Back when I was undertaking my undergraduate, I had an interesting experience in campus. There were various groups in the campus and I happened to be a leader in one of the groups. I was the overseer of the student’s forum for research and management of studies. This particular group was endowed with the task of engaging with the different fraternities in the campus and to discuss with these groups matters concerning the progress of the different departments in the context of the teaching methods and expectations of the different schools.
The group was tasked with the responsibility of educating the students on the current proposed learning methodologies and expectations of the different departments. The group had different leadership positions led by the chair, vice-chair, secretary, and the lead researcher, and it also consisted of the research team. One of the major issues that the group faced then was resource allocation and research methodologies. As the leader of the group, I found it challenging when it came to offering leadership to the group members since my assistant was quite authoritative and to a great extent intended that all that is accomplished by the group be done in line with his ideology. His dictatorial methods affected the cohesive of the group and limited the capabilities of the other group members especially those tasked with the responsibility to conduct research.
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According to Wiseman and McKeown (2010), leaders can use their intelligence to amplify the smarts of the people around them. Notably, this was different from what the vice chair was doing. Sadly, the leader was what is referred to as an idea killer. Such leaders do all the thinking and do not give room to others to make their contribution. As a result, they end up killing other’s ideas and this affects the performance of the other members. I defined the problem by observing the members of the team. I noted that some members were disgruntled and were underperforming. When I confronted them, they noted that they did not see the need to participate in any group activity since their input was inconsequential and of no use. Once I took note of this issue, I observed the situation and called for several brainstorming meetings with the intention of presenting an opportunity where I would experience the vice shooting down the rest of the group members’ ideas. It was at these meeting that confirmed that the vice was diluting the rest of the member’s contributions. It seems that the vice chairman had issues with their self-awareness. When one is not aware of their self, they can easily engage in activities that are demeaning and not in the context of their capabilities (Goleman, 1988).
To deal with the issue, I decided to further allocate duties to each member of the group and I also ordered that all the members report to me directly in the form of a written report which would also be copied to the vice chairman. In doing so, it was clear that what the other team members had in mind was articulated to me as the chairperson and more so, I presented them with the opportunity to try out their ideas. I also engaged the vice chairperson and discussed the issue at hand with them. Having noted that they were often calm, I engaged them and advised on the need for self-awareness, self-regulation and also social skills that would facilitate a good working environment between the team members.
Hi Sifan Chen,
Interestingly, your experience is almost similar to what I went through with my group. Your group was presented with a task which was quite specialized and each of the group members was assigned a role that was in line with their capability and experience. Your main challenge was how to deal with the information gap between the team members. You opted to delegate the tasks and this eased the burden of any group members especially the leadership. The effective communication was a strategic tool which facilitated the multiplying effect in the group rather than the diminishing effect that was being experienced due to the information gap.
- Goleman, D. (1988). “What Makes a Leader?” HBR, (10 pp.)
- Wiseman, L., & McKeown, G. (2010). Multipliers: How the best leaders make everyone smarter. HarperBusiness.