By Laura English
The nuances and complexities of Program Management can push and pull on leaders’ strengths and comfort zones. The Government Executive article, “Program Management Is Much More Complex Than Many Leaders Understand” proposes that programs can holistically fall into four quadrants – Collaboration, Innovation, Results, and Control and thus leaders must consider the skills and strategies needed to support those approaches. While knowing the category in which their program falls from a broad perspective is useful, leaders would also benefit from considering where their own personal strengths lie in these categories. Self-awareness is one of the key tenants for being a strong leader and it helps be able to build strategies to meet twists, turns and challenges of running programs. If a leader finds that she is adept at collaboration, but the program needs a strong control approach, she would be well served to understand these differences and develop capacity either in herself or through building her team to complement her strengths. Additionally, programs move through phases in each of the quadrants; for example, at the beginning stages of the program innovation and collaboration may be highly valued and once the program is launched results and control may be more valued. One of the best ways to gain self-awareness and to expand growth-oriented approaches is through leadership coaching.
Evans coaches support leaders and take a strength-based approach to helping them understand where they have the most impact as well as building strategies to deal with challenges. The many areas in which leaders have found success with regard to coaching is creating personal development plans, building and empowering teams, engaging stakeholders, developing accountability tactics, and improving communication and employee engagement (to name a few). Understanding the nuances of a program and understanding one’s own leadership nuances helps to develop an agile approach to meeting the complex needs of a program.