The Beginning of My LTB Journey
Leadership and Team-Building (LTB) is one of the most interesting and unique modules I have taken since entering into Singapore Management University. Its differentiating factor lies in its main focus on students’ personal development, while inculcating a heart of service through a community service orientated project. Although the concepts of good leadership are relatively easy to grasp and seniors comment that “LTB is merely putting theory to common-sensical materials and is a waste of time”, it is the implementation and incorporation of these qualities in our lives that prove to be much more of a challenge than I had previously expected.
My Community Service Project (CSP) – to acknowledge the existence of non-local students and help them blend into our community – is an opportunity to shift away from the stereotyped definition of ‘community service’ (i.e. helping less fortunate communities) and paint a new light to it as well as to remind students not to neglect the true essence of giving, sharing and caring in the midst of the paper chase. This CSP has become a training ground for me to hone and sharpen newly-acquired theories and soft skills in a real life context and to grow in them as an individual and as Team Soin’s leader. Besides, working as a Team Lead (‘Lead’) in Madagascar: A Crate Adventure at Universal Studios Singapore, I have to learn to solve conflicts and negotiate break timings among my colleagues. Despite heavy emphasis placed on these skills by corporations, I was not equipped with them until I undertake LTB.
The Leadership Theory Paradigm
With a globally competitive market, the older management paradigm has shifted to a new leadership paradigm. Previously, autocratic managers made all decisions and gave employees little freedom. However, recently, for competitive edge over competitors, organizations cannot depend solely on the company’s manager to make decisions and plan strategies. With the implementation of the new leadership paradigm, which aims for employees to partake in company decisions, managers can then fully ‘exploit’ employees’ expertise and abilities to attain optimal results. Furthermore, by sharing management functions and establishing good rapport with employees, they help create a greater sense of belonging to the company; in turn, employees see their importance in the company as well as are willing to be held accountable to their job scope and to put in extra efforts. With this, organizations can function more efficiently and effectively; eventually, emerging ahead of competitors.
During the ‘Forming’ stage of Tuckman’s 4 Stages of Group Development, the old management paradigm should be implemented, where the leader makes final decisions and facilitates discussions. Reflecting on my team’s initial actions and some of our subsequent meetings, if I have asserted more authority as a team leader and finalized decisions based on my discretion when awry discussions arise, meetings will have been more effective and efficient.
Getting to Know ‘Me’ as A Leader
The online 5 Factor Personality test reports on my character traits in the Big 5 Assessment; certain character aspects of mine which I had knowledge of were put into words accurately, while areas where I only had a vague idea were now described in a tangible manner which I could understand with a reasonable degree of certainty. This was an important milestone as I could now identify my dominant personal traits which allow me to not only recognize my workstyle, but also to take concrete steps to change my way of interaction with others. Understanding myself was only the first step; subsequently working in a team for my CSP offered numerous learning liberties, through managing the team, external parties, and most importantly, myself. These served to further nurture me as an effective leader.
Acquiring efficacious knowledge and skills from this module, I impart them to...