Week 11

Group Dynamics and Meetings

I hope you had a good spring break! We are going to jump into managing groups this week.

You will most likely be in a position of managing a group or team of people in your professional career. This week's content will focus on general leadership ideas for small and large groups and teams, ideas for how to be an effective group or team leader, and how to develop group cohesion and effectiveness. Much like the previous weeks, this week's readings also have lists of ideas for how to accomplish effective leadership.

When I set the topic for this week I was reminded of the group work I had to complete in undergrad and grad school and how everyone seemed to dread working in groups. We prefered to do individual activities where we had control over all of the variables instead of trusting that your group members would produce quality work. It was an uneasy feeling to rely on a classmate whom you might have just met at the beginning of the semester. I am reminded of a few funny pictures I have seen on the interwebs:

One of my first management experiences was overseeing a large group of freelancers who were developing content for a project. I was in charge of reviewing their content and making sure it was good quality before turning it over to the client. Most of my team was remote so I did a lot of virtual management and Skype sessions to meet with my team. I learned a lot about leading a team very quickly, such as how to set expectations and what to do if someting goes wrong. For example, sometimes an employee would produce poor content and I would have to either 1) edit the material and submit it myself, 2) contact the person and have them redo the content, or 3) redirect the employee to another project or let them go from the company. My decisions were based upon how long the person had been working at the company, how close we were to the project deadline, and the time and resources I had available to help salvage the content. I would also do a post-mortem if something went wrong and discuss the challenges we had for a deliverable to the client and how we could alleviate those problems in the future.

The video below is a good overview of how a leader might intervene if an employee on his or her team underperforms. What I like about this video is that it shows the multi-faceted role a group leader must take to help out one of his or her employees.


Weekly Readings

The readings this week will focus on characteristics of good group and team leaders as well as ideas for how to build good groups and teams. Additionally, two of the readings this week build upon our last topic of how to lead a group when there is conflict.

Berkeley Human Resources. (2016). Steps to building an effective team. Available online: http://hr.berkeley.edu/hr-network/central-guide-managing-hr/managing-hr/interaction/team-building/steps

Gleeson, B. (2015). 5 ways to lead your team more effectively. Available online: https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2015/02/18/5-ways-to-lead-your-team-more-effectively/#47fcd171767f

Gotkin, Z. (2016). Dave Kerpen on how to build and manage your team effectively. Available Online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zev-gotkin/dave-kerpen-on-how-to-bui_b_9875672.html

Haden, J. (2014). 10 Scientifically proven ways ot build and manage great teams. Available online: http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-build-and-manage-great-teams-wed.html

New Zealand Department of Conservation. (n.d.). Manage conflict in a group. Available online: http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/run-a-project/community-project-guidelines/manage-conflict-in-a-group/

The University of Nottingham. (2016). Managing and leading the team. Available Online: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/hr/guidesandsupport/performanceatwork/pdpr/pdpr-behavioural-competency-guide/managing,-leading-and-developing-others/managing-and-leading-the-team.aspx