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Solansky (2008) on Team Leadership

In Leadership style and team processes in self-managed teams, Solansky (2008), believes that shared leadership in team-style functions are better than single-leader teams (339).  In this ethnography, which is a qualitative inquiry with a quantitative analysis of non-supervised teams formed from a single class, shows an interesting way to acquire information on formation and leadership of groups by utilizing college-aged students.  By completing the journals and questionnaires utilized for the study and linked to the subjects’ final grade, the instructor is assured of the questionnaires and journals from students who care about their grades.

Explain shared leadership and self-managed teams.

Shared leadership “have no formal leader designated by the authority that creates team” (333).  Teams are allowed to select their own leader(s).  Despite a history of the contrary, recent studies reflect that shared leadership is a preferred format.

The author could demonstrate five studies that agreed, team members with shared leadership tend to develop a stronger sense of collective efficacy, experience less conflict, and have a greater understanding of the team’s transactive memory.  (See below for definitions)

How are these different from a team with one designated leader?

Single-leader teams can experience all the above, but that kind of superiority is rare in team leadership.  Because you would have only one leader, who may have to oversee a number of individuals, and unable to express salient information to each team member in the same fashion that multiple leaders could, which would lead to lower the collective efficacy, higher conflict and lower transactive memory.  It could be that the single leader would not always be the “go to” person, and thus team members may not know who to “go to,” thus slowing down the team’s ability to complete the project in the time given.

What is the role that motivation plays in the success or failure of teams?

Motivation within a workplace or school room is the term that refers to the worker/student desiring to succeed.  Efficacy is a term that relates to the student or workers believe in what they want, and have the ability to, perform the assigned task.

Collective efficacy “reflects team members’ confidence that the team can perform well” (334).  The more team members feel collective efficacy, the more motivated they are, and the more likely that the project will be completed.

What are some of the advantages of shared leadership over single leadership as described in this article?

The study mentions, although the study did not “demonstrate conventional levels of significance,” the data suggests less conflict and greater transactive memory.  This means that a team with more than one leader has advantages over single leadership teams.

When there are multiple team leaders, there is more “coordination and cooperation” (334).

Conflict – leaders strive to limit conflict by “building team cohesion and identity” (334).  The more leaders, the less each leader is required to do, thus there are more head and hands to get the teams’ task completed.

Transactive memory – a “critical cognitive component of team process” (335), because it shares the metaknowledge of the team the “special knowledge or expertise of others on the team possess” (335) thus understanding who does what the best, and this is the one to approach for certain phases of the team project, which is what gets a project completed.



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