Project Leadership, Teams and Behaviours

Introduction

Effective organisational activities involve the coordinated work of all stakeholders, including both managers and employees. Achieving success is impossible if individual team members are not willing to take responsibility for their immediate duties and diligently carry out the tasks assigned to them. In order to assess the relevance of measures aimed at increasing staff motivation, strengthening leadership positions, and enhancing teamwork outcomes, it is necessary to analyse the activities of the organisation involved in the process of active changes.

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As a research object, the SeaMech company will be used, which is developing a project management office (PMO) at the moment and has merged with another company for more efficient operational management. This step is an essential measure in the formation of a new mode of work, and all interested parties experience temporary stress and burden caused by the reorganization of labour procedures. In order to assess the significance of such a decision and its consequences, relevant academic sources will be engaged.

As key research topics, motivation from the perspective of controlling persons, the organisational behaviour of employees, as well as individual leadership work will be considered. Productive project management includes different components, and the competent and efficient use of available resources allows achieving the optimal results of all the changes conducted.

Motivation from the Manager’s Perspective: Relevant Approaches

Project management as a significant component of changes in SeaMech is the area of activity that is impossible to perform without the participation of the company’s personnel. However, unlike the organisation’s leaders who are willing to invest in the work of a renewed enterprise, subordinates may not have a strong enough motivation to fulfil all their obligations with maximum efficiency. For this purpose, the heads of individual departments should maintain a consistently high level of staff interest in performing the necessary tasks.

Assessing the work environment takes an essential role in creating a cohesive and productive team. Upadhyaya (2014) considers the concept of organisational culture and compares it with a link connecting all structural parts of a particular company into a single whole. Also, the author cites the example of the Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory as the concept to determine the degree of employee involvement and motivation (Upadhyaya 2014).

According to this example, subordinates should be aware of their personal significance in achieving common goals, and the highest level of the pyramid called self-actualization should be addressed while maintaining motivation (Upadhyaya 2014). Zameer et al. (2014) complement this assumption and argue that the Alderfer’s hierarchy of needs theory may be involved. This scheme is called ERG – existence needs, related needs growth needs – and highlights people’s desire to move up constantly. Accordingly, the management should organise such working conditions under which each subordinate could feel professional growth and importance in a specific project. This perspective will help maintain a high level of motivation among the staff and provide an opportunity to count on productive activity outcomes.

Many authors and researchers of the psychological aspects of employees’ behaviour have similar ideas regarding the factors that influence staff motivation. In addition to the aforementioned concepts, specific theoretical approaches may be involved. For instance, Parijat and Bagga (2014) suggest paying attention to the expectancy theory that implies achieving the attractiveness of the ultimate goal of activity for a worker.

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In relation to SeaMech, this practice may be valuable since if subordinates are aware of all the advantages of organising PMO, they will be more interested in productivity. Lăzăroiu (2015) states that work ethic is an integral component of the success of all implemented changes, and managers should take this fact into account in order to establish interaction with subordinates and motivate them. Thus, in relation to the issue of stimulating work activity, the responsibilities of the company’s leaders come down to productive communication with the staff and the explanation of the merits of the transition to a new operational regime.

SeaMech activities are complicated by current issues related to creating a new mode of operation in terms of mergers and changes occurring in the project plan management system. In this situation, to stimulate the interest of the staff, the inspirational motivation concept can be a successful mechanism that, as Panagiotakopoulos (2014) argues, contributes to reducing the rate of employee absenteeism and high turnover.

The managerial practice that encourages subordinates’ achievements contributes to the progress and professional growth of team members. According to Caillier (2018), work in a transforming mode of operation requires dedication from employees; therefore, an inspirational approach to motivation may allow colleagues to keep their responsibilities for the tasks assigned. Therefore, stimulation through leaders’ personal participation is a valuable management methodology.

If the staff understands the importance of the assigned work and is aware of the purpose of the tasks set, activity outcomes will be higher compared with those situations when subordinates perform duties mechanically and thoughtlessly. Cameron and Green (2015) mention the goal-setting theory as one of the management tools for employee motivation in the face of reorganisation changes. The authors cite the following statement: “the more your team clear goals the more likely it is to succeed” (Cameron & Green 2015, p. 72).

Consequently, motivation based on the complete availability of information about upcoming changes in a work mode and trust in team members can be more effective than simple encouragement. According to Breevaart, Bakker and Demerouti (2014), leaders should stimulate employees’ self-goal setting. This practice will help team members become more independent and make decisions based on professional skills and knowledge but not on managers’ orders.

Since, under current conditions, the SeaMech’s management cannot concentrate solely on one goal, company employees are to be proactive and strive to improve their performance. Brueller, Carmeli and Markman (2018) state that motivation-building practices can be not only individual but also teamwork. Assigning specific tasks to a group of subordinates will provide an opportunity to rally the collective, thereby strengthening corporate culture and stimulating colleagues’ self-initiative.

In support of this assumption, Ge and Cao (2014) give an opinion on the significance of the value system supported in the team. The management should maintain adherence to the ethical principles of interaction with subordinates and not encourage conflicts on different backgrounds, including cultural, racial, or others. In a merged organisation, many employees experience discomfort and high workload caused by additional responsibility. Therefore, in order to properly motivate the SeaMech staff, the leaders of the company need to work towards enhancing corporate culture and promote colleagues’ respect for one another.

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Change Process: Teamwork and Individual Behaviour

The changes taking place in SeaMech cannot pass by the company’s employees who are forced to adapt to the new mode of operation under the conditions of merging and take an active part in the development of PMO. As a result, the staff goes through difficult times, and the main challenges are associated with significant workload and the importance of individual work. Osland, Devine and Turner (2015, p. 1) cite the concept of organisational behaviour and note that this criterion has three possible implications – “individual, group, and organizational”.

Each of them is characterised by its own characteristics and is manifested differently in the mode of changes occurring within an enterprise. At the same time, as Tims, Bakker and Derks (2014) argue, job performance at each level depends on the self-efficacy of employees and their willingness to display their professional skills. Therefore, commitment to a common goal is one of the key factors for successful changes, despite temporary challenges.

When talking about teamwork, from the perspective of employees, the implementation of the set plan of activities is more complicated compared with previous duties that they performed. In order to maintain high productivity in group work, subordinates should feel managers’ support and see the interest of the heads of departments in the joint solution of current issues. According to Smollan (2017), personnel support is one of the integral components of the aforementioned corporate culture, and in the mode of changes in which SeaMech is now, it is crucial to achieve the staff recognition.

The collective will have to face additional challenges, for instance, the need to adapt to new operating conditions after setting up the planned PMO. However, as Okurame (2014) notes, career growth is one of those initiatives that may affect the desire of employees to realise their professional potential. If a group of workers is divided into separate teams with a leader who could prove his or her competence, this will become an additional motivation for subordinates to prove their compliance with the declared position and, thereby, increase productivity.

While using the example of organising group activities, one can not note that effective work is associated with leadership that is manifested in individual teams. Alasadi and Askary (2014) state that project members fulfil the roles of change agents, thereby helping supervisors and strengthening the collective. Although subordinates may encounter barriers, for instance, overly complex tasks caused by an unfamiliar work environment, colleagues’ help is a valuable aspect of corporate culture. According to Jundt, Shoss and Huang (2015), at the individual level, the adaptation of employees to organisational changes is more difficult than at the group one. Therefore, it is essential for subordinates to understand the significance of teamwork interaction, as well as mutual assistance and support.

From the perspective of employees’ individual work, the changes taking place in SeaMech are a new stage in people’s professional activities, and many of them may not be aware of the reasons for which they need to increase personal responsibility and performance. Vakola (2014) offers to pay attention to such a factor as the readiness of team members to change, and based on this criterion, make predictions about potential productivity. Employees who are knowledgeable about the merger mode and upcoming project activities should help colleagues understand the importance of all operational procedures.

This step will change the work attitudes for the better and give the staff an opportunity to treat changes more confidently. Such a directional activity, as Ng and Lucianetti (2016) remark, is an example of the social-cognitive theory that combines the concepts of self-efficacy and individual perception. Those employees who will work diligently on both individual and team levels will provide a reliable background for subsequent organisational interventions. Achieving success is a priority goal for many subordinates whose ambitions and personal leadership qualities encourage them actions. Therefore, the considered theories are relevant in the changing environment under consideration.

Thus, when analysing changes from the perspective of the company’s employees, it is worth noting that readiness for a new regime is one of the most important factors that can influence organisational behaviour. Cullen et al. (2014) argue that adaptation to innovations is the evidence of team members’ professionalism. Such an assumption allows concluding that the employees of SeaMech should learn more about the upcoming changes and interact with one another more effectively to ensure mutual understanding in a cohesive team.

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Individual behaviour, as Michel (2014) notes, also depends on a number of factors, for instance, readiness for professional growth or the lack of proper motivation. Provided that all employees are able to understand the importance of the upcoming project activities, the work of the management will be simplified significantly. Therefore, the practice of evaluating incentives and impacts is a valuable mechanism for analysing subordinates’ operational success.

Leadership: Impact on Project Success

Despite the importance of both individual activities and teamwork of the company’s employees in the face of changes, the decisive role is given to leaders as individuals who control the entire process of innovations and coordinate all project plans. In order to establish a high-performance work regime, SeaMech needs competent managers who are aware of their responsibility. According to Rivera-Ruiz and Ferrer-Moreno (2015), strategic leadership is closely related to project management since the phased implementation of tasks is an integral component of planned activities. Moreover, in the current conditions, the success of innovations depends not only on the quality of performing work but also on the proper organisation of colleagues’ interaction.

Redick et al. (2014) offer to draw attention to such a notion as leadership competence. The authors classify the four components of this phenomenon – self-leadership, managing subordinates, psychological factors and environmental aspects (Redick et al. 2014). All of these elements are part of project leadership, and analysing them may help maintain a high level of organisational control.

Since SeaMech is in the process of restructuring its work system, the choice of an appropriate leadership concept has a significant role due to the need to coordinate not only familiar activities but also new tasks. In a modern business environment, new trends emerge in personnel management and control, and selecting a specific approach can mean both success and failure. Gillet and Vandenberghe (2014) turn to the system of transformational leadership as one of the common mechanisms of interaction with subordinates. According to the authors, managers resorting to this methodology perform their duties “through collective efficacy, self-efficacy, and moral reasoning” (Gillet & Vandenberghe 2014, p. 322).

As a result, this practice brings staff closer to leaders and opens up more successful business development prospects. As Dóci and Hofmans (2015) argue, those managers who adhere to this approach and, at the same time, make a personal contribution to work, stimulate the improvement of employees’ organisational behaviour. Therefore, this concept is worth mentioning in the context of the change regime.

In order to apply the most optimal principle of leadership in the conditions of work on the creation of PMO and merging, one can pay attention to alternative styles. For instance, in addition to the transformational type, Nanjundeswaraswamy and Swamy (2014) cite the transactional principle that implies the equal distribution of responsibilities among all the members of the collective. As the authors argue, different supporters of this style “motivate followers through exchange”, thereby maintaining a stable operating balance (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy 2014, p. 58). At the same time, there are a large number of subspecies that are also characterised by unique properties.

Nanjundeswaraswamy and Swamy (2014) also mention laissez-faire, autocratic, democratic and some other styles. This diversity leads to the assumption that it is difficult to maintain a single management principle. According to Tabassi et al. (2016), leadership behaviour is a complex mechanism that does not have to follow one chosen scheme but is to adapt to current conditions. Therefore, in SeaMech, it is necessary to maintain the principle that could allow coordinating changes, and the transformational strategy is one of the most successful, despite its limitations.

If it is argued that transformational leadership can be a valuable mechanism for influencing project success positively, it is essential to mention some of the challenges that this approach cause. In particular, Tyssen, Wald and Spieth (2014) note that in view of the fact that this management practice includes several components, the implementation of one of them may be incorrect or insufficiently effective. This, in turn, will lead to incompetent management and cause challenges, particularly in the face of large-scale changes.

Opoku and Ahmed (2014) also focus on the difficulties associated with this leadership approach and remark that high costs may be required to retain the necessary control practices. For instance, psychological training may require additional time and investment, which may be inadmissible in the context of limited budget and temporary resource-saving. Therefore, these and other challenges are to be taken into account.

In general, when assessing the importance of leadership in SeaMech for project success, one can note that the activities of those responsible should be not only professional but also multilateral. Mir and Pinnington (2014) state that since the quality of organisational work is built on many aspects, managers should utilise flexible strategies to respond to any changes timely and competently. Jiang (2014) argues that the key principle determining project success is teamwork, and the task of leaders comes down to the reasonable coordination of group activities. These conclusions may help the company in question and contribute to its productive development in the face of the current changes.

Conclusion

In the business organisation in question, project management is complicated by current issues related to the creation of PMO and merging, and competent personnel management, along with maintaining a high level of corporate culture, is an essential practice. Appropriate motivation as one of the elements of work activity is an important criterion for the success of both team and individual work, and leaders should strive to increase this indicator among colleagues.

The process of changes taking place in SeaMech is complex and is characterised by unusual working conditions for employees. In this regard, the quality of teamwork and personal devotion from each member of the collective are the crucial aspects of organisational activities. Leadership, as one of the most important criteria for project success, should be flexible, and the transformational principle is a suitable control mechanism in the current conditions.

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