Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CEDO 565 Week 4: Teamwork & Change

This whole leadership thing is so hard to talk about in relation to my present employ. If you've picked up on anything I've talked about over the last year and a half you should have some idea. Rather, I'll talk about two contrasting change events that I wrote about for our Analysis of Change and Planning for Change assignment.

In both instances, I was in a leadership role, but of differing capacities and level of power. Both took place at a private English Language school in Taiwan.

Planning for Change:
Description: The addition of over 1000 new lesson plans and activities for 11 levels of English conversation classes for ESL teachers and students at Taiwan’s largest adult private English Language School (16 locations). I was the technical and writer’s team supervisor.

This project was headed by my best friend of many years and colleague. His ideas, decisions and leadership were well respected by our boss and he was/is an effective leader. This project was his idea and he pretty much had free reign with it after approval by our boss, the company president.

Because my friend was a good planner and leader, this project was very successful. Working together as a team on this we all collaborated, discussed, modified and helped each other. Decisions were a group effort because our experience and input were valued and respected.

In the end, our schools got a lot of new material as well as awareness and training. Teachers and students at these schools are most likely still using some of these materials.

Analysis of Change:
Description: Planning, Development, Preparation and (near) Implementation of a Blended ESL program at the same English Language School in Taiwan. I was director of the program.

This project began almost immediately after the above project was ending. I gathered many of the same team members together to work on this project. Our work as a team followed the same general course as the previous project. I learned from my friend how to make these things work.

The difference was that the curriculum project was headed by an effective leader whereas this blended learning project was ultimately headed by our boss, the company president. Similar to my present situation, he micro-managed many aspects of the project. He also was ill informed about technical and pedagogical issues related to the project. He often refused to listen to and accept sound advice but rather acted unilaterally according to his whims.

The president's method of leading and managing the project delayed, postponed and ultimately resulted in the program never taking off, wasting a lot of time, effort and money.


I'm glad that I have had the opportunity to work on, with and lead successful teams. It makes me frustrated now where I am powerless to lead more effectively because of the context of leadership higher up. A positive result of working with ineffective leaders is that you know what not to do.

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