Thursday, October 22, 2009

A beautiful day to learn how to rule the world

John, chillin' on the quad, y'all!!!What a delight it was to have been so wrong about the weather. This morning I took a refreshing jog, and it was rather cold. Thus, when my servant dressed me later, I chose a turtleneck sweater and a jacket. Come to discover it got into the 70s, and I was able to strip down to my white T and take a relaxing breather beneath one of my favorite trees:

A tree at YaleMeanwhile, it's been a week of self-discovery and fun group work, thanks to Managing Groups & Teams. We have one more session tomorrow. I have learned many things, both about myself and about my work group, and about leadership in general. Here are 10 things we've done this week:

1. Our group (me and the seven people I was assigned to work with in August) was given a disaster scenario in which we were shipwrecked on an island with a hurricane headed our way, and we had to rank items in order of their importance to our survival. We then did some calculations to come to the conclusion that our group had a nice amount of synergy -- we arrive at better conclusions when we work together. Not all groups have synergy, though.

2. Our group, and all the groups, named ourself. We went with Mikejoja Sajemajo, which is a combination of the first two letters of each of our names. It's very DaFoWo Show. Professors thus far avoid trying to pronounce it.

3. Our group had to designate two managers to figure out how to explain to the rest of us, with many limiations, how to construct a puzzle. We completed the task, but not in the timeliest of fashions.

4. Individually, we took a very lengthy online test of our leadership abilities. We were given 30 cases and had to decide how we'd go about reaching a decision -- whether we'd just make a decision, consult people individually, consult people as a group, facilitate a discussion, or delegate. We then learned a particular model/formula for picking the best method, based on characteritistics of the matter at hand. Turns out that, based on that model, I'm already in good shape as far as my management choices.

5. Speaking of me, me, me, I also learned that my leadership style is "supporter." Kind of self-explanatory. My opposite type is "director."

6. Our group, during that hurricane exercise, had to videotape our 40-minute discussion, then watch it and make observations about the way we interact with one another. I was surprised to see that I talk an awful lot (I mean, I know I talk a lot ... I was just surprised that I seemed to do about 90% of the talking, in a group of eight). But apparently, and fortunately, I'm not dominating the discussion with my opinions; in fact, later in that same activity, there was a way of calculating how much we influenced the group's overall decision (based on how much the group's ranking differed from our original, pre-meeting individual rankings), and it happens that I was the least influential person in the group. This all underlines Point #5, that I'm a supporter ... I talk a lot, but don't assert many opinions forcefully. I just try to ask questions and keep things moving along. Apparently that is a management style I can be comfortable embracing.

7. We watched 12 Angry Men and stopped it throughout to discuss the ways people were successfully or unsuccessfully persuading one another. One moral: It's persuasive to not be an asshole.

8. We watched videos of rehearsals of two orchestras, one that has a conductor and one that doesn't, to compare authoritarian leadership with a totally democratic method. Each has pros and cons.

9. We played an elaborate game in which we traded marbles, were split into hierarchical groups and then did other things too complicated to explain. The point was to illustrate the way in which a hierarchy causes people to identify with others in their group and internalize their status and even think that there's a just cause for things to be the way they are, even if there isn't.

10. Tomorrow, I think we're building something out of Legos.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm loving the photos. Absolutely gorgeous time of year up there!