Project Management

Patient Leadership

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

When taking the helm of a team that has been struggling without consistent leadership, direction or supportive processes in place, it can be tempting to change as much as possible as soon as possible. But sometimes strong leadership requires patience to help a team evolve into all it can be.

I was recently asked to advise a leader who was taking over a team that had been without any real leadership for some considerable time. The team had worked for a series of different managers who were task-focused and made little attempt to develop the people. It was a rigid environment of deadlines and deliverables at any cost, and yet there were no real processes in place to support the team members. They were feeling lost and without any direction. The new leader immediately recognized the problems and wanted guidance on how to turn things around as quickly as possible.

The risk that leaders face when taking over a struggling team is that if they change too much, too quickly it can be overwhelming. While any good leader would want to get rid of as many “bad” elements as possible, change is still going to take time to adapt to. With a group that is feeling undervalued and insecure, there needs to be a slow evolution to a better state — one that allows them to build comfort in the situation and trust in the leader. The fact that this team had a series of managers …

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"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

- Voltaire