At the last company I worked for, I was the chairperson of the Employee Activities Committee (EAC). This team’s responsibility was to create opportunities for fun, giving back to the community and employee engagement. Since we had a single common, clear goal and relied on each other to accomplish this goal, this was more than just a group and falls in line with the definition of a team (PSU WC, 2019). Additionally, as a condition of group effectiveness, having an established elevating goal helped me to keep the team focused and motivated toward our collective objective (Northouse, 2016).
Effective teams lead to many desirable outcomes, including more effective use of resources, better-quality services and greater innovation and creativity (Northouse, 2016). Our team worked within the limits of a set budget to put together fun employee events as well as volunteer opportunities to give back. A few examples were our annual company picnic, in which we incorporated a fun outdoor carnival theme, a day spent volunteering at a local food bank, and a breast cancer awareness walk.
These events involved much planning and organization – to be successful, our team to needed support from all members (Northouse, 2016). In terms of the Hill Model for Team Leadership, my job as the EAC’s team leader was to monitor the team and do what was needed to ensure the team’s success (Northouse, 2016). To do this, I made sure the team met once a month to discuss and plan for upcoming events. Team members would discuss their ideas openly and if there was room in the budget for additional new activities, they had the freedom to put together additional events outside of the annual events that we always organized. Therefore, there was also an element of shared leadership, as other members had the freedom to step forward and lead their own events (Northouse, 2016). Having the right people is another condition of group effectiveness and I certainly had very capable and competent members who were able to put together new and exciting events (Northouse, 2016). This was also very helpful, since chairing the EAC was not my primary responsibility within the organization and it opened up time for me to focus on my “day job”. Additionally, our engagements fostered a collaborative climate as there was an atmosphere of trust, openness and respect (Northouse, 2016).
In terms of my own leadership functions within this team, sometimes my direct involvement was required. In line with McGrath’s Critical Leadership Functions, I would provide internal support when remedial action was needed (Northouse, 2016). For instance, one year our Christmas budget was exceeded by over $5,000. It was my responsibility to review the budget with the team, see where we went wrong and document the errors to avoid them again the following year. I also had to review this discrepancy in our budget with the finance department and requested an increase our budget for the next year’s Christmas party since expenses were increasing due to increased staff.
I no longer work for this organization and have not since volunteered with another events committee. However, I am glad I had the experience as it taught me a lot about managing people, events and budgets. Thankfully, I had a great team that was focused and motivated to get the job done.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: theory and practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2019). PSYCH 281 Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved from https://psu.instructure.com/courses/2008237/modules/items/27074716