AALP Seminar 2: The Dynamics of Teamwork

Date: December 18, 2023

Author: Phyllis MacCallum, AALP Class 20

It was an early Sunday morning as I made my way from Ottawa to Sarnia for Class 20 - Seminar 2. On our first evening we were greeted by MP Marilyn Gladu, MPP Bob Bailey and MPP Trevor Jones. I was fortunate to be seated with MP Gladu for dinner where she provided insight into her career journey, some of the challenges she has faced in her time in politics and what she hopes she can teach the next generation of young leaders.

This seminar focused on GridWorks – which examines how you effectively practice critique, how you advocate your convictions, make decisions and resolve conflict. In our first seminar we were encouraged to move seats and meet our classmates. During this work, the table we sat at on Sunday was our team for the entire seminar.

The Dynamics of Teamwork highlights the importance of defining the resources available, the relationships developed and results to be achieved. It changes the focus from who is right to the objective what is right. By outlining clear objectives and goals and allowing for open and honest communication the team can achieve “synergy” which is when the quality of the team result surpasses what one individual could achieve on their own.

Additionally, the leadership grid has two parts – concern of people on the y-axis and concern for results on the x-axis both on a 1-9 scale. 1,1 no concern for people or results. 9,9 high concern for people and results. We explored the role of conflict resolution with different styles within the Leadership Grid.

The GridWorks exercises provided us the opportunity to consider different workplace situations and evaluate how we would approach them with new understanding of how our responses may affect how a teammate feels.

The most influential part of the work for me was the team critique. After just two and half days my teammates provided me with feedback on how to be a more effective leader. I truly appreciated their candor during that process as I now have individuals I can trust to hold me accountable for the goals I have set to achieve.

We changed from the meeting room to the countryside. Our site tour day was jam packed with learning. A tour of Roelands Plant Farm Inc which has 21 acres under glass was a fantastic opportunity. This company showed the importance of leadership in one segment of the market and how they brought innovation into their operation to achieve their goals.

Podolinsky Farm Equipment had a detailed discussion on automation and technology. John Deere has brought 100% tractor automation to the field. These developments have an influential part to play in the growth of the agriculture sector. In a time when labor is a chronic challenge for all areas of our sector, the ability to bring automation to the farm is critical. The intriguing thing about this current application is the tractor can also operate manually. That means those who want to drive the tractor can still go for a tour of the field if they like. The ability to switch between self-driving and driven gives producers the flexibility to run their operations as they see fit.

Once again, I’m leaving an AALP seminar with new ideas to contemplate and more skills that I can practice, making me more effective with my teams at work, home and leisure.