Situational Leadership

The fundamental principle of the situational leadership model is that there is no single “best” style of leadership. Project teams or project stakeholders belong to various experience levels and attitudes. Hence, there is no single style managers and leaders can adopt that will be effective across team members. These models helps to tailor one’s leadership style to cater to the needs of the individuals and teams.

One cannot have a one for all kind of leadership style for all team members in the team as they fall on to the various levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Based on their capability and maturity the leader has to change his leadership style. The basic principle of situational leadership is this. Based on the maturity level and the capability of the team members, the leader resorts to any one of the following styles of;

  • Telling or Directing
  • Selling or Coaching
  • Participating or Supporting
  • Delegating

This is a model created by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard.

Situational Leadership emerged as one of a related group of two-factor theories of leadership.

These theories are based on two main variables of task and relationship.

Effective leadership is task-relevant, and the most successful leaders are those who adapt their leadership style. They adapt their leadership style to the performance readiness (ability and willingness) of the individual or group they are attempting to lead or influence.

Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership II measures project team member development using competence and commitment as two parameters.

Ken Blanchard's situational leadership model Explained
Ken Blanchard’s situational leadership

Ethics & Career Success

Adherence to the Professional ethics for project managers is a question of short term success Vs long term success in the project management profession.

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Joanne Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, Major Fraud Investigations Division, announced that ROBERT GIULIETTI, 55, a resident of Cheshire and an employee of the U.S. Postal Service, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering. In association with today’s arrest, the government also executed seizure warrants on three bank accounts controlled by GIULIETTI and seized $630,731.40 in proceeds allegedly involved in the commission of those offenses.

Three senior bureaucrats have been arrested in Assam on corruption charges. Two of the arrests were made by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), officials said in Guwahati on Thursday. “There were lots of irregularities in road construction works carried out by the NBCC in Guwahati and we hope the CBI investigations would be able to unravel the scam and help in punishing the guilty,” said Robin Bordoloi, ruling Congress party legislator representing Guwahati. CBI officials said they have got more leads into the scam and could possibly arrest a few more people.

Asem Elgawhary, the former principal vice president of Bechtel Corporation and general manager of the Power Generation Engineering and Services Company (PGESCo), was indicted by a grand jury in Maryland on charges that he defrauded his former employers, laundered the proceeds of the fraudulent scheme and violated federal tax laws.

In Jharkhand, Prashant Kumar Bajpai, General Manager of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), Barka Sayal, Ramgarh project located in Patratu block of Ramgarh district and his Personal Assistant Aparna Sengupta were arrested by CBI team late last night for seeking bribe of Rupees Twenty Six thousand for sanctioning of tender for construction of roads.

The Serious Fraud Office has brought charges against GPT Special Project Management Ltd and three individuals in connection with its investigation into allegations concerning the conduct of GPT’s business in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. GPT, Jeffrey Cook, former Managing Director of GPT, and John Mason, the financial officer and part owner of the foreign-registered companies Simec and Duranton, subcontractors to GPT, have been charged with corruption between January 2007 and December 2012 in relation to contracts awarded to GPT in respect of work carried out for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.  Jeffrey Cook has also been charged with misconduct in public office between September 2004 and November 2008 in relation to commission paid to him on contracts he placed with ME Consultants Ltd for the Ministry of Defence by which he was employed.  Terence Dorothy has been charged with aiding and abetting that offence.

These are the first few cases surfaced out of about 6,28,00,000 results (0.59 seconds) while googling for ‘Project managers who got arrested for corruption’. That shows that corruption is rampant in projects and the key question is whether one should be a corrupt project manager or not. Like hatred cannot be resolved by hatred, corruption can be overcome only by honesty, ethics and professionalism. That is where the significance of professional ethics for project managers become very relevant for project managers to succeed in the longer run.

Related posts

Professional Ethics of Project Managers

Mind map of Professional Ethics of Project Managers

Areas to apply agile within EPC Projects

The overall duration of the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) intensive projects can be reduced / controlled considerably by the application of agile best practices during the following phase / activities;

Pre-project phase

  • Assigning a task force to conduct preliminary studies
  • Studying the users requirements
  • Defining the technical specifications
  • Studying how to secure funds
  • Estimation of the project cost and duration (budgetary)
  • Approval of the project cost
  • Determining the technical specification of the materials
  • Studying the impact of the project on safety and health
  • Establishing criteria for the selection of project location
  • Establishment of milestones
  • Describing the responsibilities and authority of the parties involved
  • Establishment of a change control process
  • Establishment of design criteria for structural specifications
  • Conducting a feasibility study of the proposed project
  • Site preparation / readiness
    • Getting all the clearances required
    • Establishing the construction areas and path of construction

Site preparation

  • Land acquisition
  • Re-rehabilitation
  • Getting all the clearances required
  • Ensuring site readiness

Project phase

  • Basic design phase
    • Documentation for tendering and contracting
    • Specifications for procuring equipment
    • Regular design and specification review meetings
  • Detailed design phase
    • Qualifying of design professionals
    • Performing technical and financial analysis of offers from competing contractors
    • Selecting the design team
    • Providing inputs to design on time
    • Monitoring and controlling the design progress
    • Updating design documents
    • Reviewing design documents
    • Ensuing design quality and adherence to technical standards
  • Tendering
    • Preparing the specifications and agreement conditions
    • Preparing bill of quantities (BOQ) and estimating the contract value
    • Issuing tender documents
    • Holding tender briefing meetings
    • Receiving bids and evaluating them
    • Recommendations are made for the successful contractor
    • Awarding of the contract
  • Execution or construction phase
  • If detailed designs are not provided as part of the tender document, the contractor proceeds with the detailed design and drawings and follows it up with construction
  • Regular progress monitoring

Closure or completion phase

  • Snag lists
  • Punch lists
  • Completion certificate

As we can see, these are the areas where multi disciplinary communication and coordination is required maximum. The biggest culprit for delay in most of the infrastructure projects is in getting clearances. By bringing in agile project management (APM) best practices to these areas of projects, the overall delay of the projects can be controlled effectively.

Lead the change your product is intended to make

You have a brilliant product idea, and you want to go ahead very fast with the product idea, and unfortunately things are not moving as planned. After some time, you are tired, and almost drops the idea. A few years later suddenly you come across a very successful product in the market, similar to the one you conceived years before and dropped half way through. This is a very common shared experience by many first time product owners.

After all, every innovative product is intended to shake the world in a gentle way. It is about changing the lives of many in a gentle way. The internet did it. iPhone did it with the touch screen. The android phone did it in a subtly different way. The covid vaccines are doing it, the medical equipment and the building material segment is doing it…the automotive industry is a veteran in this. ..every successful product changes the way we do things in a subtly better innovative way. More than just product development, what really matters is the long term strategy to manage the change the product is intended to deliver to it’s end users.

Eight steps to manage the change promised by the product of your project

  1. Sense of Urgency – The first and foremost ingredient to change management is creating the sense of urgency. When we are working for others, we are always pressurized by others deadlines. But when you own the product, the risk of complacency is very high. During the initial phases of the product, your investment in the product is low. Your only potential loss is the opportunity cost (opportunity lost if the product fails to take off) which is a futuristic cash flow. You do not feel a crisis at this stage and the ‘sense of urgency’ can take a back seat. This is really risky phase. Consistent ‘sense of urgency’ is one good quality I have observed in every successful product owner / entrepreneur.
  2. Creating the guiding coalition – To see the envisaged change by the product of your project impacting the world positively, one has to create a great coalition who resonates the same excitement and sense of urgency you have about the product. This coalition include technical experts, financial experts, marketing gurus, quality assurance, sales, investors…they are all external entities and getting them as excited as you are in the project starts with the right selection of these partners and getting them work together as a team.
  3. Developing a vision & Strategy – For many reasons, for many the vision and strategy documents are something to decorate the office. Many management books describes vision as something that motivates you to get up everyday and work. The best definition of ‘Vision’ that excites me most is the one by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the late president of India. It goes like this…’Vision is something that wont let you to sleep, till accomplished’. Having an exciting vision and a strategy to support it makes all the partners / stakeholders work together as a cohesive unit.
  4. Communicating the change vision – Nobody lights a lamp and keeps it under the cot, instead it is placed on the lamp stand so that others can see the light. This is true with the change visions as well.
  5. Empowering broad based action – Removing impediments, getting rid of obstacles, encouraging risk taking and innovation.
  6. Generating short term wins – Releasing the minimum viable product (MVP), as fast as possible to the early adopters and then moving fast to address the other segments.
  7. Consolidating gains and producing more change – Incorporating change at a rapid pace to incorporate the feedback and the lessons from the market.
  8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture – After the early successes, profitable cash flows, successful partnerships it is time to consolidate, refine and institutionalize so that you can move on to more exciting products and changes that can impact the world in a better, bigger way.

Every project has a product or service as a primary deliverable. These products and services brings in changes the way people do things. Developing a product with the technical team is easier when compared to sell and manage the change the product offers. While developing the product calls for management skills, managing the change need leadership skills. Behind every successful product, there is a successful product owner who plays the leaders role.

Reference – Leading change – John P Kotter