November 29, 2005

Defining Leadership

There are many characteristics that define effective leaders. Today in class, we had a discussion on leadership and listed some characteristics of effective leaders This list included, but was not limited to, being able to motivate, communicate effectively, make changes through people, create a vision, lead by example, being charismatic, proactive, fun, enthusiastic, knowledgeable, actively engaged, respected, trustworthy, optimistic, diplomatic, and grounded. I think that these are good descriptive characteristics of an effective leader. As I was leaving, I began thinking about the question that I asked during class - "is a hands off approach a method of trying to make future leaders?" Well, I was given the quick answer of NO and thought this was very interesting.

After I thought about it for awhile, I was actually able to come up with an example of when this is true - that it is not an approach to create future leaders, but rather an attempt to get the incentive involved (money, benefits, and job security). This summer I had an opportunity to work at the Super Target in Shoreview, Minnesota. It was an awesome experience, but I do not think that the leadership was that great. Yes, I realize that there are various styles of leadership but this seemed to be more of an attempt of the supervisor just wanting to basically get through the day and as stated in class "just come around when there were issues or problems in the department".

In this case, the individual did not have to have the knowledge to lead because he had team members who were more knowledgeable, he was unable to give direction and although the department did well in sales, I would never say that it was based on his leadership abilities. So, I guess the question is, was his inability to lead because of the fact that he was uninterested in the position and was in it for the money? You know, it seems strange that he is even in this position, because of the many people at Target in the Grocery Department; he was one of few with a 4 year degree.

Easy task, for easy money, and a lot of money at that!!

Posted by at 2:28 PM

Tipping Point Week 11

The Tipping Point was an interesting book and I really got a lot out of reading the chapter on the Stickiness Factor. It was shocking how much people put time and energy into determining what works best for different situations. Blues Clues vs. Sesame Street was an awesome example used to describe the stickiness factor. I never thought about the differences in the show until after I read the book. Knowing that children are still watching these shows proves that they have a certain stickiness to them. Unfortunately, not all shows have the same effect on all children.

As far as the maven and connector, I still don’t know where I fit. I guess that is the only thing that really worries me. Maybe in a way I have a little bit of both, but I don’t really see myself as either.

Posted by at 2:25 PM

November 10, 2005

Teach the Class

After the "Teach the Class" Presentation, what are you discovering about yourself in the group process (e.g., roles, communication process, social compentencies, motivation level, strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, critiques of others, regrets) and based on what you discovered, what will you do differently in future team projects?

This was an interesting approach to learning how to work in a group. The "Teach the Class" Presentations went well for all of the groups. Everyone seemed prepared and the material was directed toward informing the audience (our class) on various topics. This was a great opportunity to discover our leadership abilities and weaknesses. Overall, I feel that I am an effective leader when it relates to tasks on the job. I think when you know a lot about a particular subject you are better able to show your leadership abilities. I really enjoyed presenting on the topic of Total Quality Management, not only because it is a great topic, but doing the presentation in general.

I love making presentations, and trying to get people to learn. I believe that this is the reason that I want to teach or own my day care in the future. I think that I have a way of getting my point across to people and especially children. Children can see my excitement and become excited to learn the material. It is also very exciting to be able to show your presentation skills and at the same time develop new skills. I enjoy being able to think of new ways to learn. Besides, if you don't like what you are doing, and show that you don't like what you are doing, no one else will be interested.

As far as being a leader in this group, I think that in a way I was a leader. I was able to keep our team on task in many instances. We all contributed leadership qualities which made getting this project together a lot easier. There were times when I didn't know how well this would go, but it all worked in the end. I guess my strengths are being able to present in front of people and take information in a different direction based on past experience. For example, I decided at the last minute to go to the board and draw out a picture so that people could better understand what I was talking about in the presentation. I think that this was because I could read the faces of people either not understanding or getting bored. Being able to just think of this on the spot is a characteristic that a good leader should have.

As far as weaknesses, I was very nevous about presenting. My nervousness keeps me from making sure that things are said in an organized manner. Although, I must say I think I was a bit organized this time even though I was nervous. Other weaknesses include waiting to the last minute and not realizing that one of our group members was not present during the meetings. For the next presentation on webquest, I feel that we will be well prepared and I will make sure that I continue to remind everyone to stay focus even though I am not the official group leader this time around.

Knowing my strengths and weakness will better prepare me for the future. In order to stregthen myself, I must be able to see the whole picture and understand that everyone makes mistakes....No one is perfect. In the future, I will have to work on teams. Stepping up to various leadership positions now will make it a lot easier to take on more leadership roles in the future.

Posted by at 1:23 PM

Breeze

What did you learn about virtual teams and/or working with breeze?

Today's society has become bombarded with technological advances. From video games to hybrid cars, the world is full of so many different types of technology. The purpose of these new inventions…..to make life easier. Don't get me wrong, I like things that make life easier. My apartment is full of gadgets that I thought would be useful but may be off in the corner sitting in a box (not ever to be used again).

I love computers. I even taught adults and children how to use computers at the library one summer. That doesn't mean that navigating through software and finding information on the internet (for that paper that may be due the next day!) is always that simple. To get to the point, technology can be very difficult and I found that this is especially true when you don't know how to operate the devise, or you just do not have enough equipment to get the ball rollin'.

I finally get onto the Breeze program (30-45 minutes after my team has already left) and low and behold I can't get into the chat room. Well, I discovered that it wasn't my fault and that the computer that I was working on did not have the program needed to run this operation in Breeze. I felt so bad about it but what could I do? I tried emailing everyone to set up a new time to meet, but no response. We were able to talk in class about the assignment so I don't think the group was as motivated to try to get onto the Breeze program again.

Forming virtual groups can have its "up and downs." Well, if you are working on the computer in your home (or apartment), you can just get up and start talking online without getting out of your pjs. Unless of course your computer breaks down and you have to go out in the pouring rain to find another computer to talk online! Good thing this didn't happen to me...well the pouring rain part at least. I was having a bad week anyways so I wasn't too surprised. Back to the point. Virtual groups can be extremely beneficial if you have an international team member. It saves you money from having to call internationally and it also saves money from not having to fly all the way to their destination. You can however, fall into the trap of many people when working on the computer…. you get side tracked (playing games, answering the house/cell phone, or cats rubbing at your feet wanting some attention). You could always lock yourself away in your office or private space and conduct business, but you have to be focused to get things accomplished.

Overall, I learned that there are a lot of pros and cons to having a virtual group. You just have to be in the right frame of mind to make sure that things get done. As far as the future, I am sure that I will encounter having to work with group members via breeze (or a similar program). Someday, if I work for a huge corporation, I am sure that I will remain in contact with people in various areas of the world. Having virtual groups or online connection with people so far away, will save on telephone bills and is more convenient.

Posted by at 1:21 PM

Dysfunctional Roles (Chapter 3)

Oh my God. I am by far the biggest Pleaser ever. I don’t like to argument and I don’t like to see people disappointed. It makes me sad so I try to please everyone. It can be very stressful though. Every time I turn around, I hear that I let everyone walk all over me. It’s tough when you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve a lot better at not trying to please so much. I don’t even know if I was trying to please people or if it was just what came naturally. As I look back over the years, I can think of many times that I was a trying to please someone and things got thrown in my face. I think that it made me look easy to get over on and made me seem like I couldn’t make my own decision. Working in a team, I have learned that it is important not to always try to please everyone because it doesn’t get you anywhere. By the time you try to do what everyone wants, you will probably be back at step one – not knowing what you want as an outcome.

Posted by at 1:21 PM

Goleman's Personal and Social Compentencies

Rate yourself on Goleman's Personal and Social Competencies (p. 26-27).

There are five elements in which you can rate your personal and social compentences according to Goleman. These elements include self awareness, motivation, self regulation, empathy, and adeptness to relationships. I feel that I have characteristics of each of these elements.

Self Awareness

For a longest time, I felt like I never “fit? (in school and in the world in general). Being a lesbian is not the easiest come to grips with when you are 14 years old. I never really understood it all and was afraid of where this would take me in life. I’d always hear the negative stories of how you would go to H--- when I went the church and it really depressing for me. For quite sometime I wrestle with discovering myself and don’t know if I have a full understanding of everything. I think that emotionally I have figured out who I am, what I stand for, and where I want to go in life. As far as self assessment, I’ve had no chose but to reevaluate myself over and over again. With negative views from society, I always questioned my values and beliefs (not to mention almost all the leadership professors stress values and beliefs in class so I have no choice but to revisit them). I think that taking a lot of things into consideration, I have come along way. As far as self confidence, I have come along way but I still have a long way to go. I think that this is because I was always being compared to my cousins and how well they did in school. It was tough making sure that you got good grades so that you could set a good example for younger cousins. I think that over time, I have gotten better at trusting myself more.

Self Regulation
It is important to be able to adapt to different situations. I have not mastered this yet but think that I am developing the skills necessary to adapt to situations.

Motivation
What makes me tick? I’ll tell you. I am easily motivated if I am interested, but who isn’t? I think that once I get the ball rolling, I can accomplish anything. Motivation, is one of my strengths, in my opinion.

Empathy
This is also one of my greatest strengths. I am pretty good at determining when someone needs to talk or have something on their mind. I think this is because I work at the front desk and get to witness first hand a lot of situations. These situations will help me in the future and help me overcome any obstacles I encounter.

Social Skills
Okay. Well, I am okay with this one when others begin a conversation but I don’t usually start a conversation. This is something that I need to work on in the future.

Posted by at 1:19 PM