2nd March 2020



Leading by Example


Leadership is changing. The skills we now associate with modern leadership have changed from a traditional command and control model of the leader as hero to one that is more about distributed leadership (reflecting the role of leadership behaviour from those involved at every level in a project); the servant leader or the leader as facilitator.

But the context of how we see leadership in major projects is changing too, as the new organizational priorities (ranging from managing complexity and uncertainty to managing equality, diversity and inclusion) are reflected in in the role and behaviour of the leader.

The following resources reflect some of the insight available in the Major Projects Knowledge Hub to reflect these themes.

Leadership skills and styles

Five Transitions for Effective Project Leadership

The work of the John Grill Centre for Project Leadership over the last five years with senior project leaders as part of their Executive Leadership in Major Projects program suggests that ‘getting a bigger toolbox’ is about expanding your cognitive and emotional capacity to deal with tough project challenges. This may require a shift in the way you look at yourself and the world you live in, and can have a significant impact on your effectiveness as a project leader of major or complex projects.

Crossrail Leadership Development Programme

This micro report provides an overview of Crossrail’s approach to leadership development. The report concludes: the importance of ensuring targeting invitation to participate in the programme; establishing clear rules for engagement; facilitator consistency; and make a recommendation to future projects to consider including integrated partners in leadership development programmes.


Complexity and Uncertainty

Between Planned and Emergent Change: Decision Maker’s Perceptions of Managing Change in Organizations

Today’s business environment is increasingly complex, interconnected, unpredictable, competitive. Within this context, decision makers struggle to find some stability amidst uncertainty, using planned change methods while being aware of the need for flexibility and agility to leverage emergent change and survive. It is this tension between the desire for continuity and the experience of emergence in change processes that this paper addresses.

The Art of Brilliance: A Handbook for Leaders of Transformation Programmes

The Art of Brilliance unpacks the behavioural characteristics of highly successful leaders of transformation programmes. It brings to life the everyday challenges of leading complex transformations in a succinct and helpful aid.


Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Where are the Women in Major Projects Leadership

The aim for this research was to bring together different schools of thought on the topic of gender and leadership, applying it to the context of project management and megaproject leadership in the UK. The report reviews the status gender balance in UK megaprojects and brings in ideas from sociology, psychology, gender theory and leadership models. In doing so, the authors present the argument for adopting a different approach to gender balance that goes beyond fixing the numbers. They argue that gender balance should be part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility, as UK major projects have a remit to improve societal transformation. Gender balance initiatives should do more than ‘fix women’ for leadership roles, but also work to assess and revise workplace culture.

Equality and Diversity Strategy

Crossrail is a diverse organisation that over its lifetime will bring approximately 55,000 people together from many different backgrounds and employers. This paper discusses Crossrail’s approach to managing equality and diversity across the programme whilst ensuring getting the right people for the right job. It describes the development of the Equality and Talent Strategy and how it was embedded across the project.