This paper contains a leadership plan developed for the MedResearch project management team. The rapid advancements in the clinical research industry and the new opportunities for the company required the efficient operation of all its functional divisions. The team operation was additionally complicated by the ongoing pandemic restrictions and limited abilities for personal communication. The planned development was based on thorough research of the current team status, which included both key performance indicators and subjective assessments of the work environment. It was also supplemented by a survey intended to evaluate primary motivation factors and job satisfaction levels. Its results demonstrated the need for modifying the current approach towards interaction within the team. The proposed extension of communication channels and increased use of intrinsic motivation means will provide significant benefits for the company operation without placing an additional financial burden on it.
A leadership plan is a crucial tool for summarizing any team’s current state, analyzing its possible drawbacks and deviations from the desirable performance, and preparing a set of further actions to address them. For MedResearch, operating in the rapidly changing and highly competitive area of clinical research, it is essential to have a comprehensive view of the existing situation and development strategies of all its functional divisions. The leadership plan provided in this paper will assist in coping with the present deficiencies, improving the overall team performance, and preparing it for the upcoming challenges and modifications.
Current Team Status
Team Overview and Primary Activities
The team under review is the contract management team, a functional division within the contracting department. It is responsible for a comprehensive set of activities, starting from selecting a new contractor upon a customer’s request and lasting until the full completion of the associated research. Currently, the team is conducting four major projects, each of which is related to a specific customer and includes a variable number of investigations and sites conducting them. The average project completion level is 60%, with one of the projects approaching its termination. Therefore, major team activities are related to the ongoing support and execution of the previously concluded agreements without the significant need for conducting new market research. The current situation allows team members to succeed in fulfilling their duties but provokes a certain level of stagnation in terms of further career development.
The contract management team is made up of fourteen employees, including the team leader, seven contract associates, four on-site monitoring specialists, a lawyer, and a secretary. The team leader is in charge of the overall coordination of activities within the team and of arranging cooperation with other functional units. Over half of the members joined the team less than two years ago, and do not have sufficient experience fulfilling the initial contracting tasks. An additional complication is the fact that on-site monitoring specialists, who are the most experienced ones, work mostly at their respective investigator facilities. Therefore, the communication inside the team is mainly based on remote channels, and direct interaction between its members is relatively limited.
According to the company plans, the contract management team is currently supposed to take the leading role in a new major project under a contract recently concluded with a major pharmaceutical company. MedResearch has never worked with a given customer before, and the studies being launched are supposed to become among the largest in its history. They will require significant adjustment of internal company processes and extensive cooperation, the arrangement of which falls in the area of responsibility of the project management team.
Team Merits and Flaws
Job performance efficiency
Evaluation of the current level of job performance demonstrates that the team is capable of coping with the tasks it faces in most cases. The employees express a sufficient level of punctuality and dedication to the work being performed. The relatively few cases of missed deadlines are generally attributed to external factors, which are not under team control. They include an inappropriate attitude of third-party investigators to their duties along with logistical and transportation delays. The situation is substantially impaired by the recent pandemic and the imposed measures to counter it. This is especially true for those cases, where international cooperation is required since many foreign research sites are still under lockdown. Another weak point in the generally successful performance is the team’s ability to cope with nontypical tasks. The insufficient work experience of many members and lack of essential knowledge and skills makes it necessary for them to ask for assistance. This requires transferring the most complicated assignments to other functional divisions within the company.
Employee motivation and moral aspects
Although the high level of punctuality is a sign of strong overall motivation and morale, this aspect required a particular study in light of the upcoming changes. For this purpose, an anonymous survey was conducted among the team members using the questionnaire provided in Appendix A. The obtained results revealed several issues deserving specific attention. First, a relatively low score was given as an evaluation of senior management’s readiness to fulfill the needs of the employees. This poses a significant hazard as such a communication gap can be the primary reason for degraded trust and respect towards company management and reduced overall motivation level (Shaban et al., 2017). Another important finding is that more experienced members tend to prefer autonomous work separating their performance from the results of the entire team. This shows that fostering increased cooperation and bridging the gap between the experience levels of various employees is an urgent task for the team leader.
Personal leadership strengths and setbacks
As a team leader, I need to realize and take into account my leadership strengths and styles along with the possible drawbacks. Historically, I have mostly worked with highly experienced teams, the missions of which required working together to solve complex tasks. Therefore, I am good at finding and allocating the necessary resources, arranging joint work intended to reach the goal, and motivating employees who are willing to develop their professionalism further. Consequently, such teams did not require much mentoring, and their new members were fully assisted by their colleagues. Thus, in some cases, I may be excessively strict and demanding with apprentices expecting them to reach the goals which are inaccessible to them. Besides, the need to pay attention to routine tasks and verify their correct execution is likely to occupy a significant share of my time distracting from keeping the overall situation under control. Therefore, the main challenge for me is to find the right balance between the numerous tasks and maintain a favorable atmosphere among team members considering their unequal professional levels.
Team Development Limitations
Reviewing the possible team development options, it is necessary to take into account the existing limitations and factors that are not under a leader’s control. Nowadays, the major portion of such aspects is related to the ongoing pandemic, which significantly restricts regular company operations. First, the team composition can not be changed since all hiring processes in the company have been suspended. Second, monetary motivation means are limited to the required minimum and mostly include redistribution of funds between functional divisions without additional financing. Finally, the traditional team-building events, which usually include collective journeys and weekend entertainment, currently pose an unreasonable hazard for people and their families. Since the duration of all these effects remains unclear, the team development strategies being proposed should be limited to the currently available options.
Primary Directions for Team Development
Based on the preceding review of the current situation, the main goal of the leadership plan is to create a team fully capable of coping with upcoming tasks using internal resources and extensive cooperation. As a result of the proposed measures, the less experienced members should achieve the required level of professionalism, and their senior colleagues should be more willing to cooperate. The actions needed to achieve these goals should include mitigating the identified flaws and getting the new qualifications desired for the upcoming project.
Mitigation of Existing Drawbacks
Improvement of communication
One of the critical improvement directions lies in enhancing communication between team members and their management. Since it is impossible to conduct general meetings to transmit the messages relevant to all employees, an intranet portal will be used for this purpose. The crucial task in this regard is defining who should get any information so that the employees do not get overwhelmed (Grosse & Loftessness, 2017). Posting the generally applicable data on the portal and sending personalized emails containing the information pertinent only to specific departments would be the right solution. Besides, it is vital to introduce personal one-on-one meetings, which constitute the best way for “managers to listen to concerns from ICs and provide guidance and feedback” (Grosse & Loftessness, 2017, p. 219). Such meetings will cover the existing communication gap between employees and senior management providing a reliable feedback channel within the organization. The combination of all these measures will ensure the improvement of communication within the team.
Prospective employee motivation
For employees’ motivation, both extrinsic and intrinsic measures will be applied with specific attention paid to the latter. Based on the survey, satisfaction with the job performed and desire to achieve the high quality of the results are among the key motivational factors for the core team members. As a leader, I will demonstrate my appreciation by providing unbiased and positive feedback and by disseminating the data on the most prominent achievements among the employees. In addition, all proposals raised by team members will be thoroughly reviewed and implemented if feasible. This will contribute to their sense of involvement in the company development and inspire them to put forward their ideas and suggestions. Another step in enhancing the overall motivation will be assigning senior members as mentors for their younger colleagues. Thus, the more experienced ones will get an opportunity to transfer their skills and get praised for it. Finally, granting rewards for specific accomplishments will be another sign of recognition and will encourage them to devote additional efforts to the company’s benefit.
Preparation for the Upcoming Project
As stated before, the upcoming project is going to be a major one and require significant involvement of the team. Therefore, specific preparation and development of the new qualifications are necessary. The improved cooperation will allow relieving some key employees from their daily routine and let them dedicate their time to specialized training courses. Then, they will transmit their new knowledge to other team members, enabling the team to get prepared for the new task without disruptions in its current activities.
The leadership plan proposed hereby contains a thorough review of the current team status and the desirable directions of its development. The analysis of the primary team activities and the challenges it is going to face demonstrated the need for introducing motivation and communication modifications. The application of a more personalized approach and enhancement of internal team interaction will increase work efficiency and improve employees’ attitudes towards their company. Therefore, the implementation of this leadership plan will be beneficial for the team and allow it to meet and exceed the requirements stated by the senior management.
Grosse, A., & Loftessness, D. (2017). Scaling teams: Strategies for building successful teams and organizations. O’Reilly Media.
Shaban, O. S., Al-Zubi, Z., Ali, N., & Alqotaish, A. (2017). The effect of low morale and motivation on employees’ productivity & competitiveness in Jordanian industrial companies. International Business Research, 10(7), 1–7. Web.
Employee Morale and Motivation Questionnaire
- What do you appreciate most in your work?
- I decide myself what to do and how to do it.
- It provides me an opportunity of showing my knowledge and skills.
- I feel helpful to others.
- I am well paid for it.
- I do not see any specific benefits, but the job is familiar to me, and I am accustomed to it.
- Which of the statements below suits you best?
- My work enables me to ensure good living conditions for my family.
- I am the only one making decisions on the aspects related to my work.
- A have got enough experience to cope with any difficulties I may face.
- I always follow the advice of my colleagues and superiors.
- What style of work do you prefer?
- I prefer to do what is familiar to me.
- I am willing to do anything helpful for my company.
- I prefer to know exactly what to do and what I will get for it.
- I want to have new tasks in my job to develop my skills.
- Let’s imagine that you are offered another job at your company. What would be the conditions for you to accept such an offer?
- If I get a higher salary.
- If I get a more exciting and creative job.
- If it is vital for my company.
- If I get more freedom in my work.
- What is your attitude towards teamwork?
- It is essential for me since it allows me to achieve better results.
- I prefer to work on my own, but interaction with interesting people is a good option as well.
- A team limits the freedom of my actions.
- Teamwork shall not replace payments upon individual results.
- How satisfied are you with …? (give a value of 0 to 10, where 10 means completely satisfied)
- Your salary ________
- The diversity of your job duties ________
- Management attitude towards you _________
- The willingness of team members to help you ________
- The readiness of managers to listen to employees and fulfill their needs _________
- If you have any additional remarks or proposals, please, feel free to provide them below.