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In the module of ‘Leadership and Teams’, we were assigned into groups of five or six to create a five minutes video assessment. The video assignment was either on the topics of consumers, future workforce, students or citizens, but they were randomly allocated to us. I was put into a group with a total of six people, which were Annabel, James, Charles, Barnaba and Harrison. We were set to choose a theme based on the topic of consumers, but we did not know each other at first, therefore the first thing we did was introducing ourselves to one another. There were a lot of aspects that were worthy of discussion within the broad theme of consumers. As a group, we held a discussion in order to think of a storyline for the video. We each had some ideas, but at the end of the week, we agreed to use the concept of consumers being trapped by marketing, which we all thought was a very interesting concept to present.

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We had around four to five weeks before we need to hand in the final product, so good time management was very important to us, as there we had other projects from other modules to balance as well. Therefore, we needed to discuss and start to film as soon as possible. Due to the fact that we had a limited amount of time, but we already had all the ideas planned in the first week, so that we were able to just meet up and film, edit, final check and write the report in later weeks of the course. 

The final edit of the film was around 5 minutes and 20 seconds. The film is based on a consumer named Annabel, who was walking into town and saw a lot of subliminal advertisements and posters, that increased her desire to consume. The video follows Annabel, in order to investigate how many advertisements surrounds her in the time span of a day. The storyline begins with her having no intentions to make any purchases, but as she starts walking, there are thousands of advertisements surrounding, such as pictures of products and many signs. The advertisements draws in her attentions and increases her desire to shop, and the film ends with her making some purchases. We also added in an interview of Alex Thompson, Exeter’s professor of Marketing, in which he explained the ideas and impacts behind it. The film is designed to be presented as a documentary style. This film intents to bring out the message that advertisements surround us everyday, although they may not always affect your desires to shop, but they will definitely affect your wants towards goods and services, and that the advertisements are affecting consumers in a subliminal way.

There are theories of Leadership and Teams that can be explored in this project, which is a very important element of it. It identifies our style of working and it affects the efficiency of our progress in the making of this film. It is essential to note our leadership style and how we follow others, as we can be a leader and a follower at the same time. It will help us to develop our leadership and improve our group work ability in the future. The power of leadership can affect not just productivity, but also how we communicate with each other in day to day life. Through this opportunity, I would want to sharpen my team working skills, and learn to communicate with different people because the biggest barrier of becoming a successful team is the lack of urge to communicate, influence and encourage other team members. 

The reflection on the concept of leadership. 

There were some challenges and difficulties when producing the film, but the leadership style amongst our team led us to the finishing process without having that much struggle. The most challenging part of this task was organizing the group meetings and the distribution of work. As all of us may had different timetables, it was hard at times to organize a meeting which suits all of us. However, each one of us know that good communication in group work is essential, therefore each time one of us will take the initiative to ask and organize a meeting. It was also difficult to divide the work between each other, because each of us may had different preferences. When situations like this arose, we chose to be democratic and openly shared our preferences in order to compromise within the group. Democratic leadership refers to when “members of the group take a more participative role in decision making process”. We thought that we should be fair in the decision-making process, as we understood that it was beneficial to the group because it will minimize the chances of disagreements. A research has shown that democratic leadership will result in a higher level of productivity amongst group members. I will use one of our many group meetings as an example to highlight the benefits of democratic leadership. During that time, we were struggling on which parts should we cut out from the final edit of the film as we had more footages than we needed. We also had to decide the order of the film, including how we were going to put all the footages within the limited time frame of 5 minutes, yet still be able to convey the underlying concept of the film clearly. Each of us had opinions that differed from one another, but we were all willing to listen to other opinions. Thus through compromising, we all arrived with the final edit of the film with mutual agreements.  

There were not only one type of leadership style used within the duration of this project, we also used transformational leadership, which it “requires high level of communication from management to meet goals”. We grasped the importance of communication, therefore we created a Facebook group chat in order to allow us to share ideas and update each other throughout the course of the project. Apart from that, we also used the group chat to motivate each other to keep up with the work and meet the deadlines. By motivating each other, it helped to enhance our productivity and efficiency.  For the above reasons, I have noticed that motivation plays a very important factor to our success. Motivation is the “the cognitive decision making process through which goal directed behavior is initiated”. It was essential for us to stay motivation, as it plays a huge factor to the upkeep of our productivity and encouraged us to heighten the quality of the final product. For example, even if we were given the capability to complete a task, but if we were not motivated, the performance level would have sure to have decreased. Furthermore, having a good level of motivation will led to higher self-esteem too. The courage to strive to always improve, was beneficial to each member of our group in both the short-run and long-run. This mentality was the force that pushed us to keep performing at our highest level of productivity. 

Other than having high productivity, it was also important for us to allocate roles. Applying Belbin’s Nine Team roles to examine the which roles were suitable for each member. We can reflect to what role each of us play in the group and what clusters of behavior are displayed. By understanding our strength and weaknesses unique to us has enabled us to use our strengths to the fullest in order to enhance the performance of the team. An example of this was as we recognized  Charles is comparatively better at editing video clips than other members, therefore he had the specialist role in editing the film. Through utilizing our strengths, it brought out the best of our ability to our work. Yet, the only disadvantage was that we did not have the opportunity to improve on our weaknesses. 

Cultural diversity was also very unique feature of our group. With being in an international group, with group members from different backgrounds and cultures has affected our working styles. To an extent, our cultures do shape our choice of behaviors and perceptions on matter. However, we understood the importance of this assignment and compromising was an easy to reach. According to the cultural frameworks, our team had a work hard play hard culture. This meant we had a quick feedback and low risk. The limited amount of time given to complete this project has prompted us to always stay on task, but at the same time we acknowledged the importance to enjoy the production process and prioritize our own happiness after the task is completed. The culture diversity within our group not only affected our working attitude and environment, but also played a huge factor in the making of the film. Since we all had backgrounds unalike to one another, our perception on issues such as education, sex and race also differentiated. The biggest advantage of having a multicultural team was the wide range of perspectives, knowledge and ideas that we were able to incorporate into the film. In addition, the often typical problem of having a multicultural team, such as miscommunication and biased stereotypes, did not affected our teamwork. As opposed to having our different cultures being a barrier to good teamwork, everyone made an effort to respect and learn about each others’ culture, consequently there we did not experience any negative attitude in the group. Furthermore, communication also was not an issue of concern, as each of us were able to communicate in English.

As I look back on our group development, there were some stages of development experienced by our group since we did not know each other at the very beginning. According to Turckman’s ‘Stage of Group Development’, he identified four stages: Forming, storming, norming and performing.  There is a need to input leadership strategies in order build a healthy working environment. In the stage of forming, it requires coordinating behaviors to help the team find the goals and link us together. In the second stage, we will need coaching behavior as we need to develop trust and respect. Thirdly and also lastly, we need to focus on feedback as we all may have different opinions on the outcome of the production. Luckily, every one of us had always made an effort to keep each other motivated and upkeep a good level of communication, thus our group development process was successful. 

Conclusion 

I think the whole project was carried out very well, the teamwork and leadership elements were clearly a main reason why. It links us together as a group and brought efficiency into the production process. We trusted each other, but also each one of us had a determined attitude and equally contributed in the working process. Therefore, we respected each other because we all shared the single target of producing a high quality video. We had a good amount of group meetings, and remained focused in the production of the film. I have always understood that there is no ‘I’ in ‘Team’, we have to work together as a group in order to produce the best outcome possibble. As mentioned above, leadership is very important to us as a team, as it allows us to work as a team and it helps us to communicate with each other easier and more effectively. The most unique aspect of our group was that we had a wide range of cultural diversity, thus it helped to gather a lot of different perspectives and opinions for the project. Although, nationalities may not have a very big impact on production of the film, but it brought different working styles and communication skills on to the table. We had collectivism rather than individualism in a group, it was all about taking initiative and responsibilities, we displayed that through assigning ourselves to a section of the project individually, and later coming back as a group after each individual task was completed. We acknowledged the importance of working as a team for this group project, and we know it is not a one man’s game, solo working would not benefit us. The five minute film task is a group project, hence it requires 100% teamwork in order to involve each of  us in it. When I was working on the project with my group mates, I never noticed the concept of leadership and the importance of it. However, as I look back, the impact of leadership and teams behind this task formed the basis of our success and constant communication. The most important element of a successful leadership is to act with an open-mind, we need to be open in order receive constructive comments from each other. I have also learnt that group discussion is always the best way to overcome obstacles as a team. 

In conclusion, leadership has identified our group working style, it is an essential role to successful team work. The culture diversity we had, leadership style, concept of sharing ideas were so important in maintaining good communication and productivity. Different groups can have other leadership style, but in order to be productive, they will need to have some type of leadership. It shapes the performance of a team and bring outs more possibilities of improving the quality of the task.  

Understanding leadership is not just important for circumstances of teamwork only, it will so benefit as individuals. Learning the concepts behind leaderships enhances our skills to communicate and to work with one another, the ability and chances of being a leader later on in life will increase. As Michael Jordan once said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”. No matter in what position you are in, having the advantage of leading a team will always stands-out in a group and in society. 

Evaluation 

Although there were not really a big obstacle in the film making process, as the whole project went smooth,  but having a look back on the project, I have discovered some parts that we can improve on, which will be able to improve the quality of the video, the process of making it and the communication.

I think we could organize more meetings and for me personally I should initiate more conversation with all of the teammates in order to interact more with each other. If I have a question, I should not refuse ask, because I believe they will answer my question nicely. In the process of making the video, I think we could have started to write the report, so that we can save some time at the end to use it for double checking editing errors. In my opinion, is very important to have an evaluation for a project as an evaluative report will benefits us, because leaderships are always essential in terms of group work, it includes motivation, distribution of work and efficiency. Making changes allow me to have better communication with teammates in the future and perhaps produce a higher quality piece, hopefully I will learn more in the future and become a leader.