The Royal Engineer Regiment (RER), being one of the combat support arms in the Malaysian Army has the role and tasks of assisting the Army in the field of engineering. This paper will highlight the command and control of RER Interpersonal Leadership in the construction projects management. The main role and task of RER is to carry out major construction tasks including improvement and maintenance beyond the capabilities of the Regiment or any engineering organization. There is normally an army engineer officer at all levels of command to advise the commander on engineering requirements
Project management for engineering and construction presents the principles and techniques of managing engineering and construction projects from the owner’s study through design and construction to completion. It emphasizes project management during the early stages of project development because the ability to influence the quality, cost, and schedule of a project can best be achieved during the early stage of command and control. This paper will focus on the mental side of RER leadership for handling construction projects rather than the technology side of the projects. This paper integrates interpersonal dynamic of army engineer leadership dominating personal power enhancing numerous examples, experiences and comments to illustrate the material presented in the text. We will learn from the leaders of the past whose behaviors and actions shape our ever-changing world. Most important, is transformational of leadership approaches are the “secret” behind the success of our greatest leaders or the powerful Islamic teaching arouse the personal competence and loyalty? The intended audience of this paper is not limited to the today army leaders but for leaders of tomorrow who will hopefully benefit from the lessons of this research paper as they face the challenges of globalization in an increasingly interconnected world. With the discussions and illustrations, this paper is led through the multifunctional professionalism and confidence of RER linking the components of a project into a comprehensive work plan to guide the entire project to successful completion.
In my opinion, there’s something quite different between army engineer
leaders and civilian engineer leaders. An army engineer leaders must be able to handle multiples tasks. These groups work together in a superior-subordinate concept for command positions and formal leadership for engineering project management. All leaders take similar oaths upon entry to the Army. From day one, new Second Lieutenants are thrust into positions of significant responsibility. As a young nineteen to twenty-two years old leader, they are directly responsible for thirty to fifty-four soldiers. AsRER officers progress through the ranks, they continue to develop their leadership in RER design and construction projects. As a result, they will be given positions of increased responsibility and can eventually lead 120 to 318 soldiers. Where else would a young engineer with only a few years experience have the skill set to lead that many people? The corporate world, engineering consultant or construction would rarely ever let a new engineer university graduate supervise 30 people. In fact, some army engineer officers take their both technical expertise and army leadership skills and leave the RER. Their technical and army leadership skills are in such high demand, they can easily market themselves in the corporate world.
As an army engineer officer, our duties will be diverse but extremely important. Army Engineer leadership is based on a concept of duty, service and perhaps importantly self-sacrifice. To join the army, we must pass a physical examination and sign the enlistment contract. With the enlistment contract, we’ll agree to certain options such as the time frame of our active duty and our enlistment date. All army engineers participate in a course that introduces them to life as a soldier. The basic combat training centre at Kolej Tentera Darat and Pusat Asas Latihan Tentera Darat are a part of our course, will teach the same skills that are taught to other soldiers, so we will be prepared to fire weapons, engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, stay in good physical shape and otherwise succeed in a combat situation.
As an Army field engineer (Jurutera Medan), we will work in a team to ensure that units don’t have mobility problems when completing missions. We view our obligations to followers as a moral responsibility and we teach this value priority to junior leaders. We will be responsible for performing constructing bridges, demolition, clear routes, generating electrical power, constructing obstacles to serve as defense positions and training our team members including administrations, but our exact duties will vary from day to days. Our training will teach the skills we need to do our job as safely as possible. A useful skill to have and to become an army engineer is LEADERSHIP. We should be able to make quick and focused decisions to successfully complete our mission. Also, we need to be confident, intelligent, self-disciplined and enterprising.
Army Field Engineering Institute or Institut Kejuruteraan Medan Tentera Darat (IKEM) role is to train all officers and soldiers in the RER as well as officers and other ranks from the Army in engineer related courses. With that concept in mind, IKEM developed a modular concept built around engineer staff/technical courses. IKEM was designed to train staff officer skills specialise in the field of engineering and these will allow the mind to better absorb and understand concepts and thus increase overall retention and depth of knowledge to the Army engineer. One of the keys to our success has been the many ideas, comments and concerns from the field. The diversity of the RER requires multiple assignments oriented training opportunities for its officers. Exposure to multiple and diverse jobs will provide breadth to an officer’s knowledge. Just as the Army Engineer transforms to the Objective Force to meet the challenges of the 21st century security environment, so too must the Army transform its education system to train and educate the leaders who will command and control that force. The Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) is the first university in Malaysia that provided for the country’s need in modern armed forces educations transformation. The university is fully a military university. There are 11 courses that are offered and these are balance of the fields in management, sciences and engineering. But aside from the academics, the students though are graded through their military leadership and physical fitness. These changes seek to provide the right education in the right medium to the right leader at the right time and place.
The RER must have an ability to read a changing situation and react fastest. The adage “first in, last out ”aptly applies to its significance and manifestation of its importance in supportingthe Army in discharging its roles. During my short 17 years of army engineer experience, I’ve had the opportunity to serve with several dynamic leaders. These leaders all possessed similar traits such as vision, leadership, decisiveness, technical and tactical expertise, intelligence and compassion. I’ve taken bits and peaces from each leader and formed my very own leadership style.A commander must be a motivated achiever with a “can do” attitude.
RER commanders’ qualities are formed in a progressive and sequential series of carefully planned training, educational, and experiential. RER project management requires a multi-discipline focus to coordinate the overall needs of a project with reliance on others to provide the technical expertise. RER commander must be able to delegate authority and responsibility to others and still retain focus on the linking process between disciplines. RER Commander cannot become overly involved in detailed tasks or take over the discipline they are educated in, but should focus on the project objectives.
The RER project includes both construction and major repair/maintenance project. RER construction project is defined as all military construction work or any contribution authorized necessary to produce a complete and useable facility or a complete and useable improvement to an existing facility. Generally, construction includes:
utility connections and installed equipment.
Repair or maintenance project means to restore a real property facility, system or component to such a condition that it may effectively be used for its designated functional purpose. When repairing a facility, the components of the facility may be repaired by replacement and such replacement may be up to current standards or codes.
RER project practice may be construction only or a combination of design and construction. A project consists of three components: scope, budget and schedule. When a project first assigned to a commander, it is important that three of these components be clearly defined. Scope represents the work to be accomplished, for example, the quantity and quality of work. Budget refers to costs and schedule refers to the logical sequencing and timing of the work to be performed. The quality of a project must meet the owner’s satisfaction and is an integral part of project management as illustrated in figure 1.
Figure 1 is shown as an equilateral triangle to represent an important principle of RER project management. Any increase in the scope of work requires a corresponding increase in budget and schedule. Conversely, any decrease in scope of work results in a corresponding decrease in budget and schedule. For example, any adjustment in budget and/or schedule requires a corresponding adjustment in scope. It is the duty of an engineer commander to ensure that the project scope, budget, and schedule are linked together.
Budgeting is important because it establishes the amount of money the owner will spend to obtain the project and the amount of money that the design and construction organizations will be compensated for performing the work. The construction phase is important because most of the project budget is expended during construction. Also, the operation and maintenance of the completed project is highly dependent on the quality of work that is performed during construction. Quality is an element that is integrated into and between all parts of a project: scope, budget and schedule.
Today, project management has reached a maturity level in which it is applied in the RER building and construction projects.
The research will analyze the interpersonal dynamic of RER leaders and its relationship between his leadership and RER management in the construction project, as showing in the figure 2
The research will cover the following objectives:
RER moves forward into the 21st century to meet the challenges of a changing strategic and operational landscape. RER commanders’ qualities are formed in a progressive and sequential series of carefully planned training, educational, and experiential. Commander in such circumstances must be led in ways that inspire, rather than require, trust and confidence to hold high levels of responsibility. When followers have trust and confidence in a dynamic commander, they are transformed into willing, rather than merely compliant, agents. Much of the leadership practiced in today’s Army achieves compliance from followers. Unfortunately, the compliance is not enough. The process of influencing follower’s behaviors accomplished the commander’s goal by pushing them in the panic button.
Some RER projects end, either as a casualty because of excessive cost and/or schedule overrun, or failure to accomplish their performance expectations. Engineering situations had enforced some engineer leaders bringing strong technical skills to the job site, but few possess the management skills it takes to successful coordinate the many phases of a construction projects. Also some current army engineer officers required technical engineering skills improvement initiative for supporting their expertise to plan and organise each stage of the projects. These lack of managerial and technical expertise is often the underlying reason for project delay, excessive spending, and ultimately dissatisfied. The significance of this paper is to help us be more effective in leadership situations by helping us better understand the complex challenges of commander command and control in RER.
Indeed, there are a few books and articles that gave a brief account on the activities related to the research which provide to be useful for the literature review in the preparation of this study. Some of the literatures reviewed are listed below:
a. Achieving Effective Performance for Unit Commanders written by Brig Gen Abdullah bin Babu, Lt Col Allatif Mohd Noh and Lt Col A.Endry Nixon published by Ministry of Defence Malaysia, 2002. This book explained the development of human resource, organization, information of technology, logistic, policies and instruction become the sinews of a more professionally focused and pragmatic Army driven by knowledge. It also provides insights and suggestive tools for commanders to use astutely as a competitive advantage in their pursuance for effective performance.
b. Management i n Engineering: Principle and Practice Second Edition written by Gail Freeman-Bell and James Balkwill by Prentice Hall, 1996.
This book presents the principle and techniques of managing engineering and construction projects from the conceptual phase, through design and construction and to completion. Much of the information in this book is based on formal and informal discussions with these project managers who are actively involved in the practice of project management. It information’s related to the research where it has common elements of effective project management that have been successfully applied in practice.
c. Total Construction Project Management written by George J. Ritz by McGraw-Hill Inc, 1994. This book is designed to give a construction manager the essential tools to survive and prosper in a highly competitive environment. Its significance in developing construction management and technology skills where both of it parallel paths to total construction management. It also emphasizes the person who is in responsible charge of the field activities must practice total construction project management to meet their project and personal goals. In the RER, the mental side of constructions management is frequently been used. Thus, this book is extremely beneficial to this research.
d. Military Review The Professional Journal of The United State-Leadership, August 1994. This journal is review about World War II almanac. The author discussed about the theory of leadership where provided unique perspectives on leadership in both traditional and nontraditional applications that have much to offer to those who would lead. The authors also present their views on the rule of law and human right where there are a few issues that need to be addressed.
e. Manual Procedure of Regiment Engineer Regiment (MP 4.1.1 TD). This manual provided sufficient information for staff and commanders at all levels in the course of their planning with regard to employment and deployment of engineers. There are three parts in this manual which are Organization, Command and Employment of Engineers as a Part One, Conduct of Battle as a Part Two and Engineer Operations as a Part Three. Each part had clarified briefly any matters of engineer needs to fulfilled its roles and functions.
This paper sources limited to the common RER construction projects through my personal thoughts and opinions on the management aspect. This paper is designed primarily, offer just one person’s views on how to be a better army engineer and commander. There are a limited numbers of publications by the Services on the subject.As an army engineer officer is under the rules to be safeguard of all information that maintained by the Government of Malaysia as defense strategic and security . It is not to be divulged to a non-security organization unless authorized by the Ministry of Defence. It is also not to be used for other than military purpose and it is strictly not to be released to another country without the consent of the Ministry of Defence. Hence, the appointment for discussions will depend on the time availability of correspondents.
The research methodology is based on the lessons of the past leaders features. As an army engineer experience in working with numbers of construction projects in the RER much of the information in this research is based on formal and informal discussions with these project army engineer officers and commanders, who are actively, involved in the practice of RER construction projects. A common example is used throughout this research to illustrate the project management.
Secondary data and information were uses as qualitative methodology with source from Al- Qur’an and Hadis, books and articles in journals found in the libraries. Besides, the study also utilized the facility offered by the Internet, which is a rich minefield of information recent on views, issues and updates.
The paper is divided into five chapters. Chapter One begins by interpreting interpersonal dynamic. Next, discuss of project leadership that is importance because commander states that leadership is not a property of the individual but a complex relationship among many variables. Finally, defines general principles related to project management and presenting RER major constructions, improvement and maintenance project review role of Engineer Command and Control. The basic principles must be fully understood because many of the problems associated with project management are caused by failure to apply them.
Chapter Two seeks to propagate the idea that interpersonal dynamic from an islamic perspective. Defining personal power of commander as the capacity or potential to exert influence and influence tactics as the degree of change in a person’s attitudes, values or behaviors. Take the example of the story of Salahudin Al-Ayubi’s victory in the re-capture of Jerusalem; the powerful religious dimensions of the army engineer should arouse the personal competence and loyalty (jihad fi-sabilillah).
Chapter Three begin to discuss the important of personal management skill to be a good planner, delegator and communicator with the progress of the battle of Badr commanded by the Prophet Muhammad SAW. RER leadership must set priorities and develop a system to manage time. Next, this paper is highlight the successful project management can best be described as effective communications between the people who perform the work that is necessary to complete the projects. Finally, stress on the important of construction phase because the quality of the completed project is highly dependent on the workmanship and management of construction.
Chapter Four focus on major conditions that must be present for building effective project teams where it’s becoming increasingly more important. Taken a lesson from the battle of Uhud, Engineer commander have to organize and manage their teams across organizational lines. This paper considerable attention has been given to the Total Quality Management (TQM) concept that emphasizes teamwork at all levels of an organization to improve the quality of the project and achieve maximum customer satisfaction.
Chapter Five concludes that RER leaders has a duty to perform, preserve and enhance the unity, strength, tranquility and development of society through interpersonal dynamic and highlights the project management countermeasure as an important point of reference for improvement projects planned for the future. One of the most important points in this chapter is situational engineering which manages the interaction between the leader, the followers and the situations with a high level of lateral interdependence.
Power is like a coin. It has two sides. One side is the official authority or legal power that is given to an individual who is occupying an organizational position of RER such as Engineer Commander. On the other side of the power is the influence that an individual has with regard to the organization of RER. The first sides of power stated in this chapter are legitimate power, personal power, expert power and referent power. The second side cannot be delegated. It depends on the knowledge, skills and attitudes of the individual and the competency that there are able to develop and sustain in the management of the project and in their dealings with the higher commander in RER. Most failures in the management of the projects are as follows:
Leaders who can reward and punish followers may have a greater capacity to influence followers than those leaders who cannot use rewards or punishments. Legitimate power depends on a person’s organizational role. Legitimate power means a leader has authority because he has been assigned a particular role in an organization. For example, in military the colonel can order compliance with uniform standards. However, follower or situational characteristics may diminish a leader’s potential to influence followers as when the leader has less his personal power.
Expert Power is the power of knowledge. Knowledge has always been of paramount importance as a source of development. In the military profession, it is extremely important to be aware of the continuous changes in military affair. The RER needs to equip itself with relevant knowledge and skills to face these complex challenges. Powerful individuals enhance learning from experiences.
One way to counteract the problems stemming from a lack of expertise is to build strong interpersonal ties with subordinates. Referent power refers to the behavior and religion practices together have due to the strength of the relationship between the leader and the subordinates. When subordinates admirer a leader and see him as a role model, he has referent power.
The story of Salahudin Al-Ayubi’s victory in the re-capture of Jerusalem is an important part of history that Muslims must study. However, in studies on the history victories in the crusades, figurism or heroism in the army is emphasized. This is not necessarily the better approach. Such an approach distracts us from the real illnesses present among Muslims, which become the reason for our defeat waiting for the distances a person from the role that he should be playing even while waiting for the appearance of a leader figure to bring about solutions to problems. To quote Salahudin Al-Ayubi as an example:
“Salahuddin Al Ayyubi was born to an aristocratic family in Tikrit (Kurdistan-Iraq) in 1138 CE. His education was simple: the Qur’an, Hadith, some mathematics, law, literature, genealogy: of men and horses. Initially, he did not seem to have any special interest in military sciences. In 1169 at the age of 31, he was appointed both Commander-in-chief of the Syrian troops and vizier of Egypt. He was the Muslim ruler of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine and one of the most famous of Muslim heroes. Salahuddin was 26 when was sent as a commander to aid the Fatimid rulers of Egypt against the Crusaders who were joined by a unit of the Egyptian army. In wars against the Christian crusaders, he achieved final success with the disciplined capture of Jerusalem (Oct. 2, 1187), ending its 88-year occupation by the Franks. The great Christian counterattack of the Third Crusade was the stalemated by Salahuddin’s remarkable leadership and military brilliance. He had a great love for Islam and he tried hard to root out the Crusaders. For this purpose, he maintained a strong army. To Salahuddin, Jihad started from the inside. He had to watch himself and his aids and soldiers to make sure that they behaved in compliance with Devine commandments in all spheres of life, spiritual, moral and material. Hence, when his advisor suggested to him, why do you not save the money you give in charity to the poor and religious teachers, and spend it in our war efforts? Salahuddin replied: I could not do that because the prayers of poor people and religious teachers were such a source of strength in wars”.
UsingSalahuddin Al Ayyubi as a role model of leadership, it is indeed time for the RER leadership to carry out a serious introspection and internal correction of oneself. Leaders must be aware of how good they can perform and how their behavior affects the performance. A leader may need to change his behavior before trying to change the behavior of his subordinates. Salahuddin’s singleness of purpose induced his subordinates to rearm both physically and spiritually. Salahuddin’s every act was inspired by edifying works especially on the jihad itself. Salahuddin’s personal power in religion practice and moralities had won the hearts of his subordinates, so that he could accomplished his goal. Today, the RER leadership uses the approaches of getting work done through fear, or centralizing decision making, or decentralizing decision making, and some even allow the group to establish its own goals and make its own decisions. By using these approaches, do not mean the goal is cannot accomplish but they may separates harmonizes environments between the leaders and subordinates.
Our current generation has so much to learn from Salahuddin. But first let us remind ourselves that history generally tells us about the bravery and leadership of commanders of war and rulers. Islamic History taught in school also tells us of the bravery and the rule of Islamic leaders, from the honourable Prophet Muhammad SAW to the fall of Islam in Ottoman Turkey. This finally created awareness among the people that in fighting for the Islamic cause, they should begin with the local power struggle.
In the RER construction project this matter may affect the quality of work performance that will be presented project results as shown in Appendix A. The RER leadership must also prepare to take a new direction to explore and study some of the traits relate physical factor, some abilities, many to personalities and social characteristics to support the roles of activity, intelligence, knowledge, dominance and self-confidence. May be we can begin to learn and practice the first step by taking the example of Salahuddin which through assertive moral rejuvenation to fit a genuine part of own way of life.
Influence tactics are the actual behaviors used by a leader to change the attitudes, opinions, or behaviors of a target person. Commanders who have only legitimate power may be able to use only legitimizing, pushing or pressure tactics to influence his subordinates. Don’t threaten or don’t push them in the panic button. I know it’s done by some of our leaders, but I don’t go for it. If people are running scared or tension, they’re not going to make the good job or the right decisions. They’ll make the job or decisions to please the commander rather than recommend what has to be done. Commander should attempts to get in a good mood before making a request. People typically use soft tactics when they’re at a disadvantage, when they aspect resistance or when they will personally benefit if the attempt is successful. People typically use rational tactics (logical arguments or factual evidence) when parties are relatively equal in power and when resistance is not anticipated.
Some leaders are able to influence others through their relative expertise in particular areas. We may not have state of the art technology or weapons in the region but having the best interpersonal leader who can think critically, analytically and professionally would make a difference in the management of the project. Soldiers who have been in combat or project before are valued for the lessons learned and wisdom they can share with others. Because expert power is a function of the amount of knowledge one possesses relative to the rest of the members of the group, it is possible for followers to have considerably more expert power than leaders in certain situations. For example, new RER officer often possess less knowledge of the jobs and task performed in a particular work unit than the followers do. In this case, the followers can potentially wield considerable influence when decisions are made regarding work procedures, new equipment or the hiring of additional workers. Probably the best advice for leaders in this situation is to ask a lot of questions and perhaps seek additional training to help fill this knowledge gap.
Referent power is a way to counteract the problems stemming from a lack of expertise with build strong interpersonal ties with subordinate. Referent power also is in terms of the role friendships play in making things happen. For example, many people get jobs based on who they know, not what they know. Referent power often takes time to develop. Furthermore, it can have a downside in that a desire to maintain referent power may limit a leader’s actions in particular situations. Leaders who may not enjoy their role may want to seek positions where they have fewer supervisory responsibilities. Because leaders with relatively high amounts of referent power have built up close relationships with followers, they may be more able to use a wide variety of influence tactics to modify the attitudes and behaviors of their followers. For example, leaders with a lot of referent power could use inspirational appears, consultations, personal appears and exchanges to increase the amount of time a particular follower spends doing work related activities. However, the leaders with a high referent power generally do not use legitimizing or pressure tactics to influence followers since by threatening followers, leaders risk some loss of referent power.
“Salahuddin established peace and prosperity throughout the country. He started by rectifying the corrupt conditions of his state. His first target was to clean the government from corrupt elements and the heads of treachery, some of whom he caught
red-handed”. “From the beginning, many prejudiced Egyptian ministers disliked him. When they saw he was winning the hearts of the Egyptian people they did many conspiracies against him but due to Salahuddin’s wisdom, they were defeated. With his growth in power and prestige, he was envied by Sultan Nuruddin, who was unhappy that Salahuddin was not following his instructions to the point. But Salahuddin kept the growing rift low. In the meanwhile the Crusaders were feeling seriously concerned about Salahuddin.
Now a complicated situation emerged involving the Abbasid ruler Mustanjid who expected Salahuddin to depose the Fatimid ruler, while Salahuddin wished to remain loyal to him, maintaining good relations with Nuruddin as well as Mustanjid. Yet, on his part he had realized that without a combined strength of the Muslims of Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the Crusaders would not be evicted for good. He successfully won two battles and cleared the Crusaders from areas which could attack him from the rear if he advanced toward Jerusalem (Baitulmaqdis), freeing which was his final goal. When the Fatimid caliph Al Aziz died, Salahuddin became the ruler of Egypt. When Salahuddin took over Damascus the people opened the gates of the city to him and greeted him warmly.
The Crusaders were not happy by Salahuddin’s increasing power and success. Uniting their forces, they planned a decisive attack on Muslim area. Battle of Hittin took place. Muslims won under the leadership of Salahuddin. Thousands of Crusaders were arrested. Salahuddin treated the prisoners with tolerance. On Friday 27th Rajab 583 AH, Salahuddin entered Jerusalem. After entering the city they went straight to the Mosque and cleaned it. Then for the first time in more then 80 years, the people of Jerusalem heard the Azan (call of prayer) from Al Aqsa Mosque”.
Salahuddin concentrated on unifying the Muslims, as a prerequisite to fighting the enemies. He accurately analyzed the correct way to liberate Islamic lands from the foreign presence. Before engaging with the enemy he imposed his dominance on all the smaller government. Salahuddin’s achievements, his work ethics, his characters were exemplary. Salahuddin’s personalities, compassion and chivalry have attracted the world towards him rather than his victory. In today’s environment, where it is necessary, the RER leadership should have extraordinarily patient, encourage, demand, manipulate, using simple politics like Salahuddin Al-Ayubi. When there is a leadership, there is a team, there is a family and there is unity. During first month on the job, a lot of time is spent establishing where the project is and what plans should be established to get the project moving. It can be difficult for an individual to learn fast enough to develop a sound leadership approach. It would also be difficult to build a network quickly enough to effectively manage the project. In setting the plans, RER leaders should allocate significant time and effort to begin developing a network of cooperative relationships with the people they believe that can bring the project to a favorable outcome. The best approach would probably be to identify the emerging young professional officer who show a potential for leadership and management and put them in charge of one of the many small project usually found in the RER.
Generally, the power for making decisions in an organization is centralized at the senior level. The use of power however is tempered by four factors: consultation tendency, paternalistic orientation, concern for public image and religious instructions to avoid oppression and abuse of power. These factors individually and collectively motivate leaders to show caring, kindness and responsibilities toward those working in the organization. Whether these aspects are translated in practice is a different matter. Nevertheless, leaders invariably project the image of a responsible authority consistent with community expectations and religious instructions. Based on my observation, RER organizations prefer to hold on to power by centralization of decision-making and by maintaining close control of management affairs. For example, there is a clear centralization of decision at the top in most RER project management. RER organizations power culture is found to be the most dominant which is to be a high concentration of authority at the top. Most decisions were made under pressure from the most powerful member of the superiors.
The phenomenon of decentralization of power in organizations however is widely attributed to the emergence of a new generation of leaders who understand today’s challenge and the necessity to participate wisely in the global marketplace. Leader is the protector and problem solver for subordinates. The open-door policy, the readiness to lend a helping hand, listening attentively to subordinates, and inquiries about their families and their welfare are part of norms and practices by RER management.
In looking at the management skill of a RER officer, it is based on every engineer is responsible to someone, and so personnel is an issue for all Successful commander exchange challenges to opportunities, in spite of how difficult a problem may emerge. The work environment and culture of a construction project is unique because it consists of group of people. RER leadership must plan the work, and execute the plan.
Engineer commander as well as training and education should have struggled with methods of delegating and motivating. Key words for team building are pressure, responsibility, target and moralities. These are all about communications and as a commander as well as communicator should try to understand why people behave the way they do, how to motivate them and how to enlist their commitment. But, before he do all these matter the commander must be ready and develop his personal power in emotional control or patient. I myself confess patient is a boring word but it is the most important part for the whole situations in this world. I agreed that doing is not as simple as talking when we are in the real situation. Individuals normally avoid disclosing the wrongdoings of others. Even when a person volunteers to talk about the unpleasant activities of others, his group automatically censor him. But in this context it conveys the message that we should not to say negative things about others without strong evidence. Religious authorities often remind people not to listen to rumors and allegations unless they see wrongdoings themselves. These authorities rely on the Prophet Muhammad SAW sayings, “Suspicions are not confirmations” and “Seeing is much better than hearing”. Engineer leaders should delegate to keep subordinates in rein and to guard themselves against any possible public outrage. Strictly, in my suggestion, we must study the progress of the battles and the management that were commanded by the Prophet Muhammad SAW and find the most evident factors that led to victory.
Using the Battle of Badr of 2nd Hijri year as an example, Prophet Muhammad SAW, clearly indicated to us his willingness to listen to his followers. He developed his battle plan and managed to defeat his enemy early, and all these based on psychological warfare. Psychological warfare was an important means of reducing and weakening the morale of the enemy and in most of the battles, just by the enemy hearing the thunderous sounds of the Muslim army, it was enough to gain them victory. Prophet Muhammad SAW reflects a very import characteristic of the Muslim leader, for example discussing and seeking advice of other knowledgeable people. Using this incident as a guide, RER leader should not make decision merely based upon his opinion. Rather, he should first consult with other knowledgeable people, seek their advice and then make appropriate decisions. Successful project management can best be described as effective communications between the people who perform the work that is necessary to complete the project. People are the only resource that has the capability to detect problems and make the adjustments that are necessary to successfully manage a project. Looking at the Battle if Badr again, it indicate that Prophet Muhammad SAW had accepted the suggestions of his followers and even allowed his followers to contradict him without considering this as a sign of disrespect but as a professional in military stratagem. Thus, a project leader should not depend solely on the system of project management and neglect the importance of the people who are associated with the project.
Miscommunication is a common problem in project management. There is a tendency of some engineer commander to complain that the work is not being accomplished because of factors beyond their control. For example some engineer commander may feel that his team member are too inexperienced and he takes more time to explain what needs to be done. Engineer commander must realize that his subordinates can only gain experience by doing the work. Often the work will be repeated on RER particular projects or on future projects. Hence, it usually is more efficient to explain it to them one time so they are experienced in doing it in the future. Engineer commander must realize that before telling someone what to do, they must know what needs to be done themselves. A well-defined work plan provides the plan of action to effectively communicate job assignment to team member. The feeling that a person is too inexperienced can be overcome by close communications and training that will be discussed in Chapter 4.
Another complaint of some project leaders is that people avoid accepting responsibility. People will avoid accepting responsibility if they fear unjust criticism if they make a mistake or feel they will receive inadequate recognition of their work. Using Prophet Muhammad SAW as our guiding leader, he always gave motivation to his companions to fight bravely. However in the RER leadership, some subordinates simply find it easier to ask the commander than to decide themselves because some commanders want to make all the decisions. Engineer commander must give each person on the team an opportunity to do the job the way he wants to do it. Their way is often as good as commander of doing a task. Commander of group only must occasionally check with members to see what is going on and how they are doing. This builds confidence and respect among the team members, who in turn will strive to accomplish quality work. Today, if we show willingness to sacrifice our wealth and lives for the sake of Allah and purely follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad SAW, Allah will remove our hardships and grant us victory and supremacy the same as Allah sent blessing and help to the Muslims in the Battle of Badr.
Learning from my experiences, many interruptions during construction projects are being progress, are due to additional assignments or tasks leading to RER leadership with a tendency to rush in and feeling don’t have enough time. They are moving to a new task before accomplishing a present one. Unexpected visits and social interaction or entertainment within the organization are the common problem and culture in RER leadership. Finally, sometime they are doing adjustments in the construction schedules and organized in illogical sequence. They are trying to achieve too much in one time. The result is, they become overworked from attempting to do and manage the work, spent nights and week-ends devoted to their job, and finally their received complain that the work is not fully accomplished or unsatisfied. There are no hard and fast rules in organizing, recruiting and training the army following the role of Prophet Muhammad SAW and Salahuddin Al-Ayubi time management and victory in battles. From oneself study, the Western civilizations have come up with different schemes of time management and all their military roles, theories, approaches and even advanced weapons appeared after the falling of crusader. They find the solutions from the theories, approaches and doctrines of how they can lose to a small Muslim army with the slight weapon of war compared with their biggest armies and a lot of sophisticated weapons.
In my opinion, working from all their roles and doctrines in military operations, training and strategic defence are the same as opened up a new door for them because the thinking and training pattern, strategic defence is been uniformed. In the history of Islam the era of success and strength were created with the combination of two elements, sincerity in intentions and desires, and the element of accurateness in thinking and action. Strictly, in my suggestion, we must study the progress of the battles and the management of time that were commanded by the Prophet Muhammad SAW and find the most evident factors that led to victory.
“Prophet Muhammad SAW had used certain method of warfare such as siege, acquiring intelligence, specifying the goals and objectives, mobilizing the forces for the primary objective, surprise attacks, secret missions, swiftness, maneuvers and spiritual force and securing all the military resources which are all principles of present-day warfare. Psychological warfare was an important means of reducing and weakening the morale of the enemy and in most of the battles, just by the enemy hearing the thunderous sounds of the Muslim army, it was enough to gain them victory. The ingenuity of the supreme commander and the qualities that distinguished him as a leader, and also his uniqueness and superiority in politics, military management and a complete awareness of the principles and etiquettes of war both at the tactical and strategic levels, deserves praise”
Common time wasters of RER project commanders are unproductive telephone calls and meetings. Meetings are inevitable and important but they can be a source of irritation and wasted time if not properly planned and conducted. An agenda should be prepared to direct project team meetings to ensure that important items are addressed and to conclude the meeting in the shortest time. The Engineer Commander is the leader of all team meetings; however he should not dominate discussion. The agenda should include a list, in chronological order of the items to be discussed including work completed, work in progress and work scheduled. Occasionally, special meetings may be held to discuss special problems or unforeseen situations. The Engineer Commander must prepare and distribute minutes of the meeting to all participants and must also ensure that meeting are productive. An agenda also can prevent an individual from dominating the discussions and give each person an opportunity to participate.
One of the most frequent sources of errors and misunderstandings in the management of a project and working with people is miscommunications. Communications may be oral (both speaking and listening) or written (both writing and reading). In each instance it is important that clear, coherent and efficient communications skills exist to ensure successful work by all participants in a project. Effective communication is the lubricant that keeps the successful construction project machinery running smoothly. The Engineer Commander must realize that all people do not interpret the same thing in the same way and that a communication is of no value unless it is both received and understood. These communications include conversations, meetings, minutes, correspondence, report and presentations. Informal exchanges of information that affect the scope, budget or schedule must be documented into written record at the next regularly scheduled team meeting. The Engineer Leader should maintain a record of telephone conversations including the names of parties in the conversation, date, time, place, items discussed and any pertinent information resulting from the exchange.
The Engineer Leader also must develop and practice good speaking skills. Conversations must be clear, coherent and to the point without rambling. Thoughts and ideas should be organized in a systematic manner before communicating. This can be accomplished by knowing the objectives of the communications, for example to give information, to get information, to make decisions or persuade someone. Considerations must also be given to timing and location to ensure the other person has your attention because listening is an important part of communicating. It is often necessary to follow up a conversation to be certain the communication is received and understood. This can be done by obtaining feed-back.
Written communications documented most of the activities of a project and often have major impacts related to decisions, costs, schedules and legal matters. All written material should be dated and written in a clear, concise, coherent and legible manner. As the leader of the project, the Engineer Commander must prepare status reports that describe the progress of a project. All these written material even telephone calls records must be kept in the project files and not miss placed. Miss placed is a common problem and it very unpleasant because all the written materials are very important to assist the organization in coordinating, references, problem solving and preparing the next agenda.
As the prime contact person for the project, the Engineer Commander is the spokesperson who often makes presentations to the owner, department, boards and other interested parties. It is important to know the audience and to convey information that is of value and interest to the audience. A presentation should be prepared from the audience’s point of view and organized in a logical pattern so each part of the presentation will relate to other parts. A presentation normally has a limited time and the audience frequently is a busy group. Therefore, the presentation should be more of a summary of important factors of direct interest, leaving detailed information in a report that can be read later. Only a limited number of graphs, tables or computer printouts can be presented so that they must be carefully chosen. Defining or clarifying words ensures that the listener hears and understands what is being said. It also ensures that the listener is thinking about the presentation and focusing on the speaker’s key points. Visual aids greatly enhance any presentation particularly tables of numbers, equations and technical data. The value of visual aids is that the audience both hears and sees the presentation which greatly increases their understanding and the amount of information they retain from the presentation. Visual aids also help the speaker keep the presentation flowing in a continuous manner. To gain the attention of the audience, the speaker should not make the audience insecure. Apologies and negative comments without reasonable should be avoided. A positive attitude should be prevailing even when controversial subjects are being discussed. The presentation should be summarized at the end just as the audience was told the purpose of the presentation at the beginning. Also, adequate time should be allowed for questions and answers at the conclusion of the presentation.
The construction phase is important because the quality of the completed project is highly dependent on the RER workmanship and management of construction. The quality of RER projects depends on the completeness in the construction. The construction phase is also important because a majority of the total project budget and schedule is expended during construction. Similar to costs or budget, the time required to build a projects is always disproportionally greater than the time required to design it. Most owners have a need for use of their projects at the earliest possible date; therefore, any delay from a planned completion date can cause significant problems for both the owner and engineer commander leadership. Material and equipment delivery dates are extremely important during construction because late delivery is often the cause of delays. Delivery dates for critical activities must be closely monitored to ensure arrival of materials and equipment when needed at the job-site.
Due to the nature of RER construction projects there are times when disagreements and conflicts between individuals arise. The work force is transient, multiple crafts are involved, projects are planned and worked in short time frames, and there is a tremendous variety of material and equipment that must be installed. Also, much of the work is exposed to weather and construction workers are continually working themselves out of a job. One must realize that disagreements and conflicts are not necessarily all bad because many good ideas have been developed as a result of disagreements. The attitude that should prevail is that disagreements can be changed to agreements with diplomacy. There are times when a person must be assertive, but no obnoxious, and other times when a person must be reserved, but not a push-over. The ability to work with people and to know how to react in each situation must be developed in order to work in a construction environment.
Teamwork who wants to be successful must survive for a period of time that is consistent with the task in hand. The structure of the group must be dynamic. Based on my experiences I have seen that there are some types of people working in teamwork, those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, those who don’t know what’s happening, and in some instances those who don’t want to know what’s happening. The engineer leader must devise methods to motivate each of these types of people. Many books have been written and numerous theories have been proposed related to motivating people. But in my opinion most people are motivated by needs and situation in the right time.
RER team leadership focus on relationship before task. We need to feel engaged and connected. Trust and confidence had been built among teammates since on the earliest basic military training. However, chances for misunderstanding are also formed. When there is a problem, panic is usually a virus that breeds exceptionally keep calm, engage the team in finding practical solutions and communicate often. We must quickly resolve before a small issue is spreading with working face-to-face individuals between leaders. Smart leader should give each person an opportunity to share personal success, challenges, needs and wants. He should not be on his own because it is on shared tasks and problem solving. During crisis, subordinates are more likely to look to leaders to identify the problem as well as develop and implement the solution. Hence, work team facing strong deadlines or crises generally expect their leaders to participate and consult be more directive and decisive.
Compounding the RER nature of work, the increasing rate of change in the environment allows the RER team ability to enter one situation and rapidly adapt to another. For effectiveness and survival in team, we must have the ability to improvise solutions in uncertain and changing conditions. But, strictly we must remember for quality time management to led a victory of our multiple job as we have emphasized in Chapter 3 that teaching a small thing done with consistency is considered to be much better than a large thing done only a few times. Let the global changing as fast as they can change but we don’t push and rush in so we forget the Syariat Islamiyah. An important thing we must remember at any small or big problems be calm first, thinking and structure the solutions in the team and react in the right time and the right strategy. If we panic, we cannot think in the highest level for the better and smart solutions. If we can draw it, we can build it. There are most problems in this world that are still unanswered. We may not yet see clearly the face of future war, but we have seen the face of our future brand of team.
Given the variety of tasks people perform, it is natural for people to try to order and make sense of them. The work is what to be done by the team and its component parts. They have performed many different tasks, and sometimes they might categorize them as boring, challenging, dangerous, fun, interesting and so on. However, it is just a reaction and engineer commander must have the skills or abilities to perform them.
Most people can readily think up a number of examples of ineffective and effective teamwork. For example in RER construction project, effective teams had a clear mission, roles and high performance standards. Engineer commander depends on the team performance because he typically does not have the expertise to do all the work required to complete the project and for the team there must be a commander to guide the overall effort. They are two great lessons and the main reasons for why the Muslims did not gain full victory in the battle of Uhud. They are two rules that represent sincerity and Jihad both. The first being, whatever happens, the fighter must NEVER disobey the orders given from their head or leader. Disobedience of the prudent discerning leader leads to loss in battle. The archers on top of the mountain did this exactly. Prophet Muhammad SAW gave firm, clear orders as to what the archers were supposed to do. The second rule is to never be greedy. Materialism and greed in booty and any other situation leads to failure and defeat. The only reason the archers left their posts at the battle was because they so all that booty lying in the open waiting for them. Everyone on the team knew what the team was trying to achieve and how well he had to perform in order to achieve the team’s mission. Hence, as same as the battle effective team in situational engineering construction project performance will be measured on their project result: overall satisfaction of customer, on-time performance or on-budget performance. In addition, responsiveness and flexibility to customer requirements and changes or dealing effectively with risk and uncertainty are often mentioned as important to effective teamwork. Team characteristics drive project performance and it is influenced by many internal and external factors such as personal preferences and perceptions, technology and market behaviour. This required a collective culture of mutual agreements between the engineer commander and team members to manage their emotional and attitudes. Developing a culture where each team member feels that he is a part of the team and wanted by the team is essential to a high performance team. High performance team have willingness sharing and learning from the past to benefit for the present and future projects. Finally, an important responsibility of the commander is leading the decision making whether in one or multiple correct answers that is respected and accepted by the majority.
Effective teamwork is a key element in any successful project, but the real question is “How does one organize a successful team?” Quality is totality of characteristic of an entity that bears on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs. Total Quality Management (TQM) concept emphasis teamwork at all level of an organization to improve the quality of a project and achieve maximum customer satisfaction. The TQM management philosophy concentrates on process improvement, customer and supplier involvement, teamwork and training to achieve customer satisfaction, cost effectiveness and defect-free quality work.
For RER, the superior always needs the competitive costs of construction in the project. Diagram 1 at Appendix B had shown the stages of constructions process of RER project (given in Bahasa Malaysia). Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) that consists of four processes is a problem analysis process for narrowing the gap between customer needs and present performance. PDCA cycle at Figure 3 is a systematic procedure for incrementally improving methods and procedures by focussing on the correction and prevention of defects. This cycle can be applied to all processes and it is systems of individual organizations and functions can be integrate and rotate together. The specific steps in the PDCA process that are taken within each process as follows:
a. Plan – Define the problem and identify the target of improvement.
– Analyze the present situation.
– Identify root causes and their effects.
– Develop plan for corrective action.
b. Do – Implement and execute plan.
c. Check – Confirm result of the executed plan by compare it with the
original planned target.
d. Act – Standardise the necessary steps to prevent the recurrence of the
– Repeat the process by considering remaining problems or
improvement opportunities in the next planning stage.
The prominent method of management that is practice today is management by control and not by participation. For example, the superior of management may set goals to be achieved for the next year and then assign subordinates the responsibility of achievement these goals by imposing controls on each of their subordinates. In construction term, budget, scope and schedule (refer Figure 1) goals are established for each project. Hence, the project commander is rewarded on the basis of achieving these goals.
Quality becomes everyone’s responsibility and the training plan must be targeted for every level of the organization when using the TQM concept. The training effort should include instruction in the basics of TQM including cause and effect analysis, team problem solving, interpersonal communication and interaction and cost of quality measurement. Skills in human interaction, leadership and initiative are instrumental to the success of any quality improvement effort. The demands on the interpersonal dynamics that are required increase as the complexity and sophistication of the technical systems increase. Furthermore, these skills should be developed before or at least in conjunction with the development of the foundation skills of TQM.
Commanders inspire soldiers with the will to win. They provide purpose, direction and motivation in their command. In modern organization and changing situation, the people involved, the times, the characteristic of the subordinate, the urgency of the decision and so on has caused mark changes in the manner in which commander “command”. The first step in becoming a leader in any walk of life is easy to say but not easy to do. To becoming an expert leader, knowledge and experiences are the capacity to gather, interpret, organize and use available information to leading across time and changing situation. A good leader effectively used his religion practice or moralities, emotional control and interpersonal communication skills influencing his team in order to accomplish the goals or positive results. Dynamic leader is power to build great team and to becoming a dynamic leader must have both good and expert leader.
In RER environment, everything is determined by both technical and tactical considerations. Engineers, who were not in buildings where the work was performed, would prepare the working procedures, which were then integrated in the computer system and finally printed out of each task, it all are dictated by underlying technical and tactical necessities. The hardest part of commander situation is not having the right information relating to the responsibility of making the right command or decision. The objective of information is to provide the basis of planning, monitoring and significant to identify project problems before occurring so they can be avoided or minimized their result.
Information provides the intelligence for managing the project. The sharing of information between RER leadership can promote empathy, trust and more mature relationships among project team. Sharing of project information is one of the more important dimensions of keeping the team members working cohesively and concurrently in the utilization of the project resources. For example, sharing also facilitates the building of networks with the project team through continuous interpersonal contact and dialogue. Furthermore, by using technology and a willingness to communicate, information systems can be designed for the project team that help everyone do a better job of making and implementing decisions in the utilization of project resources.
The first challenge most of us face to manage ourselves. If we have knowledge and skills and are sufficiently motivated, then we stand a good chance of deploying the knowledge and skills effectively. Project commander and the team members can make a mistake but they get those mistakes out of the way as soon as possible, learn as a result of them and move ahead. There are numerous steps to be taken in order to identify that RER leaderships will feel performed and satisfaction that he makes a difference to the success of the organization. Some of the suggested steps are:
a. Use Initiative. Upon accepting a plan, high performance teams have expected to work under a minimum of supervision and make decisions without waiting to be told. It can avoid wasting time with decisions that could have been made at the lower level. Reviewing in the culture of RER team, we are constantly exposed working together all the time and performed almost without individual egos. Become a “learning” organization through the explicit recognition that all organizational members will have to retrain and relearn new technologies to escape obsolescence.
b. Accept Responsibility. RER leadership has designed forces and develops command and control procedures that accept responsibilities whenever offered. It is composed of risk takers and can be difficult because no one wishes to risk failure or embarrassment. Time management is crucial and very critical. RER leadership needs to use their own judgment and develop the skillful art of knowing when to lead and when to let others lead. RER team member should assign the role of discussions to resolve a problem that is related to him or his particular area or expertise.
c. Do Your Homework. The supreme commander would always try to prepare the army and train them in the different parts of warfare, until they were fully prepared and well trained so that they could show the superiority of their skills when they came face to face with the enemy in battle. Being a dynamic commander is harder than it looks. When were received the problems to solve, engineer commander must become an expert on the subject before attempting an action. Get all the information needed to make a decision, pulse network of friends that will be sponsored some expertise and experiences. In short do your homework and don’t blame your subordinates that they don’t have qualified to handle the problems.
RER leadership is more associated with words like teamwork, discipline, time management, risk taking, dynamic, creativity and target. To many, the word RER management suggests words like command and control, planning, schedules, procedures, regulations, and paper work. Time management is an important part of everyone’s life. An important part of RER leadership is the ‘style’ with which the leader capability to carry out the time and manage. RER leaders are required on the commitment to analyze of time waster and defining positive countermeasure for determination to proceed towards effective time management. This can include unique personal character traits and motivation which is developed through personal power. RER leaders can control time wasters through dividing time into two categories:
a. Controllable time which the leaders can control. Effectiveness engineer commander should control the time by concentration in priorities which is recommended one subject can be done at a time. For example, a specific time can be allocated in a daily time performance such as receiving request and immediate reply, avoiding chatting other things while meeting and telephone calls, and don’t blaming each other’s while there is a mistake but quickly action and rectify the errors. In establishment of priorities, engineer commander should have to be considered the degree of urgency (sooner or later) and arranging terms of arrival (early or late).
b. Uncontrollable time which is for reacting unexpected and immediate demands. The Battle of Badr is a great example from our history that teaches victory we that does not depend on numbers or collecting weapons and shields but victory is from Allah. While cater the immediate demands, Engineer Commander must willingness putting all trust in Allah, spilt his construction team and swiftly appoint a potential leader to lead the construction project. The subordinates would be worried at being outnumbered in the construction, so his commander should strengthen their morale with an address.Allah only grants victory to those who believe in Him and put their complete trust in Him.
A successful project means that the organization has been successful in positioning itself for the future; a specific strategy has been designed and implemented. If the project failure, it means that the RER project has failed to meet its cost, schedule and technical performance objective or it does not fit in the organization’s future. Failure and success are relative factors, it is important to know the difference and some criteria must give to use in determining when the project is likely to be in a failure mode.
Finally, the RER leadership in the engineering project management is an interpersonal dynamics and strategic process which a project commander in modern organization are both commander and subordinate operating in changing situation where both formal and informal networking relationships proliferate. Taking another example at the Battle of Uhud, the weaknesses of the Muslims themselves showed signs of moral weakness for a new community through the devices of the hypocrites had played a great part. These lessons and some more project commander command and control should goes beyond the relationships networking often leading to use of influence thorough moral training beside lesson learnt from the past experiences for the better improvement no matter whether the project will meet success or failure.
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