It also indicated the different types of outputs generated by the leadership styles and further insight into the best approach for a virtual team leadership; being transformational leadership. Source 2: Kowalski, S. W. J 2006, Enhancing the effectiveness of work groups and teams, Michigan State University, East Lansing This source provides a detailed overview of the effectiveness of good leadership.
Substantial research is provided into different leadership styles and approaches that have been utilized in the past and the constant iterative process that is required to ensure competent leadership is achieved in the future. Kowalski highlights the importance of leadership and the effect that poor leadership can have on achieving team effectiveness and successful teams. The source provided ell rounded coverage of the requirement for leadership and the significance that good leadership plays in team roles.
As I have relatively limited experience it was chosen as a good source to capture the context of effective leadership and how it is used in managing teams. Source 3: Lee-Kelly, L & Long, K. L 2002, Turner’s five-functions of project-based management and situational leadership in IT services projects, Surrey European Management School, University of Surrey, Guilford This paper provides investigation information on critical elements of managing projects using a model known as ‘Turners five function model’.
It examines relationships between project definition and scope, organization, and the triangle of critical project outcomes. It also illustrates if the project leader’s orientation is related to situational perception of control. The research highlights the importance of personal attributes and with the use of Turner’s model it has outlined the reasoning for, and advantages of a theory based structure when adopting the situational leadership style. Source 4: Mead, G 2002, ‘Developing ourselves as police leaders: How can we inquire collaboratively in a hierarchical organization? , Systematic practice and research, Platinum Publishing Corporation, United Kingdom This source shows evidence of a research project undertaken to analyses how inquiries were undertaken, the interaction between different levels of managers and essentially to improve leadership practices in the police force. Six phases of a typical inquiry were identified which were analyses and special attention was given to politics and practicalities of undertaking inquiries in an overtly hierarchical organization.
The findings show that inquiries must be crafted to the particular circumstances and context to provide the best results. The source as highly relevant to Reflective Paper 3 as it discusses the differences and constraints that are associated with interaction of different levels of management and the leadership styles that are required. IT provided the background to how and why strategic decisions made by top level managers differed from the task orientated decisions made by front line managers. Source 5: Paranoia, R. K & Bono, J.
E 2009, Transformational leadership in context: Face- to-face and virtual teams, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, United States An experiment based resource which examines transformational leadership sing face-to-face communication and virtual teams. Analyses indicated that the most effective leaders were those who increased their transformational leadership in virtual teams. Team-member ratings suggest that transformational leadership has a stronger effect in teams that use only computer-based communication, and leaders who increase their transformational leadership achieve higher levels of team performance.
This source was of particular use as I had limited information on transformational leadership and it applied the theory to both virtual and face-to-face teams. The information provided gave me an understanding as to why transformational leadership is vital when interaction between group members is limited and high levels of trust in team members is required. 1. Reflective Paper 1: The Incident Bonnie Rock Transport (BRB) are a company who provide logistics services to multiple offshore oil and gas facilities in the Pillars region of Western Australia.
Due to the exponential growth in the oil and gas industry BRB require a new distribution yard to fulfill and maintain their clients’ requirements and strong business relationship. With minimal experience in the civil/construction industry, BRB have engaged Gunter Civil (to which I am the director of) to design and construct the distribution yard. This reflective paper has been prepared at a time in the project lifestyle where the civil works are at approximately 50% completion and several issues are arising which has already, or have the possibility to, jeopardize the success of the project.
The main issues that have already been highlighted include the lack of project scope and no existence of contractual documentation outlining the requirements for the project. A phone conversation between me and Jim Currie (director of BRB) included vague directions such s: “If you can just get someone up there to start clearing the land as soon as possible, we will look at the next step when we both get up to Karat…… Just send me an email with your rates and we’ll go from there…. Dixie (a friend of Jim) told me about your capabilities and if he’s happy with your work, I’m happy….
I look forward to meeting you mate…. Any issues just give us a buzz”. I had some hesitations in doing business this way with a new client; however “Dixie”, a mutual friend and client, mentioned “Jim is a good old bloke, true to his word. Just get someone up there to clear the land. As soon as he sees some action, everyone will be happy”‘. To keep the new client satisfied, I embroiled to site and commenced clearing. My operators dealt with BRB site based manager, Jamie, who seems to have no idea of what is happening with the new yard and has created a lot of confusion and frustration as to what is required.
A meeting has been arranged between myself and Jim to discuss a plan for the project to ensure it is completed successfully and all issues are addressed. Reflections After analyzing the abovementioned statements it is evident, in hindsight, that wouldn’t have commenced work without preparing formal documentation outlining the scope of works, rates and clarifications/qualifications. This is a process am normally accustomed to, as prior to being the managing director for Gunter Civil, I was a Project Manager for Leighton Contractors, and I am also in the final stages of a Masters Degree in project management.
At the time was anxious for the new work as other projects were coming to an end, the project would provide work for staff up to Christmas and it was an opening into the oil and gas market. From a management perspective (and knowing hat I was exposed to risk without this documentation in place) I assessed that the positive gains would outweigh the risks associated to the lack of formal paperwork and as discussed in (Mentoring 1989) “managers seem to cherish ‘soft’ information……. Why?
The reason is its timeliness”, the information provided by trusted stakeholders provided insight that BRB were a company that “paid their bills”. The leadership style that is evident within the team at BRB is that of an ‘autocratic’ nature. Jim shows to direct what he wants done and how it is to be accomplished as discussed in (McGregor 1960) as a “my way or he highway” approach. This type of leadership may be in place as works are throughout Australia with a head office in Perth where Jim is stationed.
Due to the remote work and related resource issues, there is minimal room for error and contingency whereby, several potential issues may arise or the work may not get done on time if a more democratic or laissez-fare style was implemented. It may also be due to the nature of the BRB workforce. Typically BRB employ and utilize truck drivers and laborers to conduct work. Typically these people have minimal managerial skills and require a plan to abide by.
The manager positioned at the new yard fulfils a leadership role close to that discussed in the transactional theory whereby the transactional leader is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team’s performance’ (Burns 1978). The contracting industry (especially in civil construction) is typically a dynamic environment with projects for Gunter Civil usually involving new stakeholders (both internal and external to the company), clients and objectives. Taking this into account the leadership style that best fits to the way I believe I have approached the incident is that of ‘situational leadership’.
Developed by Hershey and Blanchard, the ‘situational leadership theory’ suggests that there is no single ‘best’ style of leadership, it is merely task-relevant and dependent on the maturity of the individual or group attempting to lead/influence. Due to the continually changing objectives from the client I feel have had to be flexible and adapt to any possible changes to satisfy their requirements whilst provide clear objectives for my staff to complete the works as requested. I have a highly self-motivated team with levels of project maturity that will grow so long as the scope is clear.
This shows hat the problems exist within the leadership provided externally from BRB to Gunter Civil. The problems have been caused by both parties whereby; limited scope and information was provided by BRB and works commenced by Gunter Civil without all the relevant information required. Conclusions Throughout the analysis fifths incident I believe that leadership within Gunter Civil is at a satisfactory level as objectives are being met (when provided), a motivated and happy culture exists and there is currently no evidence conflict within the site team.
The issue in this incident relates to a lack of information and objectives agreed upon by both company directors (Jim and myself) which was not made readily available to all relevant stakeholders. I believe that instead of trying to please the client with the ‘Yea no worries” attitude, a more structured approach of the situational theory could have been adopted. This approach should consider realizing that the maturity levels of BRB stakeholders are low (lack specific skills required for the job), low levels of competence exist within BRB to complete the project and motivation is high to complete the project.
A ‘selling’ approach should have been implemented by myself to direct Jim (and other takeovers) to provide me with relevant information to complete works whilst providing constitutional support that influences the group to buy into the process. The selling approach is required as it is clear that myself and Gunter Civil have the expert knowledge on the task at hand. Evidence that this type of approach is successful in project based circumstances has been explained in (Lee-Kelley 2002) where “the importance of personal attributes and contingent experiences determines the level of project success”.
As discussed above when outlining the incident, a meeting has been scheduled between Jim and myself o discuss the project, its scope and what the requirements are to progress. I will use these conclusions above as a framework to administer the meeting to gain relevant information and help ensure that the project can be completed successfully. References Burns, J. M 1978, Leadership, New York: Harper and Row, New York Mentoring, H 1989, Mentoring on management: inside our stage world of organizations, Free Press, New York, up. -24 2. Reflective Paper 2: ROI Tint Iron Ore (RATIO) are increasing their output from mahatma (million tones per annum) to mahatma in the Pillars Region of Western Australia. As result, a large amount of infrastructure is required to meet the target and is currently under construction. The chosen incident is related to the testing of piles to verify the categorical design for foundations of the new transmission line that is to provide power to a new iron ore load out facility at Cape Lambert, Pillars, Western Australia.
ROI Tint is the principal for the project with Sinclair Knight Mere (SUM) being the Engineering Project Contract Managers (EPIC). The head contract for construction has been awarded to Buffalo Beauty United Group Limited (BUG) with all civil works to be subcontracted to Civil Group Australia whom are responsible for the pile testing). Civil Group have engaged Recons to design the pile testing apparatus and Gunter Civil to conduct the pile testing. As highlighted above there are a large number of companies involved as stakeholders in the pile testing.
The companies are located throughout Australia and the formation of a virtual team has been inevitable to undertake the pile testing. The pile testing has been delayed by several months to date as there is conflict between the director of Civil Group – “Ben” and the director of Gunter Civil – “Anthony” (myself). Anthony was nominated as the project champion for he pile testing whilst Ben as the leader however Civil Group have failed to pay Gunter Civil several outstanding invoices and as a result, Gunter Civil has minimal motivation to complete works.
Several conversations have occurred between Ben and Anthony with recurring comments from Ben such as “just get it done…. It’s making us all look bad”. These are frequently replied by Anthony with comments such as “less not my problem, sort out the invoices and show me some trust and I’ll get it done”. The chain of communication has now been broken with SUM and BUG staff contacting Gunter Civil directly without sending resplendence to Civil Group which has added further complexities to the situation.
The framework of leadership in this incident can be directly aligned to virtual teams or groups. A virtual group has been defined by (Kowalski & legend, 2006; Lipstick & Stamps, 1997) as ‘a small group whose members interact by means of electronic technologies and work interdependently with a shared purpose across space, time and organization boundaries’. In this case it is more of a ‘hybrid’ virtual team as some members have and will interact face-to-face at times, albeit at different locations.
The use of virtual team leadership in this case occurs primarily with key contributing factors which include; the remoteness of the project, the large number of organizations involved, the size of the principal company (RATIO) and the complexities of the project (i. E. The high level of engineering and technical experience and knowledge required to conduct the test). It is expected that using this leadership approach it will reduce travel time and cost, recruit talented employees and engender creativity and originality among team members, as discussed in (Beerier et al 2008).
There are currently obvious signs of conflict between the project leader and champion which is effecting the productivity of the entire team. This is a result of an issue related to the outstanding invoices for work done in the past between Civil Group and Gunter Civil; resulting in a lack of trust. The lack of trust shown in the incident can be related to several articles and theories such as (Hoyt & Balaclavas 2003) who show that ‘trust, however, appeared to play an important meditation role’ and (Copula et al. 004) also describe how ‘trust is at the foundation of all successful relationships and in order for virtual teams to succeed, they need to build and foster their relationship carefully and intentionally. Beerier et al. 2008) also indicates that ‘trust’ is one of the factors relating to the SUccess of virtual teams. The other factors included in the success of virtual teams by (Beerier et al. 2008) includes communications, leadership, goals and the use of technology; all of which show to be lacking with the exception of the use of relevant technology.
The current leadership style implemented by the leader of the project (Ben) can be categorized by a Laissez-Fairer behavioral type when goals are being met and that of a transactional approach when there are any issues. This approach does to resemble a typical leadership framework when compared to virtual team theories and academic literature. The emergence of ‘remote transformational leadership’ in leading virtual teams shows evidence of a strong framework when tested in the industry. (Burns 1978) describes ‘transforming leadership’ as an approach that ‘creates significant change in the life of people and organizations.
It redesigns perceptions and values, and changes aspirations of employees…. They are a moral exemplar of working towards the benefit of the team’. This is shown to be important in a virtual or remote environment here face-to-face interaction is below optimum. Research in the form of an experimental study examined by (Paranoia and Bono 2009) highlights ‘Post hoc analyses shows that the most effective leaders were those who increased their transformational leadership in virtual teams……. Transformational leadership has a stronger effect in team that use only-computer mediated communication’.
The explanation that Bass (1985) provided – ‘The followers of a transformational leader feel trust, admiration loyalty and respect for the leader….. The transformational leader offers followers something more than just working for elf gain’ to measure levels of motivation and performance reflect the specific leadership requirements for the team and what is currently lacking and causing conflict between team members. There is currently a high level of conflict between two key members of the virtual team that has been assigned the task at hand.
The conflict has resulted from a lack of trust between these members (myself the project champion and ‘Ben’ the project leader) causing delays to the project and the respective associated costs and frustrations to other stakeholders. The current leadership style implemented by the project leader is considered as ineffective by myself and I am currently not motivated by the current situation to proceed with works. After analysis of leadership theories and academic research I believe that a ‘remote transformational leadership’ framework should be implemented to complete the project.
If the traits that are outlined in this framework (and discussed above) were expressed by the leader I would be highly motivated to complete the work that is required. Understand that the current economic situation throughout the world has caused issues with cash flow for businesses however; I also wan a small business and require the invoices to be paid to survive. Believe that the issue could be resolved by scheduling a face-to-face meeting (with no distractions) and both entering the discussion with a democratic approach to mutually participate and resolve the current issues.
It may also be a good time to ‘manage upwards’ and talk to Ben about the ‘remote transformational’ leadership style and its benefits for the nature of the industry. Bass, B. M 1985, Leadership and Performance, New York, Free Press Beerier, J, Beerier, B & Balmiest, W 2008, Nature of virtual teams: a summary of heir advantages and disadvantages’, Management Research News, Volvo. 31, no. 2, up. 99-110 Copula, N. W, Hilt, S. R, and Rooter, N. G 2004, “Building trust in virtual teams”, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, Volvo. 7 No. 2, IPPP-105 Lipstick, J. & Stamps, J 1997, Virtual Teams; reaching across space, time, and organizations with technology; John Wiley and Sons, USA 3. Reflective Paper 3: BBC Contracting are a medium tier civil construction company who specialize in mining infrastructure. The incident that this paper reflects includes my involvement in being awarded an additional $30 million dollar contract at the Sino Iron Project to construct a Reinforced Earth Wall (RE Wall) structure as a non-conforming bid for the crusher slots within the ore pit.
I held the position of head project engineer at the time for foundations and earthworks and reported directly to the Project Manager – ‘Spencer’. Whilst on site I had created a good relationship with the client and was provided tender documentation for the contract. I immediately took it to Spencer in excitement as knew I could design and construct a different type of wall that would be quicker, cheaper and easier to build than the conforming design. With full support from Spencer prepared a meeting with the Operations Manger ‘Darryl’ and Head Estimator ‘Patrick’ in Perth to discuss who agreed to tender the works.
It was also stated both verbally and in writing by Darryl that “If we get this one, I want you to run the job”. After several months of hard work the contract was awarded to us and I felt a sense of achievement as I had been working so hard to help the team win the contract. To my anger and frustration, found out that another Project Manager ‘John’ had been assigned to the project – who had not been involved in the design and tender phase. As soon as I found out I called Darryl and asked the question “Who is John, why is there another Project Manager? I thought this was my job”.
Darryl responded with a long winded response which summarized to ‘We don’t have much more work coming up at Sino or on other projects; I need to saturate this one and assign as many overheads to it as possible”. Without questioning the situation any further I filed my resignation and departed from the company. After almost 12 months of time passing since the incident, along with the time that I have spent preparing this reflection, I still believe that the situation was not alt with appropriately by a senior manager of a large organizational company.
During the tender phase I believe I approached my leadership style with a mix of raw transformational leadership to my subordinates to design the structure and provide all the relevant supporting documentation, mixed with a path-goal and expectancy theory of self leadership. Evidence of research highlighting this type of leadership can be seen in (Mulling 2002) which shows that ‘the individual’s motivation is dependent upon expectations that increased effort to achieve an improved level of performance will be SUccessfUl, and expectations that improved performance will be instrumental in obtaining positive reward’.
It is evident that the incident involved staff at different levels of management within the company; myself at a front line position and Darryl at a top level managerial position. The leadership and management requirements for each of these positions are shown to have significant differences, which have been explained in the research conducted by (Shabbier & Gill 2004). The findings show however, that the greater the level of transformational leadership shown by top level management, the more it is passed on down the chain of command.
I Greer with this research as I believe that at the time of tendering on the contract felt that Darryl exhibited high levels of transformational leadership towards myself, courtesy of the trust I believed he had in me to ‘run’ the job. It is also highlighted in (Samson & Daft, 2009) where ‘Top Managers’ ‘make decisions that affect the entire organization’ and ‘First-line Managers’ ‘are directly responsible for the production of goods or services’.
In this case, it is evident that Darryl was making a decision based on the entire company and meeting its financial objectives and I was more focused on the decisions made based on the task at and. At the time that this happened I feel that I understood why the decision was being made but did not agree with the process that Darryl was trying to meet the financial objectives. It was evident that there was a distinct gap between the two levels of management and the role that Spencer or the ‘Middle Manager’ plays within the company to create a ‘synergy’ between strategic requirements and day to day goals.
This seems to be a common issue in large organizations where (Mead 2001) discusses a similar issue faced within the police force and conducting inquiries with the input of managers from different evils. He has highlighted a framework including six phases which is said to ‘pay particular attention to the politics and practicalities in an overtly hierarchical organization’. As a front line manager, the incident provided a small insight to the constraints and relevant decisions that top level managers are faced with.
I believe that as a top level manager, Darryl could have handled the situation more professionally, and is an additional reason to why chose to leave the company. I believed at the time that I did not want to be lead by this type of manager. From the incident, understand that there is a lot of experience yet to gain before I can be a top level manager. I can however; see that a transformational style of leadership is required and all decisions are to be treated with integrity and communicated throughout the hierarchy to ensure that all stakeholders are constantly informed.
If I am to be a top level manager one day, I would not like to see a self motivated front line manager resign as I could not keep my promise. It is up to me to take reality into account prior to committing to promises that cannot be kept. Although transformational leadership is required in top level management live that there is a direct requirement for structure to ensure that decisions are made which align to the organizations strategies and objectives.