BLP Week: Tom Ward on Providing Project Leadership

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.

Hot Tip:

  • 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.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating the Business, Leadership, and Performance TIG (BLP) Week. The contributions all week come from BLP members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “BLP Week: Tom Ward on Providing Project Leadership”

  1. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sharing your view on providing project leadership, as well as your personal background and passion. My name is Amanda and I am currently taking my Professional Masters of Education from Queen’s University. Your article intrigues me, because as an educator, there are factors in leadership that I embody and that I still have yet to learn. It is not only about my profession as an educator, but as a member of the community and for the understanding of others as well.
    You mention “Project leaders must understand the environmental context of the project, visualize the steps required to complete the project, and communicate that visualization effectively.”. I absolutely agree with your point — by fully understanding and analyzing the content or project, this can lead to a successful and effective experience for both the leader and the participants/students.
    I will take your “Hot Tip” into consideration in my professional practice, my academic studies and beyond.
    Thanks again for sharing!

    -Amanda

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