Thursday, September 27, 2012
Teamwork and Leadership
Will Felps designed and conducted an experiment to see if a ‘bad apple’ would decrease the productivity of a group in a laboratory study. He hired an actor to play one of three ‘bad apple’ roles; jerk, slacker or depressive pessimist. For the vast majority of the groups, they adopted the one bad apples’ attitude and productivity dropped 30-40%. There was one group, which he goes into at the end of the section that was able to defuse any negativity. This mainly reflected on the group leader and his abilities. Felps’ next study was going to determine if the opposite effect, if a good leader would increase productivity, was true.
Without seeing any sort of results, I would venture to say that a good leader would increase productivity. Take Michael Jordan for example. As a basketball player for the Bulls, he was able to lead the team to six championships. He was able to elevate the way his team played. There are numerous examples like this across any sport. The other examples lay both in the military and corporate worlds. In all three spheres of teamwork (sports, military and corporate) there are three specific themes that appear with the good leader. The first is good team cohesion. That is not saying that everyone is friends, but will work together without personal issues getting in the way. The second is discipline. The discipline to do the job that the team member was assigned and not do someone else’s job. The leader needs to display a certain amount of discipline in order to keep the group focused and understand the dynamic of the group. By understanding the dynamic of the team, the leader can make judgment calls that can either help or hinder the group’s progress. With the proper amount of discipline, the leader will know to make the correct call, not just the popular one. The third is trust. The team leader needs to trust the team members to do their work, and let them do it. The team leader should not just sit there micro managing the team members.
Link to Felp’s experiment (first part of broadcast): http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/370/ruining-it-for-the-rest-of-us