Identify the project you have selected to work through in this workbook. The project I selected is organizing of Halloween party. I hosted a Halloween party in my home on October 31 in the evening. I invited my friends and cousins to celebrate at my home. It was not going to be a big party in my expectation; the party should have been lively and interactive.
What are the project goals? The goals of this project include: creating a platform for me and my friends to celebrate Halloween, practice my leadership skills, apply the learned theories from the course, assess my leadership ability depending on the outcomes of the event, and teach the members of my team leadership.
What is the time frame? The project would be successfully completed in two days before the party.
What’s the budget? For this home party, the budget was limited to $500, and the capital included the decoration of Halloween theme etc. I would spend $200 on decoration items such as jack-o-lanterns, toy spiders and fake cobweb; the remaining $300 should be used for pizzas, drinks and candy.
What are the challenges that you face leading this project?
Limited amount of time to supervise implementation of the plans. I had delegated all the duties to the team, and in case a member of the team fails, the event may not be successful.
Lack of experience in dealing with eventualities. This was the first major event I am organizing, and my emotional intelligence to react to difficult situations has not been tested.
Minimum support from friends and cousins coming to the party. Consequently, I did not know their expectations and preferences, hence some of them may not have been satisfied with the provisions in the party.
Unifying the team. The four individuals had never worked together. Thus ensuring that they have unity of mind is one of the most difficult challenges.
Get a Price Quote
Who is on the immediate project team?
My two cousins were the shopping team, their duty was to arrange purchase of all the foods, decorations and any other required items in order to make the party successful. The duo is mentally strong and performed its duties speedily to prevent any delay. Success of this party greatly depended on availability of basic party necessities.
A friend with vast computer knowledge. He would head the technology team. This team ensured that all the designs and decorations are made to match the theme of the party. They would design invitation cards, flyers, lighting and even Halloween costumes.
Human Resource Manager. My best friend would be the HR. I would give her the contact list of the people who were to be invited that night. She would send invitation to the people on the list, supervise the activities of every team and ensure that everyone plays his/her role excellently. She would also be the event manager who overseeing activities and programs during the party.
Stakeholder: supplier. Another possible team member that I considered was a supplier of commodities who could be useful in preparation for the party. Procuring the commodities from one supplier would lower the cost due to discounts. The supplier would be interested in making profits through service delivery such as providing music system, supplying food, decorations and outsourcing for other goods and services such as costumes. Thus, one ensures that all the goods and services are available for the party.
Stakeholder: police officer. The criteria for success would be order and security throughout the party. A police officer would ensure that the party did not break any law such as causing disturbance to the neighbors by playing loud music.
What are your current feelings regarding this project? I was enthusiastic about this project because it was the first big event I was organizing. I was also curious to see the outcomes that would result from my leadership skills. I was also anticipating the achievement of my goals and objectives for organizing this party as seeing how joyous my friends would be during the party. However, I was also scared of the possibility of failure. The scare was catalyzed by imagination of the possibility of suffering shame if the supplies did not arrive on time or the party would be boring.
What aspects of this project do you expect to be frustrating or difficult? The aspects of this project that are more challenging were enhancing teamwork among all the teams, planning the program of the party to prevent boredom and monotony, foster uniqueness, and supervising the team. For the project to succeed, it was pivotal for the team to have oneness of mind and coordination rather than disagreement on matters affecting the project. Also, it was challenging to come up with creative ideas on how to make the party as unique as possible and provide a memorable experience to all the attendees. Additionally, supervision is a difficult task because it requires my physical presence to monitor the progress, but since I cannot supervise all the activities simultaneously, some tasks may not be performed with the degree of excellence I wanted.
Why is this project important to me and my organization? With this project, I had the opportunity to practice my leadership skills, to assess the knowledge that I gained, and to improve on my weakness by maximizing the leadership strengths I have. This project would also create special moments for my friends and cousins to interact. It is important for me to create joyous moments that unify people rather than cause division, and this project would enable me to create unity in my social circles. Additionally, my birthday would be on this Halloween day, hence it was pivotal that the project succeed so that I could have one of the happiest days of my life.
For my organization, this project creates a platform for teams to interact and better know one another. Such interaction would play a significant role in uniting all employees and would provide a break from monotonous work routine. If the employees in the organization were united by this Halloween party, it would result in increased productivity due to ease of cooperating.
To other people, especially the supplier of services and family, the party would create a moment of enjoyment. The supplier would gain some profits and perhaps develop new prospects from the people who attended the party.
How the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership Played a Role in this Project
Model the way. This practice enabled me to define the values that I wanted to portray through this project and determine the right actions to undertake so that those values can be manifested. The values that I intended to showcase included: unity, respect and cooperation. As a leader, I have learned to be an opportunist and use my birthday celebration as a platform to unify people. The party was a way of exemplifying my innate values through speeches, games and music.
Inspire a shared vision. Knowledge of this practice enabled me to envision the features I wanted to see in my birthday party and inspire the team that I selected to execute the plans in my vision. I learned how to convince and motivate my team members to perform their duties wholeheartedly. Without vision people are doomed to perish (Kouzes & Possner, 2012). This practice taught me how to anticipate failure and prevent it by critically analyzing the vision and perfectly executing the plans. Beside, leadership is about influence. Inspiring a shared vision is the perfect demonstration of true leadership. In my organization, cooperation is one of the shared aspirations, and this project provided a way of realizing this dream. Additionally, I learned the art of delegating duties as a fast way of achieving goals. If I were to organize the party singlehandedly, there would have been massive delays. Knowing how to inspire a shared vision relieved me of the burden of performing all the duties by myself.
Challenge the process. The practice of challenging the process helped in the execution stage. After drawing all the plans and delegating the duties, this knowledge gave me the boldness to take risks and learn from the process. Some of the risks entailed budgeting with limited amount of funds and simplifying the party despite expecting to host a unique party. I also learned to search for innovative ways of improving things. In this context, I constantly stressed on improving the designs of the cards to the highest level of excellence that the designers could create as well as trying different programs.
Enable others to act. This practice was the foundation for delegating duties to team members. I could have planned the party myself spending more time, but this attribute taught me the value of delegating duties to teams. Apart from being a way of empowering others to practice their skills, it is a way of fostering excellence. I realized that a team of people can brainstorm ideas and devise the most appropriate way of executing the plans and spot mistakes better than individually.
Encourage the heart. Kouzes & Possner (2012) stressed on the need to recognize contributions by expressing appreciation for individual excellence. In selecting teams, appreciating the fact that some people were imbued with unique skills and abilities such as computer knowledge to design high quality cards was the foundation to form highly diverse and motivated teams. By recognizing and appreciating their uniqueness and abilities to perform the assigned tasks, all the participants were motivated and encouraged to work wholeheartedly. As a result, they grasped the vision I had for the party and collaborated with the others to ensure success.
Application of Two Leadership theories from Northouse
Path-goal theory. This theory examines the way leaders can utilize motivation of employees in enhancing satisfaction and performance (Northouse, 2014). It enabled me to specify the best leadership behavior and style that befitted my team to achieve my goals. Also, the theory identifies participative, achievement-oriented, supportive and directive leadership behavior (Antonakis & House, 2014). In leading my team, I adopted participative leadership behavior. This style entails consultation with followers and requesting for their views and opinions prior to making a final decision. It is mostly applicable when subordinates are personally involved in activities. In designing cards and the type of lighting to be used in the party, I allowed maximum participation from my friends who are more knowledgeable in that regard. Allowing the subordinates to participate fully in deliberating on the most suitable result became a pivotal motivational factor (Antonakis & House, 2014). As a result, they grasped the vision as their own and focused on excellence. Also, allowing my best friend to participate in decision-making encouraged her to increase her reliability and involvement in all the affairs of the project.
Application of this theory also entails clarification of the scope of tasks and the process, key responsibilities of the followers, criteria for accomplishing the tasks successfully and provides enough psychological reward and support to complement the environment of work (Antonakis & House, 2014). While organizing the team, I specified the specific tasks that each team should perform, the amount of time they were supposed to take and convinced them of to performing those tasks excellently. I ensured that my team accessed all the information and tools they needed to perform their work as a form of psychological boost. For instance, I gave the HR the contact list early enough to give her sufficient room to plan while the two friends with computer knowledge received all the specifications before starting their work.
Leader-member exchange theory. This theory is based on the relational approach. It focuses on dyadic relationships between leaders and followers (Graen & Schiemann, 2013). It stipulates that a leader develops important exchange with followers and the quality of such relations influences the responsibility, access to resources, decision and performance of subordinates (Graen & Schiemann, 2013). These relations are fostered by respect and trust. Often, they exist as emotional relations that transcend the scope of employment (Northouse, 2014). In this project, I had close relations with all the team members. For instance, two of my cousins were involved in shopping and my best friend was the HR. These relations was quintessential in achieving the project goals because we developed trust and mutual respect. Before forming the team, I had identified the qualities the participants should have: competence, control, openness, agreeableness, positive affectivity, conscientiousness and extraversion. After tabling my expectations and establishing a close working relationship, the result was affective commitment, empowerment, job performance, turnover intentions and overall organizational commitment. I used Leader-Member Exchange Theory to identify my perception of the team members thereby assigning them tasks depending on how I perceived their ability to perform and collaborate.
The problem with this theory is that it operates on the assumption that all members of the team are worthy of trust equally (Graen & Schiemann, 2013). To overcome this challenge, I insisted on high level of accountability from each member to the entire group and HR. It was mandatory for the group to operate as a unit during decision-making, planning and working. Also, the teams were comprised of close associates, the strong social ties warranted loyalty, respect, patience, obedience and persistence thereby enabling smooth running of the project. Strong relations with my followers as demanded in Leader-Member Exchange Theory improved my emotional intelligence. Emotional Intelligence is one of the most important traits in effective leadership. It entails perceptual skills, good language skills and reasoning ability. According to Northouse (2014), emotional intelligence prompts good thinking, social interaction and improve their leadership skills. As a result, my reaction to changing environment was improved.
In conclusion, this project provided a perfect platform to practice my leadership skills. The project entailed organizing a Halloween party which coincided with my birthday. Working with four teams availed an ample opportunity practice, two leadership theories are learned, namely: Path-Goal Theory and Leader-Member Exchange Theory. Following this project, I have grown in confidence to lead people by providing directions to teams and giving direct orders to my subordinates. Before this project, I feared playing an active role in leading a group of people, but this project proved that I am able to perform the task well. Having known that leadership is entirely about influence, I always doubted my ability to influence people, especially individuals of my age group. However, this project provided enough encouragement for me to study and learn effective ways of influencing people. In other words, it stirred a desire to gain knowledge on leadership by studying books on leadership, seeking mentorship and seizing available opportunities to lead. From the beginning to the end of this project, I had come to believe that visionary leadership can yield results.