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A short while ago, Charles J. Pellerin, the author of, How NASA Builds Teams: Mission Critical Soft Skills for Scientists, Engineers, and Project Teams, came to Montreal to lead a one-day workshop based on his book. This event was organised with the sponsorship of the PMI-Montreal chapter.

This was a very enlightening day. Charles used his own personal ill-fated story, as the project director for the launch of the Hubble telescope, to get us to travel with him on his journey to the discovery of true leadership. This journey not only got him to redeem himself through an officially 'unauthorised' 60M US$ fix mission to get astronauts to repair the telescope, but also got him to better understand the root of true leadership and design a system to make it happen. This is this system he talks about in his book. This is the system he is now applying as a consultant to NASA teams with radical performance improvements, thoroughly documented, scientifically measured…and all generously and clearly explained to us for our own usage in his amazing book.

His leadership competency model is based on two continuums axes: the Emotional-Logical decision making process continuum and the Intuited-Sensed data preference continuum. Out of the reunion of those two continuums emerge four types of leaders, which are basically characterised as follows:

The cultivating Emotional-Intuitive leader (green): great at giving gratitude, s/he is a people-builder who cares deeply about human beings and creates strong loyalty; the ultimate coach for large very complex projects.

The including Emotional-Sensing leader (yellow): great at making you feel included as a part of the greatest whole, s/he is a team-builder who develops harmonious teams and can mobilise and get the most difficult people to work as a team; the ultimate marketer for large complex projects.

The visioning Logical-Intuitive leader (blue): mastering reality-based optimism and living through complete commitment, s/he is an idea-builder, fond of creative ideas and demanding excellence; the ultimate innovator that can lead research and early phase projects…but might get stuck there.

The directing Logical-Sensing leader (orange): organiser in chief, s/he is a system-builder, highly disciplined, well organised and using reliable processes; the ultimate project 'deliverer and closer' in hard times, putting the task first and meeting the objectives ruthlessly.

Charles goes on, in his book and in his workshops, explaining that the most effective project leaders are those that can lead through their emotions, the 'green' and the 'yellow' ones, because project management is all about teamwork and human relationships, all about journeying together towards a better place for all stakeholders. He also says that, although emotion-driven leaders can always compensate for less logical abilities, by finding good 'blue' and 'orange' team collaborators, the reverse is not possible. So, ultimately, in order to become a very effective project leader, one who does not have innate emotion-driven leadership will have to develop the necessary genuine 'gratifying' and 'including' behaviours to succeed, and be able to handle effectively larger, more complex project teams.

Charles has been using assessments of these leadership competencies to measure leaders' and teams' profiles and behaviours along the two continuums. He has also designed programmes to get teams in NASA and elsewhere to improve their profiles, behaviours and, subsequently, performance in delivering outstanding projects.

I wrote above that Charles Pellerin was very generous in the material he shares in his fabulous book. He is also very generous on his website, How NASA Builds Teams. If you go there and register, you'll get access to some of his presentation PowerPoints. You will also be able to make a free assessment of your individual leadership style as well as a free assessment of your team profile. And, if ever Charles gets to your town for a workshop, just go have a journey into project leadership with him. This man, innately a 'blue' Logical-Sensing guy, has succeeded his transformation into a gratifying, very including man, who will lead you to a better self and coach you to awaken the great project leader you were born to be.

Assignment task

Write a report on the above case that addresses the following issues; and carry out research on project management practice and discuss the ethical implication. 

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The focus of the report has been on the personal ill-fated story where the discovery has been about how the journey has not only been to redeem himself but also understand the importance of leader. It has been seen that there was a Space Shuttle Challenge that led to the failure in the joints that were seen in between the lower segments for the right Solid Rocket Motor. The failure has been a destruction for the seals which also intended to prevent any leakage of the hot gases through joints and burning of the rocket motor. Here, the evidences are assembled by the Commission to indicate about Space Shuttle system and how it contributed towards the failure. 

Leadership Issues

The ineffective leader for the project has issues related to micro-management where the metaphor is about the differences and how the leaders make sure of the organization with unclear objectives. The problems are with frequent direction changes and how the displeasure to work in with directions and objectives seem to change with time [1]. There is a need to plan about the no culture of accountability where team works on helping the organization to achieve the goals. The progress is towards the milestones and overall completion of the dates that needs to be tracked and reviewed based on the regular basis. 

Some of the other issues are about the inconsistency as to how the leaders inspire confidence which is held for the higher standards. The common ineffective leadership trait is to run people over and focus on the selection of good members of the team. There is a need to understand that the leader should work hand-in-hand with the employees and appraise them for their performance. 

Charles has been involved in planning and leading through the emotions mainly because the project management is for the teamwork and maintaining the human relationship. It is about the emotional driven leadership to compensate for the lesser logical abilities and finding better collaborators for the team. Charles has been working on using the assessment with leadership competencies [2]. 

Leadership Styles 

The leadership styles are related to cultivating the emotional intuitive leadership which is about providing the gratitude that involves the deep care about human beings and creating a stronger loyalty. 

Emotional Sensing Leader (Yellow): This involves making a feeling that includes the team building relationship with harmonious teams that can mobilize and get the difficult people to work in a team. 

Visioning the logical intuitive Leader (Blue): They are mainly handling the reality-based optimism and then living with competency that can be involved with idea-builder and creative ideas or demanding excellence. The ultimate innovation can lead to a direct research with proper phase projects. 

Directing the Logical Sensing Leaders (Orange) with organizer in chief and planning about the system building leadership. The role of Charles for the project has been to deliver a closer outlook with putting the tasks first and then meeting the objectives properly [4]. 

Project Success

The motivational leadership is important as it helps in providing the acts as a mentor to the team members with creating and encouraging the atmosphere. It involves the coaching leadership that helps in improving oneself and better team member opportunities where the micro-managing is done effectively. The leadership is defined for working styles that helps in creating a better atmosphere of trust and peace and focus on praising or allowing the poor performance to go uncorrected. The project management is based on creating a balance and developing a leadership with satisfactory results. The styles and traits are mapped through focusing on receiving the results in less time. The leadership position is different where the management is about the processes and systems. The guidance and direction is for the group which involves creating a culture for empowering and to get inspired for a common purpose. The situational leadership adapts to the situations with determining the needs to work as per the effective leadership [3]. The planning is done based on the decisions which are derived from hard data and then focus on the short and the long-term policies as well. The results, efficient and the short-term profitability in the case study have to be handled with working on how NASA build teams to free from problems. The emotional driven leaders can always work on compensating with lesser logical abilities and finding better collaborators for the team. The one with non-innating emotion riven leadership will have to look for developing a better and a gratifying behaviour to properly succeed for a larger management of complex project teams [5]. 

Ethical Issues

The ethical issue has been about the delay in the mission with lifting off the scheduled planning of the flight. The mission was also delayed due to the weather, launching the processing problems and handling the failures of equipment. This is also mainly due to the hardware interface module problems where NASA had to involve with selling the Space Shuttle Programs to Congress. NASA managers are undeniably under the pressure for launch without any further delays [6]. According to the case study, the space shuttle had seen a major loss with adding costs in moral terms of the crew death and the suspension cost of the entire program was there with rational managers judging the risks

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