go to when they need to obtain information. I am taking all these qualities and applying them in my work environment to become an effective leader.