Leading the Project Team

Topic: Leading The Project Team
Topic Preview
The literature covering the issues of both team and leadership contains a wide range of perspectives.   This topic presents a summary of the key theories supporting both of these issues.   The perspective is very much one of presenting a number of theories, rather than selecting a single ‘correct’ theory.   One benefit of this approach is that it allows project managers the opportunity to widen their awareness of different approaches to the problems of staffing teams and the subsequent leadership of them. In this manner, the possibilities for application of these theories are introduced at a basic level.
Topic Content
Groups and Teams

Walker (1996) provides an overview of two types of thinking that clearly illustrate differences between groups and teams. These are termed, quite appropriately, Teamthink and Groupthink. These perspectives on teams and groups were initially identified by researchers in the area of effective working (Manz, Neck, 1995), but have since gradually moved into the area of project management. Nonetheless, for some organisations these concepts are still not regarded as being main-stream. The key differences between the two types of thinking are illustrated in Table 1.

Leaders may find it difficult to determine if project personnel are working as a team or as a group. However, Maylor (1996) suggests 3 criteria by which the existence of a team can be identified.
1. The output of a team is greater than the sum of the outputs of the individuals within the team.
2. A greater range of options can be considered by exploiting differences in individual thought processes.
3. Decision-making by the team is more effective.

Each of these agree with characteristics identified by Manz and Neck with regard to teamthink and groupthink.   The presence of teams is therefore a desirable situation to achieve in terms of their general effectiveness when compared to groups. Maylor (1996) however identifies...