Reflection 2: Teamwork and Leadership

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Individual

(what do I know about teamwork and leadership and about myself as a team worker and leader to start with?)

Before I even start this reflection I want to lay out my understandings about teamwork and leadership the way I see it.

Teams are these collaborative units of people joined together to accomplish a common goal whatever that is. The output of the whole team should exceed that of the sum of the output of individual members. This is the main reason for working in teams. Teamwork is the sum of all actions undertaken by the team members to achieve a common task. Teamwork also involves recognizing your role within the team and focusing on the team’s common goal rather than focusing on personal preferences.

Leadership is a behavior of one of the members of the team, which concludes in influencing the team’s decision-making process and over all team performance.

Team leaders must be able to :

–      prepare the agenda for team meetings

–      ensure that team meeting is focused on the agenda

–      establish positive working and creative environment

–      point out the objectives needed to be discussed

What do I know about my self as a team worker and team leader?

Well I was always able to work as part of a team. I have worked with variety of people from different ages and nationalities on 2 continents. I worked as warehouse supervisor where I had a team of 12 people to look after and supervise day in day out. During my time as Farm Manager I had teams of up to 15 people which I had to supervise, to plan for the day ahead and to know at any instant who is doing what. This type of work is very demanding physically and psychologically and I enjoyed it a lot. These days I tend to take second stage when it comes down to been a group leader simply for the fact that I’ve been there and kind of feel obligated to let the younger team members to take the initiative and prove them self’s as team leaders.

Contextual

(Why is teamwork and leadership important for an engineer? what are some important dimensions to working in teams and providing leadership?)

Teams of engineers have become the basic working unit in modern engineering organizations. Because team environment foster interaction and open communication, and create a desirable setting for generating new ideas, the ability to function effectively as a member of a team has become essential.

The broad range of disciplines required to move an innovative idea through product development and testing, and ultimately to production and marketing, requires that engineers collaborate in teams to create products that meet the needs of consumers.

The broad acceptance of teams as an effective approach to improve performance has fundamentally changed the work environment for engineers; today’s engineers must master teamwork and communication skills as never before.

We can all say that importance of teamwork is undisputable.

Relational

(What did I learn from the team exercises? what was the feedback that I received?)

There are a few things that I am going to mention.

Our group worked very well when we got together. We shared tasks and split the workload in order to prepare for our second presentation based on our experience at UL Activity Centre.

We had numerous group meetings where we discussed the details of preparation and where we decided who is going to present if called on the day. Apart from this we kept constant contact over email through which we shared information about the work we’ve done so far and collaborated actively to complete the task in time. I took an active participation in the process and in the end we were pleased with the result.

I have to acknowledge the effort of all members of our group and to congratulate them for job well done.

Perhaps for the next group exercise we need to work little bit harder since we’ve seen the effort of the other teams involved.

Developmental

(How can I use this to go forward? what specific things should I do to develop my team working and leadership skills based on what I have learned from this experience?)

 

Working in a group is exciting and a bit of tiring exercise some time especially if someone does not pull as much as the others . In our group we are all strong and well-developed individuals but when we work as a group I think that we lack the edge needed to be very successful. From my point of view I think that I need to encourage the other members of the group to participate more actively when it comes to completing a task and take matters more seriously. Having said that over all experience is definitely positive and looking forward to the future.

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Power Point Presentation

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Reflection on my presentation EE4003

Individual

This presentation was my second attempt at presenting interesting topic in front of an audience of college students. I did have a similar experience in Mallow College of further education while doing the Communication Module as a part of a Network Technology course. I haven’t got any previous experience in presenting or talking in front of an audience.

I am usually not afraid to speak my mind out and defend my opinions with arguments within a group of friends and fellow students but presenting something serious as a professional and trying to make a point is a different story. First of all I had to make a presentation in a language that is not native to me so I felt more pressure when preparing. I had to double check the structure and correct spelling to avoid any misunderstandings.

The toughest part in preparation was to find an interesting topic to present considering the fact that the audience average age is around 20-21years. This meant that if the topic was not interesting enough I would loose the audience attention in the first minute of the presentation and won’t be able to make a point or get any info across. Choosing a topic like Sexually Transmitted Diseases was a bit of a gamble but considering the audiences age early 20’s and predominantly males was probably very suitable at this particular time.

Contextual

Teamwork and leadership are central to engineering. Learning how to organize, manage and present projects, and to participate effectively in teams, will not only serve us well in college, where there are lots of group projects, but will also be critical to succeed as a professional engineers.
Every successful group of engineers can achieve great results if they work as a team. No matter what you name or nationality if you are part of the team you never feel isolated and your efforts and ideas can benefit the team success. From this I can conclude that every team leader should become a great team player. A team leader must recognize the strengths and weaknesses of group members and should acknowledge the whole team’s effort. Moreover, an effective leader should learn how to encourage his people to participate by making them feel that they are needed.
So in the end providing effective leadership within a group of engineers is crucial for the success of this group and transforming it to a team of engineers.

Relational

With regard to my own presentation I learned that I am not great when it comes to presenting serious topic in front of an audience of young engineers to be. I spend bit too much time preparing slides and information to be presentable in way that it won’t scare some of the students listening to me in the room.

I was not able to show to the audience most of the photographs that I had prepared do to the explicit nature of them. I had to replace them with text and to try graphically explain the subject of my presentation. The nervousness from not been able to use more media materials and not enough rehearsing did not help my cause either. I tried to be as humorous as possible considering the seriousness of my topic and the fact that I only had 5 minutes to entertain an audience of young people.
My voice projection was good but do to the fact that I change my slides too many times in the preparation stage I lost my rhythm and I had to read of my notes which was embarrassing enough and caused a few stumbles a long the presentation.
What I have to take on board from this experience is that I need to look at the audience a lot more and try to engage most of them through eye contact. Using a wireless pointer might be a good idea next time. The feedback that I received on the day reflects the problems that I’ve outlined above.

Developmental

For any future events that will require speaking in front of an audience I will check the size of the room and if I can be heard properly from the furthest away people.

Also I need to get used to the idea of looking people when talking and try to keep a straight face at all time.
I need to learn to be aware of the time that it takes to present the material I have prepared and try to involve more hands and eye contact with the people in the room.

I have to work on my pronunciation of lengthy words and to do a lot more rehearsing with friends or family so I can feel natural standing and talking in front of an audience.
At last I think reducing the amount of text in my slides would of given me more attention from the people in the room. They would of listen to me instead of trying to read the text of the board.

Hopefully I will learn from this experience and improve significantly for any future presentation.

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