Challenges Faced In Leadership While Dealing In Virtual Groups Assessment Answer
Leadership in marketing and business organization is considered to be of utmost benefits for enhancing the productivity of the organization. The virtual trends in the pandemic crisis in the year 2019 have witnessed that leadership has mostly transformed from traditional to digital methods. The students at higher education or post-graduation are also adopting the measures to shift their focus on the digital platform through which they can access a plethora of academic resources and gain knowledge on how to channelize the digital platform for their enhancement of skills.
The report envisages the purpose of introducing several groups of students to the virtual group process and helps them identify the challenges embedded in the usage of the virtual platform to resolve the group conflicts, develop a plan for accomplishing group or organizational objectives and comprehending the challenges that emerge for the leaders in managing the virtual group processes.
Leadership and ethical behaviour are interlinked terms which are embedded in the business environment with much relevance in the present decade. The global pandemic in 2019 caused by coronavirus has enhanced the need for sensible leadership, which is applied in the benefit of all. The leadership exhibited by prominent leaders was encompassed with empathy, critical thinking, and problem-solving and coordinated teamwork efforts. The most convenient method applied in the pandemic crisis by different organizations to continue their production and services relates to virtual meeting and working from home on the digital platform (Sobral et al. .2020). The physical workplace environment is convenient to be managed by the leaders and managers while the digital platform is a new and complex concept that requires the expertise of the leaders to handle a team activity or operations.
The purpose of this report emphasizes on challenges faced in leadership while dealing with the processes required in the virtual groups. The framing of contents, practical meetings, managing proper time for the meetings, resolving conflict on digital platforms and achieving outcome through harnessing common interest involves technical competence and knowledge, critical thinking abilities and being flexible and adaptable to various changes in the process. The report aims to present the Tuckman’s Stages of group development initiating from the orientation stage to the adjournment of the team. The virtual team utilizing this model can mitigate the challenges of technological differences among the members, training an individual on using the different relevant online application for virtual meetings, the difference of time zone management and understanding cultural differences (Clark et al. 2019). The model is valuable for integrating with the team assessment that helps in understanding individual and group learning style, coordinate the efforts, persuade the team to develop strategies for better performance and influence power to accomplish results for the team.
Leadership can be defined as the process to influence a group or team while harnessing the coordinated efforts of the members to achieve the goals of the organization. Leadership in a group must be well-visional, embodying values and beliefs of the organization, promoting mutual trust and providing a better working environment for the members (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018). The concept of e-leadership is evolving in the digital platform where the team leaders have to be effective communicators, possess knowledge on the technical know-how to manipulate the performance of the members in the desired direction, have accountability on the virtual group process and exhibit teamwork to attain the objectives (Roman et al. 2019). The leadership through the digital platforms helps in virtual mediation of the groups where the leaders get the scope of handling diverse culture of people at different time zones and coordinate the activities of the team from their initial stages till their adjournment.
The leadership styles adopted by the leaders in a team or group exert an influence on the team members. The situation or circumstances in the organization paves the way for executing practical leadership by the team leaders where they choose the style as per their character traits and convenience to influence the group (Lemoine et al. 2019). The conceptual leadership and managerial position of an organization differ in a few instances. A good manager can be a good leader of his team, while a leader may not be promoted to the position of a manager due to several obstacles. The managers manage the employees or subordinates while the followers follow the leaders (Zaleznik, 1977). The responsibility of the manager is to create a goal which is further envisioned by the leaders. The risk-controllers are identified as the managers while the leaders tend to take the onus of the risks.
Evaluation of Tuckman’s Group Stages
Bruce Wayne Tuckman was an American psychologist who proposed the stages of group forming and its development. The steps are developed and applied in the organizations by the effectual leaders to build a team for achieving the organizational purposes, growth of the team by following the stages, facing challenges presented in all the stages of the model, resolve the conflicts, plan the course of action and deliver result to the organization (Black et al. 2019). The stage of the Tuckman’s group development model reflects forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
The first stage of Tuckman's model is known as the forming stage. In this stage, the members are assembled and allocated a group. We have been assigned as group 3 with a unique challenge where the power of leadership and its influence to achieve the desired outcome has to be presented keeping in view the experiences that we had during the COVID-19. The virtual team that has been assembled was created with the purpose to get acquainted with the virtual reality and techniques which assist in the group performance (Putro et al. 2020). As a team forms, the direction towards the goals is set with strong guidance from the team leaders. We as a group in the department were introduced with each other where we were given a purpose to resolve.
The leadership development process emerges with the embedded characteristics of the leadership exhibited by the group members when the group is formed. The features of the group members as appear out while following the team leader hints at the integrity, self-awareness, empathy, capability of providing direction, ability to delegate tasks and agility of learning the new techniques of virtual group process. The leaders, on the other hand, exhibits more refined characteristics of problem-solving, analytical decision-making capabilities, resolving of group conflicts, managing time with expertise, negotiation on various aspects, coordinating the teamwork and managing the organization (Zajda & Pasikowski, 2018). The personality traits and expertise makes the tasks of the leaders smooth since they act as enablers to motivate the members in resolving the problems. The Ocean model also supports identifying the personality traits of the group members.
The tools of assessing the characteristics of the leadership of the group resemble DISC process which tests the dominance, influences steadiness, and compliance of the leaders. The other tools may vary like Myers-Briggs Type Indicators like extroverted vs introverted, sensing vs intuition, and thinking vs feeling and judging vs perceiving (Forsyth et al. 2016). Even 360-degree feedback from the colleagues and members of the team helps in assessing the characteristics of the leader of the team as well as vice versa. The impact of the attributes on the group's performance is a mixed one where the leader needs to improve on empathetic handling on the issues of the members and their virtual presence. The impact of leadership also resembles positivity among the members when the context of problem-solving or mitigating conflicts emerges.
The development of a team is suggested when the team starts reflecting on their actions, observe their actions and comprehend with critical analysis on the team development process. Activity-based learning is one of the vital tools for a leader which enhances the process of development through the stages of tutoring, coaching and mentoring the members. The development of leadership traits follows the path of horizontal or vertical leaderships (Ruppercht et al. 2019). The horizontal development assists in adding more skills, knowledge, and set of competencies in the performance of the leader. The vertical development is the advanced development considered to bring out critical thinking capabilities and analysis of the situation to result in problem-solving and decision-making attitudes (Petne, 2016). The developmental stages in our group helped the leader portray the characteristics of a strategic thinker, bringing changes in the process, resolving conflict, and leading the team beyond boundaries. The same traits have been followed by the members, which exerted power and influence of the leader on the team. There are many instances where the leaders tend to fail due to their lack of organizing resources and providing clear directions to the group (Gurdjian et al. 2014). The management also fails at some instances to measure the organizational changes which require effectual leaders to bring in changes.
Power and influence of the team leader of our group resembled the situational characteristics which emerged when the members had to be motivated and influenced to achieve the results of the virtual process to conduct meetings, share knowledge on assignments, discussion on group development on academics and learning to apply the same ability in a mock work environment place (Zhao et al. 2018). Influence on the members is exerted by the leaders that are used as tactics to seek performance or work. The types of power which can be exerted on the members or colleagues can be legitimate power and influence, referent power, reward power and coercive power. Reward power is the most valued one since the leadership applies fair and just rewards for the performance of the team. Coercive power, on the other hand, may make the team feel neglected and pressurized with the given tasks.
The team leaders in this second stage recognized as storming start assigning different roles and positions to the team members. As a group, we developed mutual trust amongst ourselves, and the leader gave us the scope of utilizing our ideas and thoughts in improving the virtual meetings. The group members start identifying the personality traits of other members in the group (Jones, 2019). This second stage enjoys a polite and positive atmosphere since they practically begin to assess the feelings, anxiety, friendship, and other emotions while working as a team.
The group leadership is visible in this second stage, where the team leadership model is successfully applied by the leaders. The groups, team and their leadership actuate some essential characteristics that lead the team to have a clear mission, resources for acting on the task and planning effectively to accomplish the tasks. The leaders are appointed to assess the technical skills of the members while delegating them the task (Homan et al. 2020). Moreover, a high level of communication is an essential characteristic of developing teams and groups. The personality traits of the members can be evaluated by the team leader through various factors or models like the Five-Factor Personality Model or through the Ocean Model. The model proposed by Goldberg states the five elements which enhance a personality is the openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (Drupinar et al. 2016). The exposure to the experience of the members suggests their imagination, originality, preference for variety and daring attitude.
The other aspect of the model suggests ambition, hard work, perseverance planning, energy, modesty, amiability, kindness and several other factors of the personality traits of the members. The Team Leadership model emphasizes on the components where input, process, and output varies to provide team effectiveness through development and performance. The geographically diversified team has been the focus of group development. The pandemic crisis has created this diversity where the students had to return back to their home to maintain social distancing. However, the challenges of meetings have been addressed by creating virtual teams which followed the directions through a pyramid system. The purpose and the roles of the group have been distinguished by the leader where the instructions passed from top to bottom.
The storming process also helped the group to develop a learning process for the curriculum to be completed within a given timeline. The leader very effectively addressed the issue of learning by adopting the style of Honey and Mumford learning styles. We have been activists and theorists in our approach to understanding the group development, the process of leadership and its impact on our group. Being activists in the groups, the members were more into problem-solving, dedicated time for group discussion, competing in the learning styles and exhibition of leadership and actively engaged in role-playing. The members who adopted the theorist style of learning had the advantage of creating hypotheses on various situations and structures of leadership styles, more dependent on authentic data and information, and learning the activities by applying theories and concepts. This helped us work through the virtual process and lead our team into successfully understand the process of leadership, ethical consideration and impactful method of virtual platform for discussion (Malhotra et al. 2007). The members were remotely located where and this had been challenging for the leader to coordinate with the members, fill out the requirements to meet a common time zone and execute the process of learning.
The third stage of Tuckman's model is known as norming. This stage of resolving disagreements and personality clashes helps in establishing a long-term commitment and bond of cooperation among the members of the team. The intriguing part of this stage is that the members are aware of competition against each other, whereas they share a common goal to achieve for their organization. As a group, we evolved from diverse cultural backgrounds. This diversity amongst us creates a natural competition to excel in the field of academics and profession (Taborga, 2018). However, the student leaders tend to be motivating for the students to help them overcome any biased attitude or develop any conflict in learning being at a geographical distance from each other.
The contingency model of leadership by Fiedler suggests that there can be no one best style of leadership. This theory of contingency hints that a single style or citing a leadership style to be the best causes limitation to the personality of the leader to execute leadership during different situation or circumstances. The dimensions portrayed in the leadership theory suggest that there exist an effectual relation between the leader and the member of the team. A team leader is the better person to assess the task structure and how it will be executed in different procedures (Schoemaker et al. 2013). The power of the position of the team leaders supports him/her in hiring members for an organization, firing them, settling, or negotiating on the salaries and promotion of rewards and recognitions for the members. The contingency model is practically used for our group where the leader is acquainted with the tasks to be allotted to each member, having cordial relations with the members and exerting influence on the members.
The team leaders may adapt to various situations where they lead a virtual team. The leaders succeed in their approach when they inhibit that their followers or situation in which they operate may require a change. The situational change or the factors which compel the followers to change, help them form a vision to facilitate the changes and devise plans to get flexible with the changes and accommodate the followers along with them. In such a situation, the Beers Model or Kubler-Ross model can be followed to adapt to changes. The most popular Lewin's model is effective for both short-term and long-term changes (Lutz Allen et al. 2013). Resistance will come during these changes. Hence, this model prepares a ground to address these changes with the stages of unfreezing, change and refreezing. The students in our group were not much comfortable with the idea of regular live sessions. Hence, the leader planned the changes accordingly keeping in perspective the members and their requirements.
The team building activities which are required to be met for the group includes a regular update on the assignments, the syllabus and chapters covered every week and the progress of the students in understanding the topics. Brainstorming activities through Zoom meet or Google meet the options for the team leader to access the member for getting updates on the progress of the students. The geographical distance due to the pandemic crisis made the leader formulate strategies of meeting, and resolving the queries of the students. Quiz and assessment on the topics could help in assessing the progress of the students. However, the resistance which was met by the team leader signifies the egotistic behaviour of two members who didn't want to cooperate on the activities. Their queries and doubts were not clarified by the team leader, which made them resist the plans of the team leader on virtual meetings.
The dark side of the leadership in this context can be mentioned as the incompetence of the team leader who was not compatible with the diverse cultural backgrounds of the members and had issues in communicating with the members. The team suggested that a group meet up for choosing someone more capable of handling our team and accomplishes the given tasks by the tutors during the pandemic crisis (Harris & Jones, 2018). The dark side of the personality traits was visible for the ex-team leader who was not tolerant of many aspects of the team. This dark side also led to poor followership for the leader who was not competent with the team building activities and engaging the members with ethical practice on virtual platforms. The dark side of leadership possesses the traits of leadership derailment, destructive qualities, and negative qualities which creates an adverse condition for the group to sustain.
The unique challenge provided to us was resolved by focusing on the issue of utilizing power and influence, keeping in perspective the pandemic crisis is the science of harnessing persuasion through liking and reciprocity. As enlightened by Cialdini (2001), reciprocity and liking for the leader and mutual understanding among the team members help in harnessing the act of persuasion. The social distancing and geographical distancing have been tolling on the lives of million people. The virtual space has been the only place of respite where the people could meet and greet each other without being anxious or depressed. Hence, the utilization of this space by promoting harmony among different cultures, promoting questions and queries on the progress of the team on learning and working on the given topics have been the only solution. The dark side of leadership has created an impact on the team. However, the mutual consent on replacing the team leader and choosing a practical person with amiable traits and personality helped in strengthening the teamwork. Therefore, the resolution was mitigated by mutual liking for the team leader, and his way of conducting the team for gaining mutual benefits, in the long run, helped us to understand the significance of a strong leader for motivating the members of the team.
The authentic leadership style has been promoted with the change in the team. The new leader had a vision for the progress of the team. Being genuine in approach had a mission for the team to excel in the assignments and prepare for the upcoming assessments. The focus of the leader was for a long-term basis which highlighted the inclusion of employability skills for the students in our post-graduation (Iszatt-White & Kempster, 2019). The skills of the members were noted through video conferencing on virtual meet where the leader assessed individual member on their contribution to the virtual team. This assessment of skills has positively impacted the group since we learned how to focus on the gaps in our learning and enhancing our skills to attain perfection in our presentation.
The action-oriented stage is recognized as performing, which features the established roles of the members in the team, the focus of the group in attaining the fixed goals and expectation at the higher level in achieving the goals. The necessary decisions are made in this stage where the team leaders act as coach or mentors with their expert knowledge on the materials and resources. The performing stage indicates that the members are well-acquainted with each other (Hu et al. 2017). The conflicts of the group have been resolved, and the prime focus of the group lies in channelizing the coordinated efforts of the team members to accomplish a common goal.
Business ethics are formed while performing in an organization. The organization is liable to follow corporate social responsibility, which is an enhanced part of ethical values for an organization. A team leader always faces an ethical dilemma which comprises of truth vs loyalty, short-term vs long-term, and individual vs community. The ethical dilemmas can be resolved by applying care-based thinking by the team leader or by end-based thinking which serves the common good for all the team members (Bailey & Shantz, 2018). The ethical issue that cropped up in the team was using sources for the assignments. The team leader has been effective to go through each and individual assignment before submission so that we do not engage in any misrepresentation of the group.
The principles of business ethics in an organization highlights the honesty of the members, integrity, fairness, concern for others, looking for the welfare of the people, respecting others' views and onions and abiding the law. The team leaders for conducting our virtual meets had to be ethically transparent where our information is kept confidential while utilizing an integrated effort for the team. The team leader promoted ethical leadership which also highlighted the factors of sustainability. The concept of ethical leadership highlights the honesty, charisma of the leader, fairness of judgment and consideration for the team members. An instance can be cited here (Bfendell et al. 2017). The newly chosen leader was considerate enough to accommodate the ex-leader of our team and motivated him to transform his outlook towards the members and diversity of culture.
The team leader has always been ethical to address the challenging questions of the team members. The conflicts between the team members were conveniently handled, which reduced the stress level of the team. We, as a student, are well acquainted with the referencing styles. However, the presentation skills were not up to our expectations which motivated the team leader to address our issues by virtually showing us how the presentation of assignments must be conducted. The questions on using the correct and authentic sources were also addressed by the team leaders (Soomar, 2020). The team leaders in an organization are instrumental in monitoring the tools and methods that are used as communication. For our virtual team meetings, we were allocated specified time for video conferencing and attending conferencing calls. The most striking advantage of having the new leader that we experienced was the feedback sharing. It is essential for any virtual team to assess the productivity where the feedback sharing motivates the performance of the member. However, it is also essential to notice that the sharing of feedback must follow a protocol where an employee of an organization is not publicly reprimanded by the leader.
The last stage of the Tuckman’s Model is known as adjourning. The last stage comprises of disbanding the team when the tasks and objectives of forming the team have been successfully accomplished. The last stage involves reflection of the activities those which were conducted between the forming stage and performing stage. This reflection on the conducted activities helps in recapitulating on the ideas and activities that have been undertaken by the team. The success of the accomplishment of the team is also celebrated, and the effort of the team is acknowledged by the mentors and team leaders. In the adjournment, there is hope that the team members may again form the alignment with new tasks and share a respectful bond among the members of the team.
In conclusion, it may be emphasized that conducting a virtual team is a challenging affair. However, with the given circumstances of the pandemic crisis, the virtual team meet and conducting activities will be the new trend. The positive and advantageous side of virtual team building is that it takes less expenditure on building the infrastructure for an organization. The productivity will be substantially good if seen from the perspective of offering services to the customers. The organization which is involved in direct manufacturing will find this process to be extremely challenging and failure since production without physical resources and the presence of the workers are impossible. However, the positive side to it is that the team leader can access the site at any given point of time and assess the progress with virtual evidence. For students, the virtual meeting at a convenient time is beneficial since the lessons and assignments can be conducted on the virtual or digital platform without creating any obstacle to practical learning or note-taking session from the tutors.