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Person Experience Analysis

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In a group project, whoever commands leadership must possess a number of traits or characteristics to ensure the group's success. These qualities include, but are not limited to:

* Conscientiousness

* Dedication

* Outgoing

* Analytical

* Sincere

Each of these traits is equally important in defining a leader. A successful leader must possess all of these personas to some degree if he or she expects a successful outcome. Often times however, depending on the dynamics of the group, there may be trade offs in the need for each of the characteristics. For example, in a group that might be slightly careless or perhaps "dumb", a leader who is especially conscientious and analytical would be preferred, as they would be good at going over the group work, picking out mistakes, and then correcting them. On the other hand, in a group that is very skilled, you may encounter problems in which each person thinks they are correct. Therefore, you would need a leader who is particularly sincere and accepting of all ideas, in addition to outgoing, and having the ability to bring the group members together, even when there is a good possibility of dissent.

Being a good group leader does not necessarily imply that you are extremely smart or gifted, rather, being a good group leader implies that one owns each of these traits, and is able to use them to the group's advantage.

Personal Experience

Ever since I began my education at Pitt, especially in our CBA Orientation classes, I had heard grumblings about a class called "MCE" or short for "Managing in Complex Enviornments". Though I had been told the exams were particularly tough and that the final was worth nearly half of our grade, the most consistent facet of information that arose from discussions about this class was that there was a massive group project that would end up being over 40 pages long in some cases. Our student advisor in CBA orientation confirmed our fears one day, revealing that her paper had been 45 pages long, and that she was still working on it the morning it was due. Not just dread, but pure fear had been evoked into all of us. Coming from high school, where a big paper generally consisted of a five paragraph essay that might hit six pages if you stretched it, this was like nothing we had ever seen before, nor wanted to see. I wanted no part of it, and prayed that I would have a good group leader.

During the first day of class in MCE, Professor Atkin briefly described what sorts of activities we would participate in during class, what our book was; more or less general housekeeping items. Before we knew it though, he began talking about the project. Though he didn't go into great detail, assuring us that the projects outline would be online, he quickly told us to split up and form our project groups. Everyone in the class was caught off guard. Hardly any of us knew each other, considering that 98% of the class were freshmen. Moreover, none of us really knew what to look for in a potential group-mate. I, not exactly knowing anyone, asked a girl to join my group, whom I had always seen in my 8am Micro-economics recitation on Friday morning. Generally, the two of us were the only people in the classroom, so I figured if she were dedicated enough to show up for such an early class, she must be very concerned with her academics, and thus a good teammate. Next, I spotted someone who I recognized from high school. Although neither of us were good friends, being that I knew him and could trust him, made him a good candidate for the team as well. Between the three of us we then found three more people to join with us, and thus created our project group.

When putting our names down, we came to a slight conundrum, who would be our group leader? Though no one was willing to volunteer for it, two of the people suggested that I be it, as they remembered me doing well in a previous class we had. Reluctantly I agreed. Before even knowing what our project was to be on, I made sure to have a group meeting to discuss and outline our goals for the group. The general consensus was that we all wanted to get the best grade possible, that being an A. With that in mind, I inquired from others who had done successful on the project, how they approached it, and what amount of effort it took. Once I had amassed this information, I conveyed to my group the necessary steps in achieving our goals, and then assigned each member their part of the project.

After assigning each part of the project to someone in the group, I began working on the assignment myself. I never actually realized what my role as the group leader would be until our initial outline was due. There were three times when items were due for our project. First, we handed in a simple, first outline, then a rough draft, and finally our good copy, which would ultimately be graded. In my opinion, it was at these three critical junctures, when the importance of a good leader came into clear view. The general tasks I had to perform as the group leader were as follows:

* Warning group members of pending due dates

o Continually checking up on them to make sure their work was carried out

* Compiling numerous pieces of work into one large report

o Making adjustments and additions to each person's part to improve the cohesiveness of the report

* Setting up group appointments with the teaching assistants (who graded the reports)

o Notifying group members of upcoming meetings and keeping attendance

Generally, there was little friction within the group's inter workings. Although occasionally people would email me their parts later than I would have liked, or in one case, everything was in outline format (when it should have been in paragraph form), I didn't see any major issues, that was, until the final copy was due. With approximately 24 hours until the final copy was due, one team member, who had been largely inconsistent in terms of attending meetings and meeting deadlines for his assignments, still had not sent me his part of the project. I began to worry because, despite having his cell phone number, he had not answered calls for two days. With time ticking down, I decided that to ensure a good grade, as group leader, I would need to take on his part by myself. Fortunately, a couple actions on my part as the group leader made this near disaster become an afterthought.



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