Gratton and Erickson describe two leadership styles among leaders of multidisciplinary teams: Relationship-oriented leaders tend to

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Gratton and Erickson describe two leadership styles among leaders of multidisciplinary teams: 

• Relationship-oriented leaders tend to foster “an environment of trust and goodwill in which people are more likely to share knowledge”; 

• Task-oriented leaders help “to make objectives clear, to create a shared awareness of the dimensions of the task, and to provide monitoring and feedback.” 

First of all, ask yourself which of these two leadership styles you’re more comfortable with. In other words, if you were assigned to lead a team, which leadership style would you probably bring to the task? 

Now assume that you have been assigned to lead a team of fellow students in drafting a proposed curriculum of required courses for freshmen and sophomores at your college. Naturally, the team consists of students with a broad range of majors. What will probably be your strengths as leader of your group? What will probably be your weaknesses? 

Finally, in trying to determine which style— relationship or task oriented—was most effective in leading collaborative teams, Gratton and Erickson concluded that an emphasis throughout a project on one style at the expense of the other inevitably hindered the long-term performance of the team. . . . The most productive, innovative teams were typically led by people who were both task and relationship oriented. What’s more, these leaders changed their style during the project.

 Under what circumstances will you most likely have to change your leadership style in order to keep the group working effectively? Try to be specific in identifying circumstances that might arise over the course of your team project. What do you need to do in order to adjust your style to shifting circumstances?

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