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Research Paper on Project Management and Planning

7 pages
1850 words
George Washington University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

A project is a carefully drafted plan aimed at achieving a particular objective by the use of a plan detailing how schedules will be executed, monitored, and controlled. The success of an oil project is determined by its completion within a stipulated time and the allocated budget. Consequently, appropriate leadership is a requirement for ensuring overall project success. The manager's role in leading the project is essential in ensuring that the workforce is motivated and creating an ambiance that allows creativity and that which is conducive. As such, leadership can be defined as the position of an individual who creates a vision for a company and ensures that he or she drives the business in that direction. As noted by Antonakis and Day (2017, 508), the success or failure of a project much relies on the leaders compared to other stakeholders. In effect, the work of a leader entails part of forming relationships based on influence, vision, obligation, and responsibility. Leadership involves taking up ethics in a project, which engages some issues of self-discovery, developing interest, self-restraint, and commitment to ethics, which is related to competency, and doing one's duty for the sake of every individual in the project.

According to Dinh et al. (2014, 4), theories on leadership have been developed, which help understand the processing of a leader regarding perceptions, emotions, and cognition. Besides, they study a leaders relational context and how dynamics and change affect the leadership outcomes. The transformational theory builds upon a leader interacting with other people and building up a stable relationship based on trust. Such results in motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic of the employees. The focus of this theory is that the leaders transform their team members by inspiring them and upholding a charismatic nature. The team members get a sense of belonging and even, own the project as theirs since the rules are flexible and based on the group norms. This would make Tom feel like part of the team and that his contribution is equally important. As a result, these team members readily identify with their leaders and align with the goal and purpose of the project. As noted by Dinh et al. (2014, 89), this theory is classified under neo-charismatic approaches, which focuses on charisma as the primary skill of leadership. It also included self-sacrifice, the leader being visionary, and having applicable ideologies.

Classification of Leadership

There are diverse styles of leadership. They include;

a.) Laissez-faire- this type of leadership involves lack of supervision from the leader. Employees under this category are highly skilled and motivated and can work quite well since they are highly trained. However, not all employees possess this characteristic, and it can hinder the production of employees requiring supervision. This kind of leadership requires little effort from the leaders and as such, it can result in a low output and increase in project cost.

b.) Autocratic- in a project setting, the leader or project manager controls all the functions and makes all the decisions. The team members are not allowed to make any input but entirely rely on the information from the leaders. This method dramatically benefits those employees requiring close supervision and hinders creative employees who function to the fullest in a group setting.

c.) Participative- this is the kind also referred to as democratic leadership style. It allows full participation of team members when making decisions regarding a project. The employees feel motivated since their input is considered when making business decisions. As such, employees or team members readily accept change since they have been a part of it from the beginning. However, this method becomes a disadvantage when the leader wants to decide in a short period.

d.) Transactional- this involves a form of exchange from the team members and the leader. They come together and form goals and rules to follow to achieve these goals. The results determine the reward and the leader retain the right to review results and correct team members in case of a failure in the group. Team members who perform to the best receive rewards concerning bonuses.

e.) Transformational this method highly depends on the association between the leaders and the team members. As such, there is a high level of communication between them (Dinh, Lord, et al., 2014, 40). The leader through the charismatic character makes the employees own up the project and such acts as the primary form of motivation.

Relationship between a Leader, Team, and Project

Studies have focused on different forms of communication between leaders and the team. As noted by Myrtveit (2016, 2), this relationship dramatically affects the performance and the results of the whole project. The relationship should be based on the division of labor in that each person has specific roles, and the performance of each role is essential and collective to the success of the project. The success of the management of a project is tied to interpersonal dynamics and processes (Myrtveit 2016, 5). The team leader is responsible for all the operations of the project and the outcomes. He or she is accountable to the team members to make sure that the relevant insights for finding solutions are readily available regarding time, handling pressure, competition, and the changes associated with changing technology. The team members, in turn, are responsible for finding solutions as the transformational leadership allows for contribution. They should always be motivated and committed as if working on their projects.

Role of Motivation in Project Management

In spite of the many project successes, it is evident that many projects fail due to the failure of motivation by the project managers. The role of the manager is essential in motivating the workforce and creating a conducive environment for working. Dwivedula, Bredillet, and Muller (2016, 233) explain work motivation as a driving force originating within and outside to enhance work-related behavior and determine its form, duration, intensity, and direction. This definition is based on theories of motivation such as the theory of needs. A poorly motivated team has been known to lead to the failure even the best project plans. A leader should maintain the initial excitement, which is associated with initiating a project and maintain it through to the end, thereby ensuring the success. Leaders should not only have scheduling skills but should manage complex human characteristics, which can bring down a project. There is a difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.

Motivation should initially focus on fulfilling the team members lower level goals such as food to ensure that they are ready to work. As the case of Harriet, it is impossible for her to concentrate on the project when her immediate needs are not met. When a project is new, there are various technologies and relationships, which are new and excite the employees. The team members are at first motivated to maintain that spirit of excitement throughout the project. Motivation comes in as a long-term strategy of maintaining commitment levels of team members for a more extended period. Motivation creates a working environment that is conducive to the beginning and can sustain team members even when problems are encountered. According to Dwivedula, Bredillet, and Muller (2016, 238), there is a relationship between work motivation and effective personal commitment. Motivation ensures that work is fun and exciting and as such, employees are more likely to be intrinsically motivated. Such also relates to them viewing their project as significant, which ensures overall team members involvement. As such, with motivation, extravert employees exhibit a higher level of commitment to their profession.

Additionally, well-motivated employees guarantee the success of the project. Such, in turn, leads to a higher client satisfaction. Employees get a feeling of fulfillment, and they are always eager to undertake the next project. A project that gave employees a sense of satisfaction, coupled with ambient working conditions and job security, are motivating factors for more success.

Consequently, motivation ensures that the employees produce some perfect work. The extent of employee motivation determines the productivity in their jobs. Correspondingly, motivation affects quality performance. Any project aims at having zero defects and controlling any losses due to carelessness. A high motivation is both an advantage to the project manager and the employees. Motivation results in a very high level of innovation and creativity from the employees. It works best when there are no conducive conditions for close supervision (Osabiya, 2015, 74). Such improves the quality of the employee, which is measured through self-rating measure of the employee, the rate at which the worker was willing to accomplish the task, and in the number of days they were absent from work.

How to Motivate Project Staff

Some factors motivate employees both in public and in private sector. Most employees require motivation to feel good about their jobs and themselves. Motivation has a direct impact on the productivity of the project team. Low-motivated employees have a high likelihood of spending minimal effort on their jobs, are uninterested in joining new projects, may even exit the organization, or produce very low-quality work. Employees are the most significant assets of a corporation, and a companys principal worry is always on how to motivate them into projects and gain immeasurable results (Ristic, Selakovic, and Qureshi, 2017, 1). Every employee has specific needs, which are different from the rest, and it is essential for the employers to identify what motivates each employee by their needs, and develop a reward system.

The economic conditions of a country are the primary determinant of whether employees are more intrinsically or extrinsically motivated. Theoretical perspectives have focused on intrinsic satisfaction, where an employee needs psychological satisfaction, as compared to extrinsic, where monetary rewards are enough for motivation.

Abraham Maslow came up with a theory, which focused on motivation in 1954. His main idea was that there were five levels of human satisfaction and it was impossible to gain satisfaction by the higher hierarchy when one had not achieved in the immediate hierarchy (Osabiya, 2015, 67). He said that it would be impossible to motivate someone if his or her basic psychological needs were unmet. It is possible in that when an employee does not get enough money to buy food and take care of the family, then it would be hard to care about a project. Even though Harriet has a high level of skill and talent, her basic needs clog her mind and hinder her from working to the maximum and being part of that project. Ristic, Selakovic, and Qureshi (2017, 205) note that employees who work in the private sector prefer rewards regarding money. A high salary could be the reason why employees would get interested in joining a projects team. As well, Harriet could be motivated by giving her a health insurance cover and giving her a few off days in a month to spend time with the family. Besides, if the success of the project ensures promotion, then the employee would be ready to join the project since such would mean a higher salary, other benefits and an opportunity to advance higher in the hierarchy and professionally.

Interestingly, appreciation for good work was a form of motivation to the employees. As noted, female employees worked better when their managers complemented their work and felt that they could still do better. As such...

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