Scenario 1

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Vika has many years’ experience in project management with Alpha. From your informal discussions with people, it is clear that he is highly respected and he has an excellent record of delivering results – often having overcome challenging circumstances.

You were therefore quite surprised that his presentation on the project’s progress was so poor. Vika had seemed enthusiastic about making the presentation but he missed important points, talked about things which were not important and lacked knowledge on critical financial data.

You are wondering how the presentation could have been so poor.

What do you think is the likely issue and what leadership approach would have been appropriate to ensure a successful presentation?

Take a few moments to reflect and then read my thoughts below. 

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below too.

I believe that the key issue here is: COMPETENCE – the knowledge and skills required to accomplish a task successfully.

Competence relates to a specific task or goal – NOT to a person. So, although Vika is an extremely competent project manager, that doesn’t mean that he is necessarily a good presenter. In areas of competence we need to beware the Halo-Horns trap.

A person can be highly competent in one area and a beginner in another.

You must focus on what the competence “IS”, not what it “should be”.

Vika was ‘enthusiastic’ about the presentation and so there is no need to motivate him. The most appropriate approach here would be to begin with an Involve style, to discover more about his experience and skills. Then, if appropriate, you could switch to a Tell style.

What if, you had seen Vika’s slides before the presentation and they were excellent. Would this have changed your approach?


I ask this question because it highlights the importance of identifying specific skill areas. There is a big difference between creating PowerPoint slides and delivering an engaging presentation. Therefore, when speaking with Vika beforehand, you should be evaluating his skills in 2 areas. It may be that you delegate the production of slides to him but undertake practice sessions to build his presentation delivery skills.