Organisations Must Enable Project Leaders To Lead

Ngagementworks Leadership Atrributes Survey


This was the key message that Nick Fewings, CEO of Ngagementworks delivered to project leaders on Day 1 of the Advanced Project Management Conference for the Oil and Gas Industry, organised by the BIS Group and held at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel on Tuesday 28th March.

As background to his presentation “The DyNAmics of Leading Successful Project Teams”, Nick explained that through no fault of their own, a lot of project leaders were too involved in the detailed tasks of their projects, as opposed to focussing on developing high-performing and engaged teams, inspired and motivated to successfully deliver the project goals.  Furthermore, Nick observed that often, organisations placed those with technical expertise and experience into leadership roles but provided little or no support, or indeed time for them to develop and then use their leadership capabilities.

Task Relationships

“You wouldn’t expect anyone to get into a car and drive it perfectly without any training or indeed wish to be a passenger in that car, so why do organisations think that leaders can lead and develop high-performing teams without appropriate leadership training?”

The message however from team members is that want they want from their leaders is to be passionate, with a compelling vision of what needs to be achieved, leading them with integrity and showing empathy . These are the leaders that develop followers who become advocates of them and their leadership style.

Ngagementworks Leadership Atrributes Survey

Nick highlighted the fact that almost 70% of projects fail to achieve their goals, with the three most cited causes of the failure being lack of strong leadership, poor understanding of the individuals within their teams, in terms of their technical skills and behavioural style and finally a limited understanding of how well individuals worked together as a team.

This was perfectly demonstrated when Nick asked the audience, “What did they discuss when their teams got together?” As the responses showed on the photograph of the flipchart below, the main focus is on task-related discussions, with little or no time set aside to explore and discuss relationships or how the team was working collectively.

Nick Fewings Ngagementworks Flipchart

Nick then went on to share his knowledge and experience of what leaders of high-performing teams do exceptionally well.

Nick Fewings Ngagementworks Leaders Do Well

He then discussed how they could understand themselves and their team better, using personality profiling and how this information could be better used to understand the likely impact on how teams communicated and made-decisions.

Nick Fewings Ngagementworks Team

Finally, Nick showcased the Team DyNAmics Model that he created, that measures the 16 key Elements that need to be managed effectively in order to help develop a high-performing team.

He explained how these 16 Elements could be measured and the resulting data used to continue to play to the team’s strengths as well as open discussions about the challenges and the generation of practical ideas to overcome these challenges.

Nick Fewings Ngagementworks Team DyNAmics Rerun

As a leader, it is imperative that you have data to help you understand who you have in your team and how the team works collectively. If you don’t, how do you know how best to lead and motivate individuals and ensure the team is engaged and working effectively?

Nick concluded by saying that if organisations want to achieve high-performance in their project teams and thereby increase their chances of project success, if they are not already doing so, they need to enable project leaders to focus on leading as opposed to being too involved with the day to day project tasks.

Project leaders, for their part, need to understand themselves and their teams better and have data and information about both the individual team members and also how they work together as a team. Whilst their project management capabilities and technical expertise are important, the balance of what they do and the time they spend doing it, should definitely be more heavily weighted to building and leading the team and developing positive relationships with stakeholders.

After all…


Nick Fewings was voted best speaker at this leadership conference.  For more information about his conference speaking, please use the Conference Speaking menu.

Nick Fewings Ngagementworks Conference Speaker Feedback


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