Here are some of my suggestions for working within a group:
• Set aside meeting times for groups;
• Maintain open communication;
• Don’t make excuses;
o Identify areas of weaknesses & offer assistance to team mates;
o Keep your word;
• Ensure that goals/objectives are clearly defined;
o Set deadlines
o Meet deadlines
• Encourage full participation
o Motivational levels aligned
o Communicate problem areas
• Involve management as a last resort
o If social loafer is not pulling weight, talk to member first
o Inquire to see if they need further assistance
o Is there a personal obligation or issue going on that is causing them to not perform or work efficiently with the team?
I have found that nearly every project I’ve become involved with I somehow end up taking the leadership role. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve actually tried to avoid becoming the leader of a group project because I wanted to see if I was capable of just being an active, contributing team member.
I began by simply doing research and posting the pieces of my delegated parts of the project. I wanted to ensure that all of our deadlines were met and kept on task with meeting them prior to them being due. What I noticed was that the other two were not upholding their agreement and before I knew it, I was thrust back into the leadership role.
Why would I shy away from the leadership role in the first place?
Well, I had participated in another group earlier in the year and was told that I had assumed the leadership role, became a micro-manager and over communicated with my group. While my favorite CEO Alan Mulally’s motto is, “Communicate, communicate, communicate,” I found that some of my past group members thought I was doing an excessive amount. This time, I thought that I would sit back and see how my other group members were collaborating and I would follow their lead.
What I’ve learned…
I’m a leader at heart, even when attempting to follow. It’s not that I was jumping in and saying, “I’m large and in charge,” but rather I was attempting to follow and was again thrust into a leadership role. From this experiment, I’ve discovered that there are some people that just are not capable of not being a leader within the college environment.
Applying leadership in my current job:
Chances are, this will not occur. I’m “just a secretary” and am regarded as such by several managers. While I have extensive work experience, previous managerial experience and am attending college, I’m currently not in any position to call myself a leader.
Looking to the future…
At times, it’s frustrating because I have so many creative and innovative ideas that I’m bursting with. Yet, without a college degree and being in the role of a secretary, I’m just not taken seriously. It’s okay though, because while I’m experiencing this humbling position, I’m taking notes along the way. I don’t ever plan on making any of my secretaries, receptionists or office assistants feel that they don’t matter. In my future role as a Human Resources Manager, I will be all about inclusiveness, team building and fostering a creative and welcoming work environment. I plan on maintaining a database so I can track what skills, talents and abilities my workforce possesses. There is no point in hiring outside if a company can be more resourceful and promote from within.
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