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The first lecture of this module was very surprising for me because in the first lecture I came to know that leadership and management are two different things. I got confused because some unhelpful thoughts were going through my mind i.e. they are the same terms and play the same role. But during the lecture the facts were also provided against these unhelpful thoughts as the difference was explained by Manfred Kets de Vries theory.
Focuses on the present
Orients toward the short term
Focuses on procedure
Asks "what" and "how"
Prefers to control
Is happy in complexity
Uses the rational mind
Works within the context of the organization and the business
Do things right
Looks toward the future
Orients toward the long term
Engages in a Vision
Asks "why" and "what"
Knows how to delegate
Prefers to simplify
Takes social and environmental contexts into consideration
Do right things
Things out of the box
Table 1: The Difference: Manfred Kets de Vries (Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw)
From the table it is clear that managers only focus on the present situation and do what they are told to do. On the other hand, leaders focus on future and keep the things simple. It was really important for me to know the difference because it opened new ideas about leadership and management in me. In my future life, I want to be a manager but after knowing the difference and the importance of a leader, I'll try to be a leader. I was 100% satisfied with this.
When I made my mind to be a leader not a manager, then I came to know the importance of managers as well. I was puzzled at the moment because I've already been thinking to be a leader. At the moment, the unhelpful thoughts were 'leadership is important' and the facts that were supporting these unhelpful thoughts were 'leaders are at the top and they've got authority'. But then facts were also provided against these unhelpful thoughts as the importance of management and leadership was explained according to Kotter's view.
Table 2: Leadership and Management, Kotter 1990 (Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw)
From the table it is clear that although management and leadership play different roles but both are important for the company. If a company has got good leadership but bad management, the company will not make any progress. Similarly if they have bad leadership and good management then still they will not stand in the competitive environment. For the success of an organization it is necessary to have a good leadership and management team and a healthy relationship between these two teams because Gosling and Minztberg (2003) said,
"The separation of management from leadership is dangerous. Just as management without leadership encourages an uninspired style, which deadens activities, leadership without management encourages a disconnected style, which promotes hubris" (Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw).
By knowing both the difference and the importance of leadership and management, I tried to identify myself where I'll fit in. At that moment, I was feeling a kind of change in me as Rachael Shaw tried to explain the change process in her lectures.
Table 3: The change process and the transition state (Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw).
I was moved from my present state to transition state in which I was very emotionally stressed and many thoughts were going through my mind i.e. will the new beliefs be helpful for me? My desired state was to be a good leader and a good manager, but mainly I want to be a good leader because;
Successful Change Teams = 75% Leadership + 25% Management
Then I tried to identify which leadership style I've got and which I should have. Kurt Lewin identified three leadership styles which are Autocratic leader, Democratic leader and Laissez-faire leader. Autocratic leaders give clear outlook for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. There is also a clear separation between the leader and the followers. Democratic leaders offer guidance to group members, but they also participate in the group and allow input from other group members. Laissez-faire leaders offer little or no guidance to group members and leave decision-making up to group members.
The qualities which I've observed in me indicates that my leadership style is Autocratic but it is also a fact that overuse of an autocratic style can be construed as bossy and controlling. So I'll try to use all three styles depending upon the situation. For example, I'll use the autocratic style if the group members lack knowledge about the certain procedure, democratic style with group members who understand the objectives and their role in the task and laissez-faire style if the group members know more than me about the task.
Another moment of self-image or self realization came when it was my first day in tutorials. I missed my first two tutorials and I was late in the tutorials. I got nervous when I came to know that the groups have already been made. I was called on the front and the teacher told me put your opinion to all groups. I was feeling shameful for not attending the first two tutorials and coming late. I gave my opinion and at last I was chosen by a group. The thing which I learned that day was the importance of time and regularity. This will also help me in my current and future work place by maintaining regularity and time.
A strange situation:
During the group task, a strange situation occurs. Actually we were having a discussion with each other in the group; suddenly we observe an angry feeling in our teacher. I was nervous at the moment because I was thinking what was happened. My nervousness was increased when I observed that all the class was shocked at that time. First time I faced this kind of situation in a group. But later on we were told that it was a part of the task to make us familiar with this kind of situation in a group.
This task was very important for me because from this task I learned different things for example,
It gave purpose to my life by teaching how to control my actions more effectively in response to uncertain and unstructured situations. Sometimes what we think is not true, for example in the above situation the behavior and way of talking of our teacher was totally wrong. It was that time when there was a fear that I might take some wrong action by arguing with the teacher. Though the teacher was wrong at that moment but his intention was not wrong. It was also not possible that I took some wrong action against the teacher because I respect my teachers and also he was senior to me. But this incident teach me a lesson that in my future life, I might face the same kind of incident no matter a senior or junior colleague involved in that, I've to control my actions not only for the sake of myself but also for the sake of the organization. Also I might be wrong in my decision, so by not acting against it, I might save myself and the organization from the wrong decision but if I'm right I'll defend myself.
Second thing which I corrected from the above example (teacher one) were my beliefs about me and others. The attitude of our teacher was very rude with us but sometimes our well-wishers treat us in such a way to give us the great lessons of life. My assumptions about my teacher were totally wrong. It also strengthens my above view that I might be wrong in my decisions.
During the group task, I came to know that the leader has been changed. There was a feeling of anger in me because everything was going perfect in my group and I developed good understanding with my leader. With the appointment of new leader, I've to start everything again. Definitely the new leader will bring and implement new ideas and rules and I've have to follow those rules. But there was a sequence behind this change as Kurt Lewin identified three stages needed to make change successful and those are Unfreeze, Change and Freeze.
Unfreeze stage is one of the most important stages to understand the world of change we live in today. This stage is about getting ready to change. It involves reaching to a point of understanding that change is essential and be ready to move away from current comfort state. The sequence which I've told above was that we were already been told that this change will occur.
According to Kurt Lewin, change is not an event but it's a process and that is called transition state. Transition is a kind of inner movement we make in response to a change. This stage was very difficult for me because I was unsure about future and a bit fearful as well because for the second time I was feeling a change in my actions. Coping with change is not an easy task. It not only takes time but also we need some kind of support. Though we didn't get enough time but we got our teacher's support.
This stage is about maintaining stability once the change has been made. The next change might be in weeks or less so there is hardly any time to settle in the comfortable zone. At last we got a new leader and we were ready to work together.
This task teaches me lessons for my future work that I should be ready for any change and don't resist the change. The change might be positive and negative and there are many forces on the back of that change i.e. many research about pros and cons of that change. In few cases, change proves to be negative but in most cases it's positive.
My over all group experience was very great. I've learned many things during my group experience. To be a good leader, I should have an influencing power in my personality so that I can influence my followers. This is what Melanie Klein called projective identification. Melanie Klein's research gives a new direction to my life. Her research teaches me how to convert the unfavorable attitude of my followers into favorable. But the problem was that I just got chance to learn this technique. I didn't do any practical. This knowledge only works for my personal development and I'll use this technique in my future practical work. This technique also improves my emotional intelligence behavior by teaching me how to control my emotions and increase my personal defense by changing the unfavorable attitude towards me. It also signifies the importance and impacts of my actions on the organization and my relationships with my colleagues.
Another helpful knowledge which I've learned during my group experience was Bion's theory of group development. This theory gave me an insight into how a group developed and what kind of emotional factors are working during a group development. Bion in his book "Experiences in Groups" told that in every group, two different groups are working. First one is work group and the second one is basic assumption group. The main characteristics of work group are;
The main concern of this group is to solve the problem or completing a task
The group members are fully aware of the task and their responsibilities
The group members accept and respect each other
Their task are in an arrangement and organized
The characteristics of basic assumption group are
Group members experience internal emotional and psychological barriers not related to the task
Members are not aware of the barriers
"Basic" because the anxieties experienced are primitive and instinctual
"Assumptions" because the group functions "as if" the assumption was unspoken truth
Time boundaries vanish "as if" time was unlimited
Critical discussion and reflection is avoided
Result is a "breakdown" of group effectiveness
Bion (1961) divided the basic assumption group into three types depending upon their emotional thoughts and feelings. Those are,
Fight / Flight
In dependence type,
Feelings, thoughts and actions aimed toward making someone the sole leader of the group
Members rely on the leader for all solutions
Group members reveal disappointment and hostility toward leader
In fight / flight type,
Group acts "as if" its purpose is to fight real or imagined enemy
Members reject to critically assess themselves
Weaknesses are not tolerated
While in pairing type,
Group members rely on a pair in the group for all creative efforts
Solutions or leaders generated by the pair are destroyed by the group
All this knowledge was for my personal development. Again I didn't use this knowledge for practical because of lack of time but I'll use this knowledge in my future work.
Reflection is an important activity of learning. Reflection is defined as,
'Reflection is an important human activity in which people recapture their experience, think about it, mull over & evaluate it. It is this working with experience that is important in learning' (Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw).
Kolb presents a learning cycle which shows the process of learning through experience.
(Source: Lecture notes by Rachael Shaw)
The main features of Kolb's learning cycles are,
Experiencing or immersing oneself in the doing of the task
Re¬‚ecting or stepping back from the task and reviewing what has been done and experienced
Conceptualization involves interpreting the events that have been noticed and understanding the relationship among them
Planning enables taking the new understanding and translates it into predictions about what is likely to happen next or what actions should be taken to re¬ne the way the task is handled
Skills (e.g. sense making of unstructured leaderless situations; imagination; awareness of self and others; reflection; manage personal change more effectively)
Leadership/emotionally intelligent behaviours (e.g. managing emotions and personal defences to become more effective; recognise the wider impact of your actions and assumptions upon others; develop interpersonal relationships more effectively;
Belief systems (e.g. critically examine own extant assumptions about self and other)
Values (e.g. behave and act more effectively in current, future situations - questioning wider and extant values and habits in line with challenging situations)
Identity (e.g. self-image)
Vision (e.g. read and recognise/ see hidden barriers in yourself and your wider interrelational context; make sense of nonsensical/ irrational experiences)
Purpose (e.g. begin to direct and control your actions more effectively in response to uncertain and unstructured situations)