The Context

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Your organisation, Alpha Inc, has been selected to integrate, manage and operate a complete end-to-end logistics solution for a large retail organisation, Acme Stores. 

This is an extremely high profile contract within your organisation. It is considered essential that there is a fast, efficient start to the project as several other retail corporations are about to award substantial contracts.

You are in charge of setting up the stores’ stock management systems. You have worked with Alpha, in a different country, for five years, always in stock management services. This project is the most complex project that you have had to manage.

Your team is drawn from existing Alpha staff who have been temporarily seconded to the project. Although you are not their line manager, you have day-to-day control over their work.

In the following topics, you will encounter different scenarios related to this situation. Each scenario is intended to highlight a particular leadership principle or approach. 

[Note: there are always issues with scenarios because they are simply a sketch of a situation. Real-life is more complex and you often have more information. When you read the scenarios, you may have a completely different perspective on the issues than I had intended – and that’s fine! This isn’t about right and wrong answers. The scenarios are a means to an end – to help you to think more deeply about leadership from a number of perspectives. End of Disclaimer!]

For each scenario:

  • identify the issues
  • decide on the appropriate leadership approach

Keep in mind the fundamental principles underpinning our approach:

  • leaders adapt their behaviours to the needs of the individual in each context:
    • this means treating people differently – because they are different and each context is different
    • this means treating the same person differently at different times – because their needs vary from context to context
  • effective leaders focus on immediate productivity and development
  • leadership is a partnership
  • continuous monitoring and regular performance reviews are an integral part of leadership; a leader is flexible and adapts to shifts in circumstances and the changing needs of individuals

When I share my thoughts, I will tend to focus on a particular issue, though there will certainly be others that are relevant.

Let’s move onto the first scenario with Vika …