Effective Team Leadership For Engineer Management Essay
Due to the nature of this essay it will be discussion and analyses of the following; firstly successful management process on the field work. Secondly, Team make up and team development. Thirdly, leadership effectiveness in field work and what influences making them taking responsibility. The discussion will be attached with examples of '2009 Outreach trip'.
For any successful organization need a successful management. Management is a difficult term to define. The simplest definition of management is the use of people and other resources to achieve the objectives (Boone & Kurtz 4:1992). An effective teams and individuals depends on varies factors. The most important factor is the management process (Chambers, Johnston & Slack 1:2010). Management process contains four functions: planning, organizing, leading and controlling (Boone & Kurtz 4:1992). There are two important factors lead an organization that work in field (such a disaster organization) to success: team work, and the right management process.
Strategy in management is sets the objectives and goals for the organization into a framework of time to allow people know what must be achieved, when and by whom (QuickMBA 2007). Strategic analysis process is looking on the organization externally and reflect back internally to identify weaknesses, strengths and culture to enable a strategic direction to be chosen. After identifying yourself then you can choose the organization structure and use short term tactics to achieve your goals. (QuickMBA 2007). In the field trip our main strategy is to absorb the maximum of information and experience from the exercises. We used different tactics which are get full participation in exercises and take different roles and responsibilities in each exercise.
Team make up and team development is important be understood between the individuals. There are many definitions define what is team, Katzenbach and Smith (1993) stated that " A team is a small number of people with complementary skill who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable" (Sheard & Kakabadse 2004:13). As in the field trip my team doesn't exceed twenty people and we all complementary skills with common goal to achieve it in exercises. Team make up is together individuals with different abilities and skills to make up a perfect group/team for achieving the objectives (Hayes 1997:45). A team should be defined in terms of purpose, power, place, people and plane (5 p's). If one of the "P's" fail the team may be slightly more than a group of individuals whose work is related but not coordinated in any efficient manner (Holpp 4:1999). Individuals in the team pass through different stages of development. Tuckman's model of team development (1965), his four stages model; forming, storming, norming, and performing. In (1977) the model reviewed by Tuckman and Jensen and the added the fifth stage 'adjourning' (Rickards & Moger 2000:276). Referring to the Outreach trip experience that this year development stages happened quicker, and individuals settle with the team members quicker, this because the team already passed through the stages last year and every individual understand his/her role and abilities in respect of others.
Furthermore, Belbin showed that successful of teams consisted mixture of different individuals. He argued that successful teams would always need involve people with different roles (Hayes 1997:47-48). See appendix 1 for Belbin team role. Different roles in the team may be crucial to the overall success. In Outreach we tried to make the team balanced in the context of person personality which every team have a range of doing/acting, thinking/problem-solving and people/feeling so the team balance up. The roles identified in one of our lectures which everyone has identified his/her role and some people have multiple roles.
Moving forward, any team need a leader to guide them to the right track. Leader responsibility is to protect productivity, minimize risk and motivate the team members so they perform and realize the teams objective, furthermore, leader coordinate team effort and set direction, goals, targets and purpose for the team (Foster & Wellingtom 2009:27). Claire Rubin stated the importance of leadership in emergency management. She reveals that there are several characteristics associated with good leaders in emergency management. She discussed the quicker you able to put resources to work and let people know what their task are the more effective recovery operation will be (David 2007:437). However, most of the times in disaster situation the leader need to think regather all the information so to make the right decision, the first few mints are valuable for reviewing and thinking on the situation rather than rushing to the incident knowing nothing what to do that may cause significant mistakes. Communication is a very important aspect between the leader and the team. Lumsden & Wiethoff (2010) defined leadership as verbal and nonverbal communication that assist a team's transactional and task processes in achieving individuals and teams needs and goals (p.28).
Mainly there are three leadership styles; authoritarian, laissez-faire leadership and democratic leadership. Each style determine to the leader and the participation level between the leader and the team. The diagram below explain the participation level in each leadership style.
Level of participation
(source: effective team leadership for engineer p.40!)
Leadership takes place on three levels: teams, operational and strategic. The essential kind of leadership refers to 'Adair' three circles; task, team and individual. The leader must be in awareness, understanding the three circle model (Adair 2007:65). The focus may be more in one aspect, for example, in exercises the individual learning and team development is more crucial then the task, but in a real situation as an earthquake then the task be more important than individual learning or team development. Reflecting back in the field trip individual learning and team development was more important than the task. The diagram below show the difference of exercises and earthquake.
Achieving the task
However, there are five key functions of leadership linked with Adair model which are; define objectives, plan & organize, inform & confirm, Support & monitor and evaluate. Within this communication is crucial a factor (LMC 2008)
Communication is crucial factor of team success. A successful information sharing make the objective clear and each individual in the team will have a clear view of role. Hayes said "effective communication between members does more than simply remove status barriers it lead to the team success" (41). McGregor stated that an effective group/team include; participation, leadership, trust, communication, respect, commitment to common aim, team spirit and congenial atmosphere (Heller 2006). Reflecting back to the outreach trip the team was in full participation, leadership role was understood and took effectively, there was respect between members of the team, for example when someone talk everyone listen, the communication between the team was good made the aims and objectives clear to everyone, the motivational spirit was attend in which every member want to finish the task even if we have been stopped by the supervisor.
Any operation must come to a decision on the balance between using specialist, dividing the total task down into smaller parts, each which is accomplished by team or single person (Chambers, Johnston & Slack 242:2010). For example in the Outreach earth quake exercise the task accomplished by dividing into teams (like the logistic team, map reading team and search and rescue team) this made the task carry out easier. The division of teams made by individual preference and knowledge, for example the map reading team include members who are most familiar with maps and maps reading.
Decision-making beside to leadership and communication is one of the most import aspects of a successful manager. Decision making is a key element to reaching goals and objectives. It is about the why, who, when, where of a course of action and how to overcome difficulties and solve problems. It is important to have contingency plans to backup and avoid failure (Adair 2008:48). The effective decision has six elements: Defining the objective, gathering sufficient information, identifying the feasible options, evaluation, making the decision and testing and implementing (Adair 2008:49).
Shared leadership is important in teams field work, which every individual responsibility for practicing shared leadership has increased in importance as teams assume more and more management and decision making roles (Lumsden & Wiethoff 2010:35). In outreach in some parts of the exercise the leader need help so
I have refered to the importance on the communication in any point of work. Communication in disaster management is one of the key success which the statistics says that about 90% of the disaster failures caused by lack of communication. Communication is the link between teams, individuals, leaders etc.
Individuals cannot be perfect but group of people can be perfect.
Appendix 1 Belbin team role:
Doing / acting
Takes essential ideas and make them in practice. Organized and predictable. sometimes be slow.
Lots of energy and action, challenging others to move forwards. Can be insensitive.
Reliably sees things through to the end, ironing out the wrinkles and ensuring everything works well. Can worry too much and not trust others.
Thinking / problem-solving
Solves difficult problems with original and creative ideas. Can be poor communicator and may ignore the details.
Sees the big picture. Thinks carefully and accurately about things. May lack energy or ability to inspire others.
Has expert knowledge/skills in key areas and will solve many problems here. Can be disinterested in all other areas.
People / feelings
Respected leader who helps everyone focus on their task. Can be seen as excessively controlling.
Cares for individuals and the team. Good listener and works to resolve social problems. Can have problems making difficult decisions.
Explores new ideas and possibilities with energy and with others. Good networker. Can be too optimistic and lose energy after the initial flush.
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