Observing the Leaderless Group
This SEEING EXERCISE is a reflection on the group's natural, ongoing, and distributed functions. Members constantly create vision and make meaning of their work, build relationships to make that vision become real, and experiment with new behaviors. When we see how these functions take place without the intervention of leadership, we learn to identify the moments where our intervention will produce the greatest improvement. Given that we have limited time and energy, this is a valuable skill.
At its best, this observation becomes a constant part of our performance of leadership.
Observe the group in action. This might be in the middle of a shift, in a meeting, during downtime, or any other period when you can simply watch. Do not intervene.
When do members of the group talk about their work, and what do they say?
Do they hold each other accountable to a standard of excellence? Do they encourage or support each other, or criticise without purpose?
Do members exchange the things they need without prompting?
Do members combine their tasks effectively?
Do members communicate when interchanges are necessary or do they take over the task?
What kind of emotion reactions take place? What characteristics describe these reactions?
Do members adjust and apologize for unintended emotion reactions?
Do members adapt their behavior to changing circumstances?
Do other members provide feedback and insight about the consequences of these adaptations?
Are these adaptations kept if they are productive and rejected if not?
Are members excited by challenge and adaptation, or are they afraid or resistant?