Aaaah, those two dreaded words that no conscientious student wants to hear…group work. While for some people, group work is an easy ticket to get to the other side, for others, it can be a cause of stress and frustration. While the availability of digital tools such as wikis should, in theory, enhance the ability for everyone to contribute equally, it still relies on each individual to have the motivation and inclination to do so.
As I mentioned in my previous post, my experience of online group work has not been as engaging as I had hoped, and instead of being a wonderful opportunity to genuinely connect and grow with other students in my class, I have found it quite cumbersome. Despite that fact that it has not afforded me the opportunity to bounce ideas off my peers in the way that I would have liked, I have found it a useful way to reflect on what leadership skills I possess and where I need to go from here.
For case study 4, I took on the role of of collator, however in hindsight, in ended up being more of a facilitator role. As someone who values communication, I drew heavily on this trait throughout the process. It was my plan that by doing this, I would be drawing on a democratic leadership style whereby all group members had an equal opportunity to contribute their thoughts and ideas. While Cherry (2019) suggests that democratic leadership can lead to better ideas and more creative solutions, she also warns that it can lead to communication failures and uncompleted projects. While we did complete and submit the case study and there was ample opportunity to contribute and discuss, the quality of the work itself was poor and as a group, we didn’t communicate as effectively as we could have.
In addition to the lack of communication between our group members, we once again had one member that did not contribute. I must admit, that if we were engaging in face-to-face group work, I would have drawn on some transactional leadership strategies and brought delicious snacks and coffee as a way to coerce our non-contributing group member to the party, but alas, this is one clear disadvantage of engaging in group work with individuals that you don’t know. Next week, I plan to take a step back and provide my peers with the opportunity to set up the wiki space and discussions. Though this will be a challenge for me, the art of listening to others is a critical leadership skill and one that I need to work on.
Cherry, K. (2019). The democratic style of leadership. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-democratic-leadership-2795315