Why you should lead

I promised in class to post a text version of this, so here goes. Before Tuesday morning, you should email me (my last name at buffalo dot edu), with an indication of whether or not you want to lead a group and why or why not you want to lead a group. The groups will complete the final proposal at the end of the semester, and in some ways this is like a final exam. We will have a fixed number of groups, and I suspect the number of people who want to lead and the number of groups we will have will not align perfectly. Therefore, some people who want to lead may not get that opportunity, and some people who would rather not be in the responsible position may be placed there.

The group leader has ultimate responsibility for his or her group’s work. The leader is my point of contact, and is the person responsible for making sure the project is completed. We will talk a bit about group dynamics and how best to accomplish work as a group, but the leader will have a significant degree of autonomy when it comes to how he or she decides how to move forward. Part of my evaluation of this person will include how well they have motivated their team to work together and accomplish their goals. Although the team leader is ultimately responsible for the final deliverables, if they end up doing all or most of the work themselves, they probably are not doing a very good job of guiding the group.

To that end, send me a copy of your resume, and an indication of why or why not you want a leadership role. The resume may be in plain text (my preference, and increasingly a requirement for applying for jobs), as a pdf, or in RTF or DOC format. A few sentences highlighting your experiences and interests in a leadership role should be enough.

The next step, at the end of the coming week, is to post to your blog an inventory of skills and interests that you think will help a team create a winning proposal. We’ll talk about this on Wednesday, and I’ll post more when we come to that.

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One Comment

  1. alex
    Posted 10/24/2005 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Just a quick note. I’ve received responses from most, but not all of you. A number have indicated that they don’t want to take a leadership position because it will require more time of them. I should note in response that good management dictates assigning each team member to work on the project. While in practice this definitely means more organization on the team leader’s part, the manager doing a significant part of the work is a sign of bad planning. The biggest part of the leader’s job is making sure that there is the framework for the team to do good work. I fully expect that if this is done well, it does not require more time than will be required of the other team members.

    In any event, I will be asking you to document how your time is spent, and expect you to be putting in a roughly equivalent amount of time and effort regardless of whether you are leading the group or not.

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