Leadership in Architecture: Teamwork, Collaboration, and Relational Skills

Salvador, Annette
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The study of leadership in architecture hinges on three emergent leadership concepts: teamwork, collaboration, and relational skills. Within all organizations and social systems, and throughout all walks of life, effective teams are the key setting in which things get done. By the nature of the profession, architects work in teams in creative collaboration with other design professionals, engineering disciplines, specialty consultants, construction trades, owners, developers, and many others. The need for knowledge of collaborative and relational skills in bringing value to being part of a team is more important than ever. Learning basic leadership skills early in architecture is necessary for productive teamwork, team collaboration, and managing relationships; and it can provide a core building block for a student’s future personal and professional development. The purpose of this qualitative inquiry encompasses an exploration and record of lived experiences to learn leadership in architecture in scholarly and practical environments. The study discusses leadership opportunities in a learning environment and describes the emergent leadership concepts, the participants’ engaged reactions, and leadership lessons learned. The basic research question is: Are there learning opportunities for architecture students to experience and develop the emergent concepts of teamwork, collaboration, and relational skills? Research findings are built upon the lived experiences of the active participant researcher, field notes and observations, and a review of selected literature. The findings affirm that scholarly and practical learning experiences in architecture are about teamwork, collaboration, and relational skills, and in turn, emerge as leadership experiences. These findings also indicate that there are personal descriptors, academic interventions, and leadership involvements that can significantly contribute to the leadership development of architecture students. This study developed an awareness and understanding of the value to begin learning leadership early in architecture school. This study also provided encouragement to propose a professional practice course with a focus on leadership at the University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa, School of Architecture.
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