One of the benefits of working on large Alliances as a coach is the ability to work with great leaders at all levels of a project. The Alliance model due to its collaborative nature attracts constructive leaders who want to lead teams to deliver great outcomes for their clients.
As a coach you work closely with the Alliance Manager around their leadership and personal development. This is critical in setting the tone from the top around constructive leadership ensuring the shadow that is cast from the Alliance Manager is a constructive one across the Alliance, with key stakeholders and home organisations. It is also important to support the Alliance Manager on this journey as they are put under a lot of pressure to mobilise the team, create the right environment and build positive momentum as we work through the IPAA and PAA phase of the projects.
To get an understanding of where an Alliance Manager is at along their leadership journey, BRS utilises two key tools to assess where an Alliance Manager is at. They are as follows:
- The now defunct Alliancing Association of Australasia (AAA) developed up a fantastic Alliance Manager assessment and identification of key attributes required to be successful in their roles. This is a document that was developed up from research and interviews on many Alliances of Alliance Managers who were performing the role. Our summary from this can be found Report – Alliance Manager – Skills Required – AAA. This document contains the technical, project management and leadership characteristics critical to being successful in the Alliance Manager role. This document allows us to sit down with an Alliance Manager to assess where they think they are at and match this to a confidential 360-degree assessment that is undertaken by direct reports, peers, key stakeholders and PAB/ALT members and managers which is further discussed below.
- The second development tool we utilise is the Leadership Impact tool from Human Synergistics. This 360-degree tool provides an evidence-based assessment normed against other leaders of the constructive impact the Alliance Manager is having and allows us to independently assess what they could do to further improve their constructive impact. The reason for the recommendation around the Leadership Impact tool is to focus on their impact as a leader rather than their style which is covered through the LSI tool (see link at Leadership Impact – Executive development). The ripple effect of an Alliance Manager is significant so they need to have a constructive impact in everything they do.
Once we have worked through the assessment of the Alliance Manager through both the AAA Alliance Manager assessment and the 360 degree Human Synergistics Leadership Impact, we then commence the process of a development plan for the Alliance Manager. This development plan works through the leadership strategies that the Alliance Manager is focused on for a specific timeframe to improve the leadership effectiveness for the benefit for the benefit of themselves and the Alliance.
The commitment to action and being accountable for delivering on the actions is more important than the results of where they are at. Ensuring that the Alliance Manager is given the appropriate support to create the most constructive environment for others to succeed is critical. They also need to be coachable in wanting to continue to learn and improve which sets a positive tone and role model for all leaders on the Alliance to commit to improving their leadership effectiveness.
The other powerful application of the above documents is in the area of succession planning and the development of future Alliances. Working to develop future Alliance Managers in a structured manner is critical given the length and duration of Alliances and also the industry shortage of constructive Alliance Managers who can lead Alliances effectively. This needs to be a priority of infrastructure organisations as well as the industry in general in making sure we have the right leaders to lead Alliances in the future.