Reflective Writing On Leadership And Teams Education Essay

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During the first workshop of PASBD, I was in a way taught by our lecture, that working in a group or a team, every member is an important key to achievements, and having a leader is important to keep the team on track as well as lead the team to achieve goals. "Leadership can be seen as a counteractive influence when groups experience difficulties in establishing the conditions necessary for making the best possible choice" Dennis Gouran (qtd. in Beebe & Masterson 2006). Therefore, a leader always gave me an impression that he or she has to be brilliant with good leadership skills, thinking that if a group is lack of a skillful or brilliant leader, a team would most probably fail. Throughout the semester I came to see the importance of a leader, but not as a dominant to the entire team. I felt that having a vertical leadership [1] is somehow not so appropriate in completing our task as a group in this subject; rather Shared Leadership will be more appropriate used to explain our group.

Having a leader is crucial to keep the team going, however a team does not restrict to only one leader. According to Pearce & Conger (2003) "leadership is broadly distributed among a set of individual instead of centralizes in hands of a single individual who acts in the role of a superior", referring this as Shared Leadership Craig & Jay, (2003), which is the process of influencing each other in a team, leading each other to achieve a certain goal or achievement, where "leadership is carried out by the team as a whole, rather than solely by an individual alone." [2] . In our group, I felt that each group member has a very important role to keep the team going, having each with different skill contributing to a team will only keep the team resourceful, and unlock the thinking by bringing in new idea. Benne and Sheats, 1948, (qtd. In Craig & Jay, 2003), raised that team members had actually the roles that is as critical as the team leader, where leadership is a reciprocal process. And the roles are divided by Benne and Sheats into two categories, which are Task Role [3] and Socioemotional Roles [4] . In my own opinion, I felt that I am most suitable to be classified as the Socioemotional Roles in a team, where I played most of the role as a group observer or as a follower. I do not enjoy leading a team dominantly, most of the time it will depend on situation where I felt suitable to contribute, usually collecting each group member opinion and idea before deciding on which suggestion is most appropriate to be taken up.

Team Role

Considering the team role, define as "A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way." Belbins (1993) I would consider myself as a Monitor Evaluator Belbins (1993), being describe as having the characteristic of sober, strategic, discerning, able to sees all options and could judges accurately. A Monitor Evaluator in a team is needed to provide a logical eye, make impartial judgments where required and to weigh up the team's options in a dispassionate way [5] . This stands in a part of my personality, where I often not like to make a judgment without knowing the actual situation. During a group discussion, I usually observe the interaction and the statements of others before I start putting more of my opinions.

It is important to have delegated team role in a group, with the different combination of characteristic, the team can only help each other to meet up all the requirements needed to complete the task. Due to the different characteristic of members in a group, it leads to a certain disagreement between members during the completion of the task. However to get job done, members of a group often need some corporation to a certain extent. In my situation I find it sometimes difficult to coordinate with group members who are in the team role of a Shaper [6] , where they have the tendency to hurt people feeling on some statement they made, without realizing it. Their actions often speak louder than words, made me feel annoying and difficult to concentrate. Despite the characteristics which I do not like about Shaper, they are actually important in providing drive to ensure that the team kept moving and did not lose focus or momentum, Belbins (1993). On the other hand, I most enjoy teaming with members with the role of Co-coordinator², where they often delegates well, and will seek for advice for other members, allowing each members to feel the respect and involved in to team. According to Beebe & Masterson (2006), "Not only group members need a mutual concern to unite them, but they also need to feel they belong to a group".

Nevertheless, each Team Role has its own contribution; however there are also "allowable weakness" Belbins (1993), where allowable weaknesses are the downside of the characteristics of the roles, which is allowable due to the strength which goes with it. As for my role as a Monitor Evaluator, I have the weakness of being said to lack of drive and ability to inspire others, and overly critical, Belbin (1993). I often realize this weakness of mine and attempt to change, by trying to say things to keep the discussion in progress. "Weakness offers clues to a possible strength", Belbins (1993), knowing my own weaknesses could help to improve more in the future. I believe that by making use of my weakness appropriately, it could transform into strength.

Working in Team/Group

Working in a group is different from working individually. Working individually allows having flexibility in time management, as I can plan my own schedule to work on the assignment, as well as deciding on something without have to seek discussion or the opinion of other group members. When working in group, "one of the major frustration about group work is the time it takes to accomplish task" Beebe & Masterson (2006). Working in a group, it needs much cooperation from each group members to get things done effectively and efficiently. This includes encouraging the group members to attend the discussion meeting, and ensuring every group member to take on the responsibility to complete their task assigned, "If we want a better solution, it is going to take time, patients, and understanding", Beebe & Masterson (2006). Because working in a group involves a few individuals, and few individual usually means involving different time to suit, as each has own different daily activities. This will create some difficulties in finding the correct time and place that is convenient for all to hold a discussion meeting. On the other hand, I also find many advantages in working in a group. Having a group of people working together is like pooling of skills and knowledge, and this will to certain extent speed up the researching process and the decision making. Working together with a few person, allows to have discussion on problems and solutions, increasing the probability of picking the error done by another, and could pool different opinion to a problem.

There are different types of group according to Beebe & Masterson (2006); there are the primary group and secondary group. Primary group members "associate with one another to perpetuate the joy of community, to fulfill the basic human needs to be social" Beebe & Masterson (2006), therefor the conversation is informal. Secondary group is what I would classify as our group, as the secondary groups exist to accomplish task or achieve goal "the reason you join secondary group is to get something done" Beebe & Masterson (2006). Our group is assigned with a take to complete every week, we gather to solve the problem in the task given. Further, our group could also be classifying as the Focus Group, where we have a goal to focus, as well as given a particular topic to follow, Beebe & Masterson (2006).

In order to get the group working well there are two most important behavior of group member based on Michael Mayer, Beebe & Masterson (2006), these behavior encourage members to participate fully in the discussion, especially in analyzing problem, and, offer supportive comments to others, Beebe & Masterson (2006). To me, having these behaviors can only our group fully utilize the skills and knowledge we have to achieve the best result possible. However, working in groups, I had come through different types of personalities grouping. Some are in a dominating role, where without seeking permission from others, they tries too in a way give order to people telling them what to do. Trying to get ideas across group members who like to dominate is rather challenging for me, I had experience some hard time convincing on an idea. This experience gives me a lot of practice on my patients, and practicing different way of communicating an idea. Nevertheless, there are also group members who are Blocks Progress and some are Social Loafing, Beebe & Masterson (2006). Block Progress has an attitude which is often stubborn and disagreeable with no supportive reason. Social Loafing are people who attempt to rely on others to do their job, and hold back on their contribution, Beebe & Masterson (2006). These group members will delay the progress of the group, keeping the group from achieving goals. From these, I had realized that "to work together effectively, individuals must develop common goals and collective focus rather than pursuing only individual goals" Beebe & Masterson (2006). To get the work effectively done I will have learn to be a competent group communicator, Beebe & Masterson (2006), to always have motivation [7] and have the ability to interact appropriately to achieve goal.

Communication

Having the ability to convey ideas through communication is very important when working in group, as "Speech communication gives individual access to the ideas and inner world of other group members", Beebe & Masterson (2006). Failure in communication well will cause misunderstanding, leading to conflict or inability to come out with a well done assignment. Problems of communication that I have faced are such as Bypassing and Allness Statement, Beebe & Masterson (2006). Bypassing is when, I or my group member is trying to make a statement, we misunderstand the meaning of on a same word, and this had leaded us to produce or work not as required at first. Further is Allness Statement, means that some statement is simple but untrue generalization, Beebe & Masterson (2006). Knowing that there are chances that we may misunderstand out group member's word, I often like to summarize our discussion at the end of the meeting, to ensure that the message is got through clearly.

Throughout the entire course, I found myself in groups are being generally low profile, in the sense where I prefer to monitor the progress of the group discussion and only give opinions when I felt I am needed to, in another words seeking for others to discover that I have something to say. Realizing that "a group cannot function without words; communication is the vehicle that allows a group to move towards its goals" Beebe & Masterson (2006), I have encouraged myself to speak out more during a discussion. At the beginning I was struggling to get points out of my mouth, after few discussions, I had felt more comfortable. In order to be sure of my communication skill I had done a test through the internet, on a website call Test Yourself [8] . The outcome of the test on my communication skill says that I am insightful, where I sometimes have difficulties interpreting other people's words and actions, and see things from their perspective, although I can generally sense what others are feeling and thinking relatively well.

Conflict between group members

Conflict, happens when members have disagreement over two or more options that a group can take, Beebe & Masterson (2006), and "A conflict occurs because people do not understand one another" Beebe & Masterson (2006). It is something difficult to avoid when involving contact between human, in terms of communication or what so ever. In my situation, while needed to work in a group of five, there are always chances of conflict happening once any members can't get into the same opinion. A group with more than two people will often add complexity and element of uncertainty to the Trans active communication process, and this will affect the outcome Beebe & Masterson (2006). I would preferably try my best to avoid conflict when working in my group, as conflict will have negative impact on a group harmony and the outcome of our work, I will keep the group from completing its task, interferes with the quality of the group's decision or productivity, threatens the existence of the group Beebe & Masterson (2006).

According to the book of communication in small groups, Beebe & Masterson (2006), Communication scholars Gerald Milller and Mark Steinberg had identified three common types of interpersonal conflict; they are the pseudo-conflict, where people misunderstand one another, Simple conflict, where people disagree about issues, and, Ego conflict, when personalities clash, Beebe & Masterson (2006). Throughout the entire course, I came through the three types of interpersonal conflict in a different way. These conflict does not happen when our group members first met, it all happen when we begin to know more about each characteristic and working style, then begin the disagreement between each other. The conflict that I found most challenging to deal with is the Ego Conflict, as in the situation when the group members become defensive about their position because they think they are being personally attacked, Beebe & Masterson (2006). There are times where the entire progress of the task is being delayed, and other group members are put into pressure, by worrying if the deadline could be met. Fortunately, we managed to overcome these obstacles, meeting the deadline.

Dealing with conflict, each individual will have different style in managing it. Even though working in a group, each will manage the conflict in their own way as the feel more comfortable with. I myself manage conflict in a Nonconfrontational Style, one of the three general styles of managing conflict by, Linda Putnam and Charmaine, according to Beebe & Masterson (2006). Nonconfrontational Style explains that a person in managing the conflict face by "working hard to avoid conflict with others", Beebe & Masterson (2006). I do not like to go into argument with others, for any reason; I will feel very uncomfortable to communicate or rather become speechless, when things begin to feel unpleasant. Thus, I would choose to withdraw myself to a certain extent, until the situation become calmer before I start to sort things out by communicating with the group member. "Avoiding an immediate attack from another group member may give you time to think of more appropriate response rather than blurting out the first thing come to your mind" Beebe & Masterson (2006). However, in some situation, "Avoiding conflict does not make the source of problem go away, it still exist" Beebe & Masterson (2006). When the conflict became too critical to be left to calm by itself, it can't be avoided by keeping quiet, things would have gotten worst if so. In this, no matter how uncomfortable I am to face the conflict, I still have to stand out to solve the problem, trying not to make things reach the extent where, group members turn into enemies. "If others are unlikely to change, then you may have to change yourself", Belbins (1993).

Conclusion

Going through the entire PASBD course is a whole process of learning, teaching in the lecture, and through experience. From the lecture, I had learned on skills of presentation as well as got more understanding on the topic of PASBD. What I gain from the lecture are actually from the experience of others, and I can only understand it theoretically, if I did not got the true experience I can never have the real feeling of what the theories actually trying to convey. Mr. JJ said something about experience, the meaning is roughly of: "experiencing the process is like riding a roller coaster; you will not want others to tell u about it, it is what you need to feel for yourself through your real experience". It is through the experience that I could utilize what I learned, and physically going through the process allowing me to have deeper impression on the leanings. Belbins (1993) had also mentioned something about experience learning, saying that "Like competing in the Olympic Games, the great thing is to have taken part. Unless people enrol for the event, they cannot win the race". What we do will be what we learn; people equipped themselves for work through working, and through the lessons learned through experience, Beebe & Masterson (2006).

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