As per Monteiro, Musten and Compson (2015), “Reflection is a window through which the practitioner can view and focus self within the context of his or her own lived experiences in the ways that help them confront, understand as well as work towards resolving the contradictions within her practice between what is desirable and actual practice.” In this paper I am going to reflect on my personal development in my course duration and throughout the semester. I shall be exploring and reflecting on some of the episodes of practice, which had happen during that period. With the same, I shall also be discussing on my leadership role, duties, delegation and supervision to others while I managed the minor areas during the course. I shall be reviewing on the responses to the leadership activity and my definition from Topic 1 and would further discuss how my ideas have changed or been reinforced over the semester. Moreover, I shall also be reflecting on what I have learned about leadership through the subject that is of benefit to me and my organisation at the same time. Also, I shall also be elaborating my viewpoint on the implication that my studies of leadership have for me in the future and what more do I need to learn and do. Lastly, I shall be shedding light on the ways in which I am going to develop my own leadership skills and knowledge and determine my developmental opportunities. In short, I shall be reflecting about leadership that I studied during the semester with the help of Gibbs reflective cycle model.
Gibbs Reflective Model
Gibbs reflective model is one of the very popular model for reflecting one’s experience. It comprise of a total of six stages and that consists of description, feelings, evaluation, and analysis, conclusion and action plan (Bannigan & Moores, 2015). In this paper I am using this model for reflecting on my own experience of the leadership course.
During my course, I undertook a group activity section as one of the parts of my learning development. It was defined as EBL or Enquiry based learning. The group had a total of 5 members for working together as a part of the team on a particular task given by our professor. My group was asked to work on a case study for working together as a team for producing a piece of presentation in order to present our data and findings. Based on my own understanding, I had identify a group as a collective comprising of more than two people acting interdependently on one another along with excellent skills of communication, different knowledge and interact with one another despite of the shared responsibilities. To this end, I thought of my EBL group as a group that is task focused because the individuals in my group had a much delegated task for carrying out. My EBL group was chosen casually for working together as well as to share the responsibilities individually and this means that in order to be able to produce this presentation we were required to communicate more often with one another by building a very significant bonding and relationship with the other members of the group. However, in the group of 5 members, I was chosen as the leader and was asked to give direction and monitor each and everything by ensuring that everything is moving smoothly and correctly. Earlier I used to think that leadership is all about leading a team. But, working with a team has made me realised that leadership is much more than that. Once one of my team members was not well and that is why he was not able to do the task that he was appointed with. Our deadline was near and all the other members were busy doing their own tasks. Hence, I chose to make up his work by doing that myself. After all, we are a group, a team. We must be helping each other in order to achieve our goal. Overall, I enjoyed the very experience and felt a great deal of satisfaction when my team was applauded for doing the task effectively and that too within the deadline.
What I felt positive about that situation was that I was able to practise my delegation and leadership skills which earlier I have not had the opportunity to do. With the same, it is also to note that it has given me a very good insight into the vitality of prioritising the task and managing time (time management). Also, it has given me an in depth knowledge of the importance of quality assurance because I was given with the task of checking and monitoring the observations. However, at first, I was very confident in working in a small group because this gives me the opportunity to communicate more often, with every individual and that too, in an easier way than I would have been doing in a bigger group. However, I got scared and felt very anxious about having to be in a group with the people I did not have any sort of friendly approach with. With the same, I also perceived the group as one of the task purposed group only. Then I remembered the saying of Leary and Baumeister (2017), “Communication is central to human interaction. Without it, people cannot relate to those around them, make their needs and concerns known or make sense of what is happening to them”. Hence, too this end, with a friendly smile on my face, I approached them to introduce myself and asked them their names. During the stage of forming, all the team members including me have been very nice to one another but at the same time there were some unseen possible conflicts as well.
The thing that I felt positive about this very situation is that I was allowed to practise my delegation and leadership skills that earlier I have not had the opportunity to do in the manner I did in this situation. Positively, even though in the norming stage, we all started working connectedly and our performance was elevated thus not as a high performing. We all continuously contributed all our ideas and kept on discussing regarding the possible places, meetings as well as the frequency. However, being a team leader, I was effectively establishing a harmonious relationship along with the rest other members of the group. Actually, I always ensured that the work is done properly and therefore, I always tried to maintain a positive relationship throughout the course and section. I then explored the given topic in independent manner and ensured to keep the communication and interaction in between the group members ongoing. We met on few occasions in order to put the work together as well as to practice on the how to present the work. However, lately, I did not like the way our group was formed. Although we were task focused and good in each and everything but still, I felt like we were disorganised. With the same, there was a time where we kept on providing the work to the team and the members making changes personally but, as a supportive or interactive team, we could have meet and discuss around those changes rather than opting for this mode. It was due to the fact that even though we were interactive when we see one another, it was somewhat different when we sent messages around about the presentation. The members sometimes were not paying much attention to the messages. Therefore, the group dynamics started to lose its structure and therefore, the group begins to struggle as well as dysfunction as a group.
It was the stage that very negatively influenced the entire process by means of realisation that we did not possess a long lasting group dynamic as the group members began to develop some small individual groups within the group as of some obvious preferences. Being the leader of the group I thought that I should be doing something to ensure effective communication and interaction among the group members. Hence, I decided to conduct a day to day meeting as per each one’s convenience. I then ordered them to not decide anything without consulting the other group members because, we were not assigned with a group work to do individually. Instead, it was given to work together to achieve a common goal. Each of the team members are different and unique in his or her own way. Each one of us possess a unique behaviour within oneself and this is what makes a human being different from the rest others. Hence, if we work together then we could come up with much more greater and effective ideas to do the work. But if we work individually, we could end up with a single or two ideas only. Having a collective idea and large range of tips and activities to do so are worth the time. After all, we all want to make our presentation the best of all.
However, it is to note that Belbin came up with the responsibilities of the individual team members who states that each member in a team is unique and each one of them possesses a unique behavioural attribute which might influence the overall performance of the entire activity (Eubanks et al., 2016). By following his individual role within a group, the responsibility that I think describes me the best in the team was of implementers. This is due to the fact that I was basically in charge of getting the things done by making elaboration of the entire thing in an organised as well as in systematic manner on the approaches and the ideas into the reasonable plans and actions. On my own view-point, I would say our team was acting very close as a group but there was still the prevalence of a distance from high performing group and if I had to change something about it then I would ask my lecturer to change my team members.
From this experience of mine, I have learnt many important things. I have learnt that leadership is not the same like that of management, instead, it is a very complex concept. I have also learnt about the different attributes of leadership and that they could be developed by means of experience, analysis and training. The effectiveness of leader depends on the fit in between the followers, leaders and the situation (Shamir & Eilan-Shamir, 2018). Furthermore, the concept of leadership is substituted for in many setting and the situation and also it is not always a notable influence. By handling this team, I have learnt that leadership is not always about leading. In fact, a leader provide direction, meaning and the shows the way to his followers whom he or she is leading. It is the responsibility of a leader to develop trust and to favour action as well as risk taking. With the same, they are the purveyors of hope. As per Cogaltay (2015), “Leadership is the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals-a road, a way, the path of a ship at sea - a sense of direction.” However, sometimes, I noticed that my group sometimes resulted in quarrelsome activity and therefore, often, the work progressed at a very moderate rate. When I was not there with them, the whole work used to come to a halt. Hence, I think that my group could be referred to as an autocratic leader’s group. Sometimes, the team ran haphazardly and the work therefore moved forward at a very slow pace. However, I was still very dedicated to my work and tried to manage the team effectively by always helping them and guiding them whenever it was required. As per Amanchukwu, Stanley and Ololube (2015), autocratic leadership style is a comparatively less effective style of leadership. This is a very controlling and directive approach. The concern for the production as well as for the output become more significant than the concern for the employees along with their relationship. The managers having high productivity and affectivity tend to be very formal in nature (Calomiris & Carlson, 2016). Such managers assign the tasks to their subordinates and then watch the process of implementation closely. The errors in the processes are not at all tolerated by them. With the same deviation from stated goals or objectives or directives is restricted as well. Such managers make a unilateral decision and then feel no need to explain and provide justification for the same. Moreover, they decreases the level of interaction with the people and limit the communication at the same time to the important demand of the task at hand (Menges, 2016). They believe in individual responsibility and consider group meetings a waste of time. They tend to be formal, straightforward and critical. For this reason, they are possibly to be perceived as arbitrary and cold by their subordinates, who have a very strong need for reassurance and support from the parts of managers.
Hence, from the above analysis, I would like to state that the course has provided me with an in-depth knowledge about the concept of leadership and what a true leader actually is. Although, my experience as a leader was not that well as because of the fact that I could have been done much better than I have if I had the knowledge of certain things earlier. However, still this was a very good experience of mine as it has taught me some of the very important things of life that I believe would help me in my professional career to a great extent. In retrospect, I would do several things differently. I should have spoken with the team members in more effective manner and should have asked for their feedbacks as well in order to understand whether things are going right and whether or not they are happy with the progress and my way of handling the project. However I feel that, I have developed a good relationship with the team members to whom earlier I don’t even used to talk with.
From the entire course and project, I have learnt that in order to be prepared better for facing this experience in future, I need to constantly encourage the collaboration and the participation as a group leader. With the same, I shall also be encouraging the group members in participating in providing ideas and feedbacks to any of the messages that is I would be delivering to them (Luthans & Doh, 2018). This would help me in understanding the changes that might take place. I would also like to state that if ever I would have been given the chance, I shall be recommending that the team envoy a leader for overseeing the project in the same manner and must ensure that the things are well organised right from the very beginning as well as encourage much more group meetings as well as ask my group members to pay much more attention to the messages that I would deliver to them. Hence, I would be asking for their feedbacks and discussing it as a group. Hence, in my future, I will ensure that I build up a relationship with my group members. This experience has made me realise that I need to gain more confidence with presenting and my leadership approach.
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