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Volume 5 | Issue 4 | April 2011

Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP

There are many theories, models, and definitions of leadership. In general, leadership can be described as the “process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task” and is ultimately about motivating people to contribute and/or achieve more than would be typically expected. To obtain such influence, people must trust and have confidence in their leader. One important factor in achieving this is for leaders to effectively communicate and share information in a way that helps people understand the overarching vision and strategy of the leader, action steps necessary to achieving clearly defined goals, and their specific roll in successfully completing tasks and objectives within expected parameters (i.e timeline, quality standards, etc).

Good leaders are made not born and although each unique situation warrants its own unique leadership styles, if you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience (Arthur G. Jago). Such influences often dictate what style will dominate your leadership approach. However, in general, leadership styles typically fall into three main categories:

  • Autocratic/Authoritarian leadership centralizes decision making authority to the group leader often with little or no input from others. Such leaders are often clear in setting expectations of what needs to get completed and how they expect it done. As a result, decisions are made quickly but at the same time may also lack creativity and breadth of applicability to a broader audience. Leaders utilizing this style are often viewed negatively by team members as controlling or dictatorial.
  • Participative/Democratic leadership encourages input from the group where each member has some level of influence over the final decision. Such leaders also communicate well what needs to get completed. However, they are less specific in how they expect it be done. Instead, they opt for providing guidance after consulting with the group. As a result, group members feel more engaged in the decision making process; team cooperation and motivation is often more positive and effective. Leaders utilizing this style are often viewed more favorably than those using an authoritarian style.
  • Delegative/Laissez-faire leadership utilizes a hands-off approach that leaves the group to itself. Such leaders are often less clear in communicating what needs to be completed and let the group decide how to get it done. As a result, roles and responsibilities are often poorly defined, decisions are made with little or no guidance, and performance is often less than ideal performance. This type of approach may be appropriate with highly-experienced groups however, leaders utilizing this style are often perceived as lacking or unorganized by team members seeking leadership.

The US Army identifies four major factors that influence the type of leadership style appropriate for any given situation.

  • Leader - Have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do.
  • Followers - Different people require different styles of leadership. You must know your people!
  • Communication - Lead via two-way communication, both verbal and nonverbal. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your team.
  • Situation - Every situation is different. Use judgment to decide the best course of action and leadership style.


2011 Project Management Summit Recap

The third annual CDC Project Management (PM) Summit was held on Friday, March 04, 2011 at the CDC Roybal Campus, Building 19, Auditorium A. The PM Summit was a full-day event that provided all CDC employees and contractors an opportunity to come together as a community, learn about, and discuss important topics related to project management at the CDC.

Approximately 250 people attended the day’s events. Presentations focused on information related to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Enterprise Performance Life Cycle (EPLC) Framework and covered topics such as:

  • Importance of Project Management to CDC and Federal Government
  • 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology
  • Future Directions for Project Management at HHS
  • Governance and Project Management
  • Effective Risk Management
  • Organizational Readiness
  • Lessons Learned
  • Tailoring and Managing Expectations and Change
  • Alternatives Analysis and Cloud Computing
  • Project Metrics

The PM Summit opened with Jim Seligman addressing a packed auditorium during the opening welcome session. Attendance throughout the day’s events was robust and comments received from those participating were excellent.

In an effort to share project management knowledge and to increase the success of CDC projects, the CDC Unified Process (UP) has made all PM Summit presentations available for viewing and download at:

For those who participated in the day’s events, certificates of participation will be made available on the EITPO SharePoint site. Certificates can be used as documentation of Professional Development Units (PDUs) earned for attending any of the day’s events.

For more information and tools related to the topic(s) covered in this newsletter, the CDC Unified Process, or the Project Management Community of Practice please visit the CDC Unified Process website at

Please also visit the CDC Unified Process Newsletter Archive located at for access to many additional newsletters, articles, and management related topics and information.


The CDC UP offers a short overview presentation to any CDC FTE or Non-FTE group. Presentations are often performed at your location, on a day of the week convenient for your group, and typically take place over lunch structured as one hour lunch-and-learn style meeting.

Contact the CDC Unified Process at or visit to arrange a short overview presentation for your group.


The CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter is authored by Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP and published by the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services.

For questions about the CDC Unified Process, comments regarding this newsletter, suggestions for future newsletter topics, or to subscribe to the CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter please contact the CDC Unified Process or visit



  • January 28, 2011
    Topic: Impact of CIMS/CITS on Projects
  • February 25, 2011
    Topic: CPIC for Project Managers
  • March 25, 2011
    Topic: Managing Change
  • April 29, 2011
    Topic: Developing Meaningful and Measurable Metrics
  • May 27, 2011
    Topic: SharePoint for Success
  • June 24, 2011
    Topic: A Conversation with CDC's COO
  • July 29, 2011
    Topic: Understanding Section 508
  • August 26, 2011
    Topic: Leadership
  • September 30, 2011
    Topic: Dig Deeper into Microsoft Project
  • October 28, 2011
    Topic: Information Security 101 for Project Managers
  • December 02, 2011
    Topic: Enterprise Architecture


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