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Making the Team

We are constantly faced with adversities every day, and the choices that we make impact significantly on our success or failure when tackling such adversities. Leadership is of prime significance in organizations and projects. There are numerous leadership styles depending on the prevailing situation. Knowing the exact leadership style to utilize during a project plan will determine the success or failure of the mission.

Ms. Sarah Baker is faced with a dilemma of immense magnitude. She is split between allowing rescue missions to be conducted from her city and consequently disrupt a lot of activity, or deny access to her city's resources in fighting a severe fire. The oncoming fire is a disaster that requires being curbed as quickly as probable. This can only be done by setting up a tent city in Smallville and conducting all rescue and control operations from there. The tent city would provide multiple databases, geographic information systems, and mapping expertise. These resources are vital to medical staff, rescuers, firemen, and clean up crews. Sarah's willingness to support the immense crisis response fire repression command and control center demands the skills of a leadership style that suits the burden of such a project. Some of the factors to consider include availability of time, type of tasks to be handled, skills involved in the project and stress levels.

The team at the tent city is faced with a communication problem. This is attested to by the fact that they learn most of the instructions by their seniors from the media. Irrespective of the size or scope of an organization or project, effective communication is necessary. In order to be effective, teams must not only receive and transmit information from other team members effectively; they must also have a common understanding of what the information means.

In a perfect communication system, a sender transmits a message that is actually received by the receiver. People in a team send short, indirect messages to each other. This is because they believe they can capitalize on an existing shared knowledge base. Such messages are subject to distortion and misinterpretation. Both senders and recipients distort information depending on what they want to hear. One way to ensure effective communication among team members is to appoint an experienced information manager. The information manager's key roles are focusing the team's attention, facilitating communication, stimulating member's contribution and ensure critical information is shared.

The project teams might also face an intellectual bandwidth problem. This refers to a limit on the ability of teams to solve problems and achieve their goals. In order to face the impending challenge, teams must search for knowledge, share it and use it to fulfill their objectives.

Ms. Baker faces a problem of choosing the type of managerial technique to use. Some of the managerial techniques are; participatory, visionary, contingent, charismatic, servant, transformational, and transactional. She is anxious that if she hands this duty to the Public Works people, it would not be remarkably effective. In the process of leading this operation, Ms. Baker has to negotiate, supervise, guide, encourage, and manage thousands of rescue workers and volunteers. She has to come to a decision on her strategy towards this operation for it to be a success.  

Pooling and sharing information among the rescue teams is vital for success. A common though wasteful practice, in projects, is restating obvious information. This is also referred to as the common information effect. This explains a case where unique information does not emerge in team interaction; but rather, teams tend to discuss what they already know.

In conclusion, Ms. Baker's decision on whether to allow the rescue the operations to be conducted from her city depends on numerous factors. If she agrees to take up the challenge, she must consider the most suitable management style and implement it fully.