Western Kentucky University Team and Leadership Discussion Questions

Western Kentucky University Team and Leadership Discussion Questions


Team Challenge 7 :

The high school in your town has been having problems. Recently, the number of gangs at school has increased. Acts of vandalism and juvenile delinquency are also increasing. Although there have not been any major outbreaks of violence, stories in the media of violence in other communities have raised concerns among parents. The school board created a committee of teachers, administrators, students, and concerned parents to develop proposals for dealing with problems at the local high school. You are the leader of this committee.

The meetings started with polite sharing of ideas, but tensions soon became apparent. The four groups had very different ideas about the degree of seriousness of the problem and appropriate solutions. Polite criticism of ideas shifted into cynical asides and finally into heated attacks. As people became more emotional, negative comments became more personal. You are aware that some of the participants have fought over other school issues in the past.

How can you (the leader of the committee) reduce the negative emotions in this situation?

How do you build trust among the groups?

What can be done to negotiate agreement among the four groups?                                                                                    

Team Challenge 8: 

You are the manager of a technical services team that provides support services for other organizations. Over the past year, you have been trying to make the transition to a more self-managing team. For instance, you now call yourself the team leader rather than the manager. As part of the transition, the team now makes decisions about scheduling, partnering, and other task assignments. Team meetings where employees passively listen to instructions have been replaced by team discussions and group decision making. You have worked hard to encourage team members to speak up at meetings, and they are now contributing more.

At today’s meeting, a team member suggested a new way to organize work practices. You told the team you didn’t like the idea because you had tried a similar plan in the past and it did not work well. Another team member ignored your explanation and complained that you were stifling innovation and were unwilling to share power with the team.

How can you (the team leader) respond to a “bad” idea without discouraging team participation?

What is the best way to handle team members who challenge the leader’s authority?

What norms could be adopted to help the team communicate more effectively?

How much power-sharing (or empowerment) is appropriate for a work team?