One of the key roles of a successful project manager is to provide effective leadership to a range of stakeholders, including the project team, suppliers and contractors. But leadership is not as simple as having a position in the organization chart and managing processes.
Pragmatic leadership is a choice you make to influence other people's thinking to act in the interests of the project and the organization. Pragmatic leadership adds the power of directed motivation and a commitment to success that significantly improves routine operations within the project and becomes essential when problems are encountered.
It's a balance between managing and leading. Management skills and technical knowledge are important in determining the appropriate work, but leadership generates the motivation that translates into willingness to do the work.
The art of leadership in project management is developing commitment from your stakeholders -- making the successful completion of your project important to each individual. This needs more than effective management processes.
Effective management defines schedules, work assignments and performance criteria. It's about compliance and procedures to ensure quality, safety and other key requirements are met. Management is largely taught and focuses on process skills.
Leadership is about creating commitment to the work. A great leader understands the task and inspires the team. Leadership is a more complex process derived from combinations of self-esteem, confidence, credibility, the ability to communicate clearly and a willingness to listen and engage with people.
Leadership skills can be learned, but they have to be based within a leader's inherent personal characteristics to be authentic.
Leadership adds the power of directed motivation and a commitment to success that significantly improves routine operations within the project and becomes essential when problems are encountered. The bigger the disaster, the more important it becomes to have a committed team-- to survive a major setback, each individual needs to be willing to do what's necessary.
How do you see your pragmatic leadership skills developing?