It can be traced back to ancient time. Lots of examples show the meanings of adhering such as people becoming kings, scientists, generals and other leading roles in different fields. However there are still not precise definitions accepted universally. As Ago (1982) defined, the leadership was the use of non-coercive influence to direct the activities of the members of an organized group toward the accomplishment of group objectives.
Highs (2003) identified six main schools of leadership such as trait, behavior, contingency, visionary, emotional intelligence, and competency. In other words, he thinks the combination of skills, knowledge and personal characteristics making people to become a leader. . Definition of leadership and project leadership There are various models and theories try to define meanings of leadership, but recent years the study tends to relate to leadership as a subset of management.
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With the economic change and organizational development, the importance of leadership is becoming imperative in this increasingly competitive and complex environment. For example, the decision-making and problem-solving processes by CEO in an organization definitely influence capitalization and earning performance. Leadership is then clearly associated with the change and complexity in the business and organizational environment. In a project’s scope, a project costs, time, quality and communications are directly related to leadership.
It can be seen lots of similarities between the leadership in a company and within a project team, such as the guidance in operation and strategic directions, and the need of motivations which contribute to the effective and efficient utilization of resources. However, the project leadership has additional challenges, which includes providing leadership in the cross-functional and cross-organizational environment; to operate the team without documented formal authority over the am members (Iceland, 1995). Due to those challenges, the project leadership becomes more difficulty.
On the other hand, the challenges cause impacts to the efficiency of project management. Project leadership is defined as a process that people choose to follow for accomplishing project results (Gearing, 2007). Traditionally, project leader is the person who manages the project on a day-to-day basis (Brinier et al. 1996) and has the achievement orientation by noting that “Effective leaders are task driven, they understand that their number-one priority is to complete the project” (Gearing, 2007). Therefore, the leadership is pivotal factor to a project success.
Turner (1999) had identified seven traits of effective project leaders. Gray and Larson (2008) has reviewed the list of skills and attributes associated with being an effective manager, they got eight traits such as: “systems thinker, personal integrity, proactive, high emotional intelligence, general business perspective, effective time management, skilful politician and optimist”. There are also several key issues that the project leader should be concerned. First is the communication with the project stakeholders.
Secondly, a project leader needs to work with the project team and identify the resources. Thirdly, the conceptualization and designation of the project’s organizational design should align with the people and the resources. Lastly, project leader should get support from the stakeholders (Iceland, 1995). As projects set their own specific framework for leadership, “project leadership is defined as a presence and a process carried out within an organizational role that assumes responsibility for the needs and rights of those people who choose to follow the leader in accomplishing the project results”.
Iceland, 1995) There is usually a high demand requirement in a limited amount of time, money and other resources. Therefore, the leader has to change roles to adjust the project needs. Also, project leaders may need both task and relationships oriented leadership styles during different phases of the project to ensure order in the often chaotic situation of time and financial pressure, and simultaneous tasks. 3. Project Management Best Practice There are numbers of factors that may cause success or failure of a project.
According to Leslie and Sings (2007), there are six key areas of perspectives guarding the constituents of best practices in leadership development: “a thorough needs assessment, the selection of a suitable audience, the design of an appropriate infrastructure to support the initiative, the design and implementation of an entire learning system, an evaluation system, and corresponding actions to reward success and improve on deficiencies”. In other words, the key project tools for success were project scheduling, budgeting, and execution planning.
The leader need to recognize that it is absolutely essential to build a project team, reinforce positive behavior, enunciate, demonstrate trust and respect, develop team members and empower them to perform and set goals while remaining flexible to respond to the inevitable changes. (Simmered and Yak’s, 1998) Pinto et al. (1999) point out that in project management literature, projects failure is usually not on technical merit, but on matters related to people.
As a competitive advantage, organizations need strong leadership by requiring critical leadership competencies for individual. The leader must be “achievement orientation, concern for order, initiative, information seeking, interpersonal understanding, impact and influence, organizational awareness, teamwork and cooperation, team leadership, analytical thinking, conceptual thinking, flexibility, and organizational commitment”. (Gearing, 2007) For example, IBM measures success based on the extent that leadership-development activities could be linked to business results. Guthrie, 1998) Effective project manager leadership is a pivotal element on project success. Strategic human resource management perspective views people as an important source of sustainable competitive advantage that should be factored into organizational strategies. Therefore leadership development is one of the most important people-related organizational interventions, and from the fore going, it is imperative that it is strategically oriented.
Identifying and developing the best people for key leadership roles is basic to future organizational success. Best-practice organizations provide a clear link between succession plans and leadership development (Barbara, 2005). To develop and maintain strong leadership and to ensure that they address all the competencies required for today’s and tomorrows work environment. 4. Leadership in practice (case-study) Today’s complex project environments require even greater skills at leadership than ever before.
Performance expectations pay more attention on quality, cost effectiveness, timely delivery, and a host of other client measures. (Simmered and Yak’s, 1998) The events industry also highly recognizes the importance of leadership implication in project management. For example, the British Science Festival is an annual event. In 2009 it held at University of Surrey (British Science Festival, 2009). Project leader took important roles in this case.
To hold a successful festival, the deader must demonstrate skills in defining the aim, objectives and scope of the festival, developing a comprehensive project plan, Justifying the location and content, determining the market promotion methods, negotiating with contractor, vendors and sponsors, budgeting expenditures and incoming, motivating project team member for seeking the creative and efficient working ways of delivering the festival, mitigating the risk of safety incident, environment pollution and security incident during the period of the festival and managing the risk of financial deficiency as well as dealing with unexpected emergence. For example, due to a lecturer’s absent, one of the lectures had to been cancelled. As a leader, he/she must deal with visitors’ complain and have option plans to arrange activities for attendees. The following example is explaining the leadership role in organization.
Alexander Macaque-a British fashion name which was found by the famous designer, is a brand of Gucci Group. Undoubtedly, Macaque was the leader of the brand. Unfortunately, on 1 lath February, 2010, the British fashion icon chose to end his life. At that time, the forthcoming show was scheduled on March 9 in Paris. The company need to make decision. As In fashion world, leadership is extremely important to the business success. And organizations need appropriate structures and culture, and a strategic plan to implement leadership programs to prepare for future challenges. (Fuller, 1997) For the brand’s future, they faced difficulties in filling leadership vacancies with qualified candidates.
Also, it will be a critical time to examine the leader’s role and behavior in the change process. In this case, the change is perceived as complex and emergent, leaders must be brought to a transformational edge so that they can work differently and efficiently. It is also argued that the trader’s role becomes more important in terms of making Judgment relating to the future of an organization. Within a global context it is asserted that the leader’s role is more to act as an enable articulating strategy and organization. Pompadour-Meet, the branch of Paris Pompadour centre, “was meant to open three years ago, but such experimental architecture rarely goes exactly to plan. (Guardian, 2010)The design contest was won by a team comprising Gushier Ban (Tokyo), Jean De Gaieties (Paris) and Philip Jaundicing (London). In this project, the leadership is not only decision-making but also relationship-oriented approaches. A strong personal relationship to improve communication and transfer of technology is very important to the multicultural project. It presents far more demands on leadership than conventional leadership situations. (M??kilo, 2004) Despite the limited time constraint that certainly challenges project leaders, leaders have a key role to play in developing team characteristics into a collective set of virtues including ethics, respect and trust in others, honesty, courage, prudence, and the responsible use and sharing of power.
The perception of foreign culture and team members may be guided by schemas, in- ND out-group setting, or by projected similarity. The leadership should then be based on these similarities, attempts to manage international diversity, social responsibility of the employees, internal negotiation (participation in decision making), general orientation for people (rather than task orientation), and attempts to manage between extremes to find a consensus in the multicultural environment. Design of construction project is a collective effort involving a team of specialists from different organizations. The leadership of the design team leader could affect the productivity of the design team and therefore the project success.
For example, the Mercury Design Consultant Company based on London major provides service for high-end interior design, it always need strong leadership to cope with every single project they undertake. In external view, the company need to cooperate with architects for demolish and new construction; they need to talk with mechanical team about plumbing, electrical and HAVE system installation; when construction is implementing, they need to contact with suppliers, construction workers to make sure their projects are on-time and within budgets. For the internal environment, it requires a close co-ordination between the design team members. More importantly, since the works faced by the design team are unstructured, highly uncertain and full of crises, an effective team work is indispensable. Chemung, Nag, Lam and You, 2001) When the design team members are dissatisfied with the leadership, it can cause lots of negative behaviors such as loosing the enthusiasm on their work; keeping silence on any critical decision; responding slowly or disregarding the request; becoming uncooperative with leaders and other members; performing with substandard laity and refusing to attend project meetings. Those things will affect the overall productivity of the design team. The fragmented design task calls for effective leadership. The leaders should make every endeavourer to set a good example in team working to the other members and provide team members with more opportunities to participate throughout the design process. 5. Conclusion The increasing global competition and ever higher client expectations place greater emphasis on the needs and demands of strong leadership to successful project teams.