I am very excited to have joined my first (virtual) book club! My good friends from college are now spread across the country and we thought that this may be a good way to connect more often. Our first book is "The Gifts of Imperfection" by Brene Brown and I have just started to dive into it. Lately I have noticed that as much as I try to read books that are not school/work related they always seem to connect in some way (I am hoping this is a sign that I am on the right track!). Brown offers some very interesting insights into the idea of accountability, a topic that I have been reflecting on quite a bit lately... Most of the projects we work on in the graduate program at MiD are done with 2 or more people. This collaborative structure makes complete sense since the majority of the professional world consists of partnerships, teams, etc.–rarely are you able to survive solo. With group work, comes group dynamics and almost always I find myself pondering the discrepancies in how team members are able to hold themselves accountable to the work group.

To some extent, I feel like pointing fingers at the education system, who has created such a strong dependency on the teacher figure. Students passively wait for the teacher to tell them what to do–most of the time expecting a breakdown of the steps and deadlines to complete a project. I understand this is necessary in primary and some of secondary school as one learns better time management, project management and the methods to successfully complete a project; however, by undergrad and especially at the graduate level, one should be able to manage the pieces of a project without much guidance.

While reading this book, Brown's comments have forced me to consider the flip side of this argument. It may be at the fault of the team leader as well, because as Brown suggest: "when we [the leader] fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated," and in turn, come to resent and blame team members for what they are not contributing. Brown offers: "If we are going to practice acceptance and compassion, we need to set boundaries and accountability." The leader must set the boundaries (out loud–something I struggle with) and create real, impactful consequences for the team members who do not contribute.

I look forward to diving deeper into this book and hope to put some of Brown's suggestions into action this semester!