Defining the Value of New-Economy Leadership

Author: Maidment, Shaun
Supervisor: Professor. Dr. Andre Watkins
Date: September 2006

Quick fix’ recruitment of project or programme managers may lead to tension within a company. Such tension can destroy both the success of individual projects and, indeed, entire organisational cultures. According to Kaplan & Norton (2001), leadership is the art of balancing the tension between stability and change. It is imperative that organisations apply suitable principles to build and sustain leadership-orientated project management.

These principles must include dynamic and aggressive recruitment strategies which will appeal to individuals who understand the value they add to organisations. When administrative skills are needed, employees offering such skills should be recruited; when the situation calls for strong leadership skills, people with these skills should be utilized. There should be no compromise and only win/win solutions sought.

Building high performance project teams can be an expensive and exhausting exercise when it is done correctly.  However, the confusion which is often the result of haphazard selection of team members is to be avoided at all costs.  Often walking away from a deal is preferable to settling for a near match. Allowing too great a focus on administration may result in a stable but bureaucratically-managed project team.  This, in turn, can lead to a lack of creativity and the associated mediocre performance. The research conducted in this study shows how bureaucracy within modern day organisations is at a dangerously high level.

Communication taking place among stakeholders is, more often than not, of a formal nature, allowing for the parties to CYO (Cover Your Options). This is indicative of the lack of trust existing between project managers and stakeholders. Of greater concern is the fact that this same pattern emerges between project managers and their team members, indicating an underlying culture of mistrust. The creation of a bureaucratic environment in an attempt to allay mistrust merely leads to greater suspicion and lack of confidence.

Instead of managing project teams, leading, through clearly defined project visions, will help to change the bureaucratic cultures emerging within modern organisations. Leadership-centred project management can positively influence an organisation’s human capital in order to achieve strategic implementations in shorter periods of time with sustainable results.