Communication is, without a doubt, the most important tool a leader has at his/her disposal. Conley states an interesting point in his post when he mentions technology has made communication much easier and more accessible, yet with that facilitation, the quality of communication by leaders has suffered immensely in recent times. These 6 conversations that Conley discusses provide a baseline for leaders that can counteract this suffering and improve relationships between leaders and those he or she leads. The conversations I see as most important in Conley’s discussion is the first he mentions, the alignment conversations. Alignment conversations are crucial because they should be the first communication a leader has when starting a new project or task. An effective alignment conversation can actually eliminate the need for some of the other types Conley discusses because leaders can outline their specific goals and priorities and explain how to achieve them using the SMART goal setting process. Conley makes this even more achievable with his reorganization of SMART goals. Drilled into my head since the beginning of high school, SMART goals never really applied to me because there weren’t many opportunities presented to me to apply them. Now that I am required to work in groups, through school projects, organizations, or within NGLP, I see the necessity of establishing clear expectations for those I work with. Reorganizing SMART into STRAM allows this to happen easier. Starting with specific and trackable goals, leaders can outline exactly what they need from team members and set those necessary expectations immediately. Once this has been done, open communication between leaders and other individuals will ensure the goals are relevant and attainable, thus motivating the individual.
In my Foundations of Business group project, I did not do this. Working with many of my friends, I assumed they had the same aspirations as I did in terms of the quality of work we would be producing. As the designated leader of this group, I never explicitly my outlined my expectations for the group members based on this assumption. It became clear very quickly that my assumption was wrong. Without giving clear direction to my group, They dumped the majority of the tasks and responsibilities the group was designed to handle onto me. Beyond that, when I did allocate other tasks, I did not specify the quality of work I was looking for, and the deliverables they turned into me were very rough, to say the least. This resulted in countless hours redoing their work and creating a final product I was ultimately satisfied with. While the end result was not a complete disaster, there are ways I could have avoided the stress that was placed on me. With the opportunity to retry that situation, the first thing I would have done with my group is have a meeting to discuss what each member wanted to get out of the project, and agree on the level of work we would put into it. With this in mind, I could have delegated specific tasks based on expectations and my group members’ strengths and provided ways for them to check in with me to review their progress. Should the need arise, I could then use the goals set by the group to motivate each member if they fall short of the expectations, creating a sense of accountability amongst my team.