Leadership programs can often be quite generic i.e., a good leader needs to show:
Toughness or demandingness and fairness
Warmth and humanity
These are all excellent traits, but it is critical to look at leadership in the context of your project by considering its complexity, culture and the experience of the team. Unless your focus is solely on personal development then it is a mistake to decouple your leadership program from the project. Maybe the first question you need to ask is how this leadership program will improve my project and how are we going to measure its effectiveness. Below is a list of potential improvements and possible insights into the measurement of these improvements:
Increased stakeholder engagement.
Decreased staff turnover.
More effective negotiations.
Less conflict and or better managed conflict resolution.
Improved team wellbeing.
Better and quicker decision making.
Very rarely does one size fit all and this is especially true for leadership. Large phase III clinical studies are good examples of complex projects. Large numbers of investigational sites in different time zones, the variety of work, the pressure on timelines, the breadth of scope and disciplines involved are typical of structural complexity, but you also have social-political complexity because of the divergence of people involved, level of politics or power-play, lack of stakeholder / sponsor commitment, degree of resistance to work being undertaken, hidden agendas, and conflicting priorities of stakeholders. The skills set needed to deal with structural complexity are different to those required for social-political complexity and dealing with these different complexities may be suited to different individuals.
Individuals within the team will have different levels of competence and experience so a one size fits all will also not be appropriate. An example of these differences can change your leadership approach are highlighted below.
Effective leadership Pan Books (2009) JohnAdair
Leadership skills are not just for project manager, they should be considered for many different roles but it is important that they are predominantly focused on their responsibilities rather than a nebulous concept. A generic leadership program may seem to be less than relevant when compared to the real situations encountered on a day today within the project environment. On the other hand a focus leadership program can significantly reduce relational risks.
"What I love is the idea making sure that your leadership programme is not decoupled from your project."