Summer Course on Leadership and Team Building

This summer, I'll be teaching "Group Process, Team Building, and Leadership." It's a course I haven't taught before, and I'm quite excited about it. The course description, from the catalog:

RHET 3266 - Group Process, Team Building, and Leadership (C/PE)
(3.0 cr; Prereq-1223 or equiv or #; fall, spring, summer, every year)
Group processes, team building from perspective of managers/leaders. Communication techniques in small group decision making process. Theories of team/small-group communication. Case studies. Group project for each student.

I'm already going mentally overboard in thinking about using wikis and weblogs in the course, readings on collaboration, etc. There's probably a specific textbook I'll be required to use, but I might have a course pack too. Any suggestions? I'd especially appreciate the newest, most innovative theories of effective management and leadership.

(I'm resisting the urge to show The Office, The Apprentice, and Office Space in class...)


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Leadership In Governance

The subtitle is "Creating Conditions for Effective Decision-Making in Community Colleges". It's a book that Tom Fryer, our former chancellor, and I co-authored in 1991, now out of print. What we argue for is a theory of collaborative decision-making as the best institutional process. We drew on a lot of the management theory current then. I think the chapter on "Communication" still holds up pretty well, though it's pre-web and mostly pre email. We also had an appendix that provides profiles of the nine community college districts we studied, through survey and interview. If the university library has a copy, you might look at it for excerpts and examples. For instance, we did summaries of each chapter in one-page bulleted key ideas.

On a more contemporary note, a few days ago, the San Jose Mercury News ran a feature on how the president of Intel is writing a blog intended only for employees. But two months into the process someone sent the blog to a reporter, which the president assumed would eventually happen. I'd guess you could find this through a search engine.

team building is facilitation

Having led a few group efforts over the years, and learned mostly by trial and error and intuition, I can tell you it can feel like herding cats. My own view is that to build a team, the leader must:

  • provide a clear vision that everyone can embrace
  • give each person a piece of ownership of the vision (they make it their own)
  • make sure each group understands its role in the context of the meta-effort
  • work to provide each person and each group what they need to do their part
  • listen to the feedback, and apply what makes sense
  • hold individual and group consultations to evaluate progress and make adjustments
  • steer the whole effort as the person who's making sure all the elements fit in with the bigger picture

I'm just pulling this out of my as off the top of my head, so my apologies for its laundry list character. I don't know of any textbooks off-hand, but I do believe that the autocratic approach caricatured in The Apprentice has limited application in reality.

Many management consulting firms use Twelve Angry Men as a case study of proper and improper (almost immoral) persuasion. It's loaded! Also, Seven Samurai shows two levels -- building the samurai team, and then their leadership of the villagers. (It's a great movie, too.)

If I think of anything else, I'll ping in here. I hope this helps a little.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.