Howdy! I’m Tom Ward, and I am a faculty member of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. In that capacity, I teach critical thinking, ethics, contracting, logistics, and “writing to persuade.” My passion, however, is knowledge management, and using KM to improve decision making. My tip today is about providing project leadership.
We sometimes forget that very competent adults still require leadership when participating in group endeavors. The more they understand the intent of a project and the desired end state of a client, the more they are able to bring their own talents to bear. This requires not only vision on the part of leaders, but a clear and understandable communication of that vision – preferably in written form.
- Project leaders must understand the environmental context of the project, visualize the steps required to complete the project, and communicate that visualization effectively. For example, if the deliverable product is a written report or graphic presentation, examples of similar deliverables provide excellent visualization of “this is where we are going.” “How we will get there” is crucial as well, but may part of the design phase of the problem solving process; still, clearly describing the process of “how we will decide how we get there” enables unified effort and enhances the ability of individuals to contribute effectively. Leaders who provide clear frameworks for task accomplishment and then provide the required resources for individual and group success gain a reputation not only as reliable producers for clients, but “favorite bosses” of project group members.
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