Tuesday, February 22, 2011


       Motivation is what drives individuals or groups to do the best they possibly could on a task.  Not every individual or group has the same level of motivation.  This can make being a leader or even a member of a team difficult because some are more motivated than others.
       When I was a senior in high school, I was the Editor in Chief of the school yearbook, The Statesman. This task required a lot of time and commitment from the three editors.  It seemed that out of the group of thirty five girls, the only three who were motivated to create the best yearbook were the three of us which was difficult.
       A typical problem that occurred within the team was "social loafing." More information about "social loafing" can be found at Social Loafing Information. When this occurred, the three editors ended up doing most of the work. This was an extreme burden on us because we had our own work that needed to be completed. A list of typical work that editors are required to do can be found at Editor in Chief Job Description. As the year went on, this got more frustrating because the work kept piling up.  By the end of the year we had more work than we were able to complete.  As a senior, we had senior privilege where we ended school about three weeks earlier than others.  While all of my friends were at the pool or going shopping, I was showing my motivation and dedication for the creation of the best yearbook by being in the classroom.  Even when I was at Beach Week, I was still working on the yearbook by being in constant communication with the editors still working in Richmond.
       As leaders of the team, it was difficult to get these girls to complete work to the best of their ability and on time.  In order to change, their lack of motivation we set up a positive rewards system.  Further reasons why reward and positive reinforcement are important can be found at Positive Effects of Reward. When I first got into yearbook, the grading scale was very slack and as long as you completed your work you got a good grade. However, we decided that the girls who worked the hardest should get the better grades.  This created a reward system within the class.  As the requirements got harder, the motivation increased in order to compensate.  Also on Fridays if everyone had done what they were supposed to do, the teacher would bring in Airheads for everyone.  A simple piece of candy does not seem much, but you would be surprised at how much more girls worked when they knew candy was on the line.
     I know exactly what I should do when a team is not a cohesive unit.  The idea of "social loafing" is extremely common and at times can be difficult to deal with.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Group vs. Team Leadership

      Group vs. team leadership is something that has been debated for many years. Not everyone believes that there are a lot of differences between groups and teams, yet others believe it is a fierce topic to debate.

      Many people are probably thinking "so why does it matter if there is a distinct difference between groups and teams?" The overall purpose of providing differences between groups and teams is to effectively employ proper leadership skills in specific situations.  
      Groups typically have more members than a team.  Membership ranges from about two members to thousands of members. They can typically be classified into one of three separate categories: traditional work group, a traditional team, and a self-managing team. A traditional work group involves a hierarchy of leadership while a traditional team is when there is still leaders but they are not as dominant.  A self-managing team is when there are no leaders but everyone makes decisions themselves.
     An example of a group that I am involved in is the Sigma Kappa Sorority.  This would be considered a group because we are a collective group of individuals that come together for the common good of the sorority.  This group has roughly around one hundred and seventy members which is around the size of a group. As a group; we participate in philanthropic events, have sisterhood hangouts, and make decisions that better the sorority.
        Teams usually have more specific requirements for membership.  The typical amount of members in a team are from four to twenty. A unique aspect of teams is that each person brings different characteristics and qualities to the group.  Teams have certain goals that they are trying to accomplish. A direct quote on page 4 of Group Dynamics for Teams is "Teams usually are parts of larger organizations."
        A team that I am involved in with Sigma Kappa is being one of the leaders of the sorority.  The leaders of the sorority would be considered a team because it is a smaller group of people within the sorority.  Each person was elected for a specific personality trait and characteristic.  Since each person is a different position, they have different qualities like a team.  Within a team, you are supposed to have different individuals in order to get a lot of opinions and qualities. Also having a lot of people with knowledge about various subjects means that not everyone has to know all information.                                                                              

    As situations are becoming more complex and difficult, teams have had a dramatic rise.  Different members of a team have greater knowledge and excellence in different areas of life.  This can be helpful for teams because not every person has to be knowledgeable about everything. In my opinion groups at times can be more functional than teams but mainly teams should take priority.