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Critical Reflection Report (Leadership)


Many people mix-up the concepts of Leadership and Management with each other. Leadership and Management are not the same thing. Leadership comes from within the person; where as, management does not. Leadership is not just all about managing people, tasks or resources; it is much more than that. A good leader possesses some good interpersonal and as well as social skills such as Emotional Intelligence. He knows how to motivate, influence, and manage people along with their emotions. In order to be a leader, (Freeman, Edward, & Stoner, 1992) it is important to understand what motivates the employees around you. It is necessary to discover the fundamental needs that employees, coworkers, and bosses have.

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As far as the projects are concerned, since projects cannot be easily handled by a person or two; therefore there must be a leader who can make the whole group or team to flow in such a way that ends up with the successful completion of tasks and accomplishment of goals in a harmonious manner. The leader’s task is not only to let the team workers work, but he is also bound to create a vision, coordinate or communicate with them, understand them, motivate them, model the vision by himself, and make the team cohesive enough that eventually result in the successful accomplishment of tasks and goals without any conflict among them.

There are many leadership styles and strategies that leaders adopt to make the work come along in a favorable way. In this report, we would discuss some of the leadership’s styles and strategies and would apply to the team working situation for the completion of project related to PID (Project Initial Document). First we would discuss the theories in the literature review section, and then would apply them to the respective working situations.

Literature Review

Lewin’s leadership style theory was the result of the experiment conducted by Kurt Lewin and his colleagues in 1939; after which they proposed three distinct styles of leadership. 1 – Autocratic, 2 – Democratic, and 3 – Laissez-Faire. In an Autocratic style, there are two levels of social status: upper and lower, which means that the upper level keeps the lower ones to gain leadership (Daniel, 2003). Moreover, authoritarian leaders make the decision without consultation that leads to discontent of other party; moreover, this style is adopted when there’s no time for group-decision making (Wagner, n.d). In Democratic style, lower status can acquire leadership because of slight gap between the statuses. Lewin’s study found it the most effective style, where leaders guide the group members and also participate. In Laissez-Faire or Delegative style, leaders provide negligible guidance to members and leave the decision-making up to them. It often leads to lack of motivation and direction. Lewin’s research showed that (Borkowski, 2008) leadership style affects the group productivity, behaviors, and relationships of the team members.

Blanchard’s Situational leadership model tells that the leader can adopt different styles of leadership based on the given circumstances; or it revolves around the act of directing and supporting the group members (Chimaera Consulting Limited, 1999). The four behaviors of a leader in this style are, 1 – Telling/Directing 2 – Selling/Coaching 3 – Participating/Supporting, and 4 – Delegating. In Telling, the leader defines the roles and directions, and is more task focused than relationship focused (12Manage, 2009). In Selling, focus is both on task and relationships; leaders look for ideas and suggestions from members, and the communication is two-way. In participating, the leader is more relationship and low task focused; moreover, members are encouraged to make decisions (Watkins, n.d). And in Delegation, there is low focus on both relationship and task by the leader. The leader just delegate the tasks and the members perform on their own since they have ability and willingness to participate. Functional leadership focuses on the decision-making when there’s no specific leader. Leadership functions happen in three areas, 1 – Task 2 – Team and 3 – Individual. Or, “the leadership functions meet needs in these three areas” (Shead, 2006). The leadership can be by an individual or a team.

The ways to have influence on projects as proposed by Thamhain and Wilemon include: 1 – Authority: the hierarchical right to make orders 2 – Assignment: manager’s ability to control a worker’s assignment 3 – Budget: manager’s ability to approve the use of funds by others 4 – Promotion: the ability to ameliorate a worker’s position 5 – Money: the ability to raise worker’s remunerations 6 – Penalty: the ability to punish workers 7 – Work Challenge: the ability to assign work that capitalizes on a member’s enjoyment of doing a specific task 8 – Expertise: the manager’s special knowledge that others believe are crucial, and 9 – Friendship: the ability to set up friendly personal relationships with the workers (College of North Atlantic, n.d).

Tuckman’s model of team development includes five stages Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning; each stage confronts team leaders and members with unique problems and challenges (Daft, 1997). The model shows how teams evolve through these stages and progress from one stage to the next in an orderly fashion (McShane and Travaglione, 2003). Before, these stages were labeled as, Orientation to task, Emotional response, Exchange of interpretations, and Emergence of solutions (Tuckman and Jensen, 1977). In this process, teams might regress back to earlier stage of development; nevertheless, this model is helpful in explaining team dynamics easily and in a simple way (Rickards and Moger, 2000).

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Critical Reflection of My Leadership

Our project was to evaluate, research, and recommend our clients about the improvement in the quality and efficiency of their websites; and for that project we had a meeting every week in order to communicate with each other the probable ideas and information regarding the project. Since the team members were from different cultural and educational background, so we did have certain problems in communication, managing, and performing of tasks.

The aspects of leadership that I performed well are mentioned as follows: 1 – Democratic style. Since there was dissimilarity among the nature and background of the members and they didn’t perfectly know what to do, how to do, and when to do. I showed integrity and modeled the vision that we had; I guided my team members about the performance of tasks and participated myself in accomplishing them. 2 – I played the role of Participating quite effectively, which comes under the Situational leadership style. Since I believed that members of the team are not familiar with each other, not frank, and not cohesive enough to move on with the tasks swiftly; therefore, I focused more on the relationships among them and played a participative role along with encouraging them to give suggestions and make decisions. 3 – As far as the ways to influence are concerned, I emphasized on friendship among members, gave them freedom to use budget, promoted their work designation, and favored them by providing with benefits and bonuses.

The aspects of my leadership that require improvement include – being strict and being directive. The ability of being slightly strict is lacking in my leadership style, because I realized that being too lenient and relationship focused can result in the increased demands of workers, lack of motivation among them, and the completion of tasks that are not meant to be done in a certain manner, hence creating other issues in achieving the goals and objectives. Moreover, I can improve my leadership style by focusing on the team development process too. The stage of ‘Norming’ was not properly handled by me due to which the team members were not stuck to a certain procedure of rules and norms.

My leadership influenced the following aspects in a way that is expressed as follows:

  1. Group Dynamics, they were affected mostly in a positive manner than in a negative manner. The team environment became pleasant, friendly, and cooperative due to certain reasons such as, effective communication, reward systems, task interdependence, small team size, and efficient skills and competencies among team members.
  2. Task Performance, it was not so greatly influenced because our PDI project was not a complex one; moreover, it did not require standard requirements because the evaluation and recommendations for websites varied from client to client. Nevertheless, performance of tasks was satisfactory.
  3. Delegation of Responsibility to team members was adversely affected, because I provided the members with the guidance and participated by myself too. Hence, I didn’t delegate too much responsibility to them since my focus was on the completion of task too along with pleasant relationships.
  4. The overall success of the project was good, but not excellent. It is because the completion of the project was not in time and up to the mark, since the members had their own suggestions with them and were stuck to them, which also created some conflict and delay.

The main leadership and management styles and strategies that I employed include, Transformational leaderships style, Participative style, the Democratic style, and Transactional leadership style in which I emphasized on the rewards that would be given as a result of the completion of tasks.

Critical Reflection of Peer’s Leadership

Considering another case, where one my team members was the leader for the project of PDI. That peer was from the different cultural and educational background from other four, including me. He was from the United States of America and possessed a very rigid personality. The critical reflection of his leadership styles and strategies along with their influence over the group dynamics, task performance, and success of the project are discussed as follows.

Since that guy from the United States had a very rigid personality and used to favor punctuality; therefore, his leadership style was an Autocratic one. He performed this style effectively; he used to make decisions by himself and used to set boundaries and limits for us to perform the task and accomplish the purpose. He really kept us on out tows, which really helped the team as a whole and resulted in the completion of tasks without any delay and mistake. Secondly, he was more inclined towards the idea of Telling or Directing. Before the start of any task, he used to define the rules, guidance, and procedures clearly to perform the task, and wanted the task to be done in a way that was defined. It was so because he was more task oriented than relationship oriented. Moreover, he also used to the power to reward and punish other members of the team if the task is done and not done in a defined way, respectively. And those who failed to obey they rules or directions had to face penalty, and was assigned more work to do. Finally, as far as the team development is concerned, he was more into the development of norms and rules rather than the development of cohesiveness among the members of the team. He performed the task to ‘Storm’ and ‘Norm’ the team really well. Clear set of rules and norms were defined and the members were motivated to perform well for rewards; or else, face punishments and penalties.

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The leadership of my peer influenced the following aspects in a way expressed as follows:

  1. Group Dynamics, they did face some problems such as retaliation of certain members including me due to the coercion that was there by him. Moreover, the group environment was not friendly even a bit, because the focus of the whole team was to perform task and that’s it. We didn’t use to chit chat and have fun with each other; in other words, the group was not cohesive and the environment was boring and monotonous. Since the team composition was not homogeneous; therefore, the motivation and collectivist orientation among the members was not there.
  2. Task Performance, there was a great difficulty felt by the members in performing the tasks; it is because there was no task interdependence. All members were supposed to do their task on their own; there was no encouragement over giving suggestions and ideas by us.
  3. Delegation of Responsibility to team members was high, since the tasks were assigned separately to all of the members along with the directions and procedures to perform them.
  4. The success of the PDI project was excellent. It is because the project was completed within the designated time and with the required quality and mark. Although, the time to perform the tasks was not so pleasant; nevertheless, we managed to accomplish our objectives in a nice manner.

The main leadership styles and strategies that were adopted by my peer included, Task-oriented leadership style, Directive style of leadership, and Autocratic style of leadership in which he used to make decisions by his own rather than discussing or seeking the recommendations or ideas from team members. Moreover, he used to define all rules, norms, and procedures because he had a Directive or Telling style.

Critical Reflection of My Project Team’s Performance

Since the members of our team were from different backgrounds and lacked homogeneity; therefore, the team was not cohesive and familiar enough with each other. To make the team cohesive and familiar, there was a great need to develop the team in a certain manner that eventually end up in benefitting the whole team and achieve the favorable results. Therefore, the team went through the process of development as proposed by Tuckman. The effects of team development over the performance of the team are discussed below.

First of all, the team was formed and was assigned the project of PDI to work on for the clients to evaluate, research and provide recommendations for the websites. After then, the storming took place in the team, in which each member was introduced to each other along with reducing the conflicts or misunderstanding that they had. Then the team went through Norming stage, in which certain rules, procedures and methods were elaborated to work on. Then it came the performing stage. The performance of the team was affected in a positive way; it is because the members of the team were defined with a clear set of rules and directions; moreover, the misconceptions about each other were minimized that helped us to understand each of us better.

Each member of the team performed his respective tasks in an efficient way; though we did face some issues in performing the tasks such as, lack of suggestions or alternatives, lack of brainstorming, lack of cooperation for each other’s ideas, and lack of help or assistance from other members of the team. Nevertheless, those issues seem to be too small in front of the successful completion of tasks and the accomplishment of our desired goals.

Of course there were quite a few issues that were faced by me while working in the team include. Among them, some of were positive and some were negative. Positive issues include competition and conflict among the members. Yes, conflict is often considered as a bad sign, but conflict in our case actually allowed us to remove the misconceptions about each other and the respective ways of performing the tasks. Moreover, competition was there because there was negligible coordination among members, hence forcing each member to perform his task at his best as demanded by the leader.

Some negative issues that were faced include, communication barrier that was there for a few days in the start of the group. The group took off late since the members didn’t know about each other and were facing distinct situations, languages, and ways of performing tasks. Another issue that occurred was the leadership style issue; it occurred because different members from different countries were used to of different leadership styles. Some preferred and retaliated relationship-oriented style, whereas, some preferred and retaliated the task-oriented style.

The main contributing factors to team success were the group member’s intellectual capacity, their competencies, skills, and abilities to perform tasks in a way that is required by the leader in such trying circumstances. Moreover, patience, coordination, and determination towards the work were also included in the key factors that led us to successfully complete the tasks and achieve success.

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Concluding our report, I would like to shed some light over the performance of my peer, my project team, and my own. As far as my performance as a leader is concerned, I think that things really gone well in terms of relationships, communication, collaboration, assistance, and task completion; but the tasks performed were not up to the mark. It means that they could be improved and made more effective if I would have focused a little more on directive style and being a little task-oriented.

My peer’s performance as a leader was commendable in terms of the successful accomplishment of tasks and goals. his autocratic and directive style no doubt, created many hurdles and problems within the team; but at the end, the performance of the tasks was up to the mark. He didn’t compromise a bit over the performance and achievement of goals.

My project team’s performance was quite satisfactory and commendable. Since we know that the members were from different cultural and educational backgrounds; they still managed to work under unfavorable conditions, didn’t compromise on work, and finally led the team to achieve the success in the project.


Group Dynamics


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