Leadership from below
Sitting here in on the fourth floor of Voorhees on a beautiful spring Saturday, surely I can find something better to do, but I am glued to my chair. I am charmed and fascinated by listening to my class engage the HBS Everest simulation. They are learning, through the simulation, to work as a team and balance competing goals. Moreover, the leader is challenged to bring his team together achieve group goals and get individuals to orient their individual goals as much as they can.
Why do I find this process so fascinating? Of course as an instructor I am thrilled to watch (er listen to) the learning process in action. As a business owner, who constantly struggles to get the most from employees, I am completely captivated. There is an evolving dynamic between the leader and the team. The interaction between team members that appears to be like a devolved leader completely surprised me. Individuals are caucusing with the leader and making decisions together. This scenario is the ideal for the workplace. The leader is a far cry from the command-and-control one might expect. Facililator is a better description, but still not quite on point.
What I am trying to understand is how this ideal dynamic developed? I told them nothing; after all this is Route Surveying class. Working as a team is critical for applications of what we are studying, but we covered only simple curves, spirals and superelevation in class. These teams developed their own dynamics on their own. Absolutely fascinating.
This begs the question: why don’t workplace teams develop this well? Is that these students are milenialls who share and collobarate naturally? Will they transform the workplace? We shall see