The Top Ten Reasons Projects Fail (Part 4)Finger pointing often occurs when projects fail. The project managers will say, "Don't blame us; we didn't get the support from upper management that we needed." Team members will say, "The PM is an idiot who doesn't get it." Upper management sometimes reverts to caveman behavior: "Just give me a name!"
Finger pointing is a powerful piece of evidence that poor leadership at multiple levels exists in the organization. Ironically, this evidence is also a clue to the cause of failure once failure has been acknowledged.
When there is a leadership vacuum and negative inputs are coming from those who should be leaders, it's up to the PM to fill the vacuum and overcome the negativity. That's one reason the No. 1 cause of project failure--inadequately trained and/or inexperienced project managers--has everything to do with the project manager. The buck must stop someplace, and for projects that place is the PM's desk.
But what does leadership mean? Here's one definition: "Leadership is the process of persuasion or example by which an individual influences a group to pursue objectives held by the leader or shared by the followers." -- John Gardner, On Leadership (New York: Free Press, 1993)
That's a pretty good description of what a project manager needs to do as a leader. Leaders set the course and then keep the team on track. In large organizations and large projects
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