I can’t reveal exactly what happened in my PIM class (Psychological Issues in Management) but this is what I’ve learnt, personally:
1) The person who’s designated as leader may not really be the best leader. On the other hand, other people can step up to the role pretty well.
2) A good leader doesn’t do all the talking but gives his team the chance to speak up. Initially I had a personal bias which made me think that that loud, outspoken and smart people would make great leaders as they were good at getting people’s attention and so the team would all rally together. However, in a team more people are trying to have their opinions heard, too, and if we feel we aren’t heard then we stop contributing.
3) A good leader doesn’t have to bang his fist on the table or do anything else spectacular (that didn’t happen, just figurative speech). His gestures can instead be subtle but everything he does is for the team’s benefit.
4) A good leader makes all the difference to whether a team succeeds or not. Obvious, but when you see it literally happening with your own eyes you will appreciate it more.
5) Being a good leader is hard. The team I thought had a great leader, lost out to another team that ‘stole’ the project for themselves. This happens in real life, when everything’s done well but jealousy sets in, and the other team wins at politics. So a good leader has to protect his team from external factors and not just focus on internal operations. I think I’ve seen that happen at least once, in my own work experience.
6) There can only be one leader in the team. Too many cooks spoil the broth; too many leaders spoil the team.