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Perspectives in monitoring and evaluation leadership

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In a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) environment dominated by co-equals, leadership is thought to offer significant guidance to the practice or operations of an M&E team. Many leadership theories have evolved in response to the effective dealing with the dynamic and complex nature of construction activities and processes. However, there is not much understanding of the attributes, dynamics and context of leadership in the M&E processes. Given that M&E is achieving increasing popularity in the global construction industry, it is thus vital for deeper theoretical and conceptual understanding into leadership attributes, dynamics and context in M&E. The focus of this chapter is on the evolution and leadership styles, the barriers experienced and the means of achieving effective M&E leadership. These insights can serve the basis on which the benefits of effective leadership in M&E for construction project delivery can be enhanced. Leadership competencies such as the ability to inspire others to deliver a task, the collaborative orientation of leaders, exhibiting intelligence and learning agility, practicing accountability and exerting real judgments cannot be overlooked if leadership effectiveness is to be achieved. This is a sure way to improving performance in construction project delivery.


In the M&E of construction projects, different stakeholders, such as consultants (quantity surveyors, architects, engineers), clients, (sub-)contractors and donors with dissimilar interests are brought together to interact with the ultimate objective of achieving project performance indicators within time constraints (Zakaria, Mohamed, Ahzahar & Hashim, 2015). M&E leadership is imperative in the M&E process and is provided at two levels; leadership amongst other key stakeholders and leadership towards labor or artisans. Given this, therefore, leadership is an essential characteristic in the M&E process to ensure improved productivity (Zakaria et al., 2015). Leadership in the M&E of construction projects is traditionally vested in the project manager who may be an individual or a consulting team. He is knowledgeable in construction management and has several

Perspectives in monitoring and evaluation 107

Table 8.1 Catalogue of leadership definitions


Leadership definition

Fiedler (1967: 36)

Burns (1978: 425)

Bennis (1989: 65)

Yuki (1989: 253)

Bass, Bernard & Avolio (1990)

Gardner (1990: 1)

Chemers (1997: 1)

Vroom et al. (2007: 18)

“Leadership is described as directing and coordinating the work of a group.”

“Leadership is the reciprocal process of mobilizing persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political and other resources, in the context of competition and conflict, to realize goals independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers.”

“The capacity to create a compelling vision and translate it into action and sustain it.”

“Leadership involves influencing task objectives and strategies, influencing commitment and compliance in task behavior to achieve these objectives, influencing group maintenance and identification and influencing the culture of an organization.” “The principal dynamic force that motivates and coordinates the organization in the accomplishment of its objectives.”

“Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which an individual (or leadership team) induces a group to pursue objectives held by the leader and his or her followers.”

“Leadership is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.”

“...a process of motivating people to work together collaboratively to accomplish great things.”

Source: Ofori & Toor, 2012

other inherent characteristics and skills. Leadership arguably is as an important factor in construction project progress monitoring (Zakaria et al., 2015) as it is with construction project management (Ofori & Toor, 2012; Panthi, Farooqui &. Ahmed, 2010). The term leadership is omnipresent (Vroom & Jago, 2007) in business and organizational management. However, there is no consensus on a single acceptable definition (Ofori &. Toor, 2012). More conveniently, it has been described in many fields by several scholars. A catalogue of definition on leadership is presented in Table 8.1:

The concept of leadership has evolved over several years while generating enormous debates and in most cases, creating confusion and misunderstanding. In the more recent past, leadership has been defined as a process of inducing the activities of individuals and groups to accomplishing common goals (Koech & Namusonge, 2012; Sharma &. Jain, 2013). Guided by the above definitions, leadership in monitoring and evaluation can therefore be described as a process whereby project managers can influence other stakeholders and labor by directing, coordinating, mobilizing, motivating as well as persuading them in a project environment to achieve project success. However, the leadership in bringing about project success in the M&.E process is not limited to the project manager but also the commitment of all other stakeholders engaged on the project as well as the leadership situation.

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