The video above may be an oversimplified (and amusing) example of team leadership but there a couple of important things that stand out. The team’s adaptability and trust are apparent. Both of these things are crucial for group success.
It is necessary for a team to be highly adaptable and able to meet the demands of a changing environment (Northouse). Internal tasks are not always the only concern. Despite rigorous planning, unforeseen obstacles will inevitably present themselves. When an obstacle is unavoidable, a team must be able to “shift gears,” assess the nature of the obstacle, deal with it and get back on course for the team to be able to efficiently reach its goal.
In this case, the team was performing a task and they were interrupted with an external issue that the team leader recognized. Solving this issue so they could get back on task was paramount. He was able to help the team adapt to overcome the obstacle and resume its original mission.
According to the Lesson 9 Commentary, “Teams must have trust. Trust ensures that individuals of a team will be able to work together and rely on one another” (Pennsylvania State University World Campus). Without trust in the team leader and without trust in each other, the team might not have been successful in overcoming the obstacle. The team of ants had complete trust and confidence in each other and in their leadership. A lack of trust would have affected the team’s flexibility and adaptability.
The icing on the cake was the fact that the team leader jumped right into the foray when the team needed to shift it’s focus and change its tactics to address the environmental issue. Leading by example as part of the team helps to elevate the team’s cohesion and demonstrate unified commitment (Pennsylvania State University World Campus). All team members are involved and understand the “bigger picture.”
De Lijn, (2011, August 30). Team Leader Funny (Take the Bus). Retrieved November 3, 2014, from YouTube.com: http://youtu.be/5L8Em5vU0FU
Northouse, P. G. Leadership – Theory and Practice (Sixth ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: SAGE Publications.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus. (n.d.). Lesson 9: Team Leadership. Retrieved October 22, 2014, from Psychology 485: Leadership in Work Settings: https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/fa14/psych485/001/content/09_lesson/07_page.html