As a new project manager, you're probably not the boss of anyone.
But even though you don't have traditional authority over a team, that doesn't mean you can't get a team to follow you.
You've heard of the person who comes in with the official title, but crashes and burns when working with teams. You've heard of the person with no organizational status who flourishes in working with even the most difficult of team members. What's the difference between the two? The recognition of real power and its source.
Real power doesn't come from organizational charts, barking orders or threatening teams into obedience. Real power does come from giving and earning personal commitment.
In giving personal commitment, you must risk at least as much as do your project team members. It's up to you to be the first to show why the project is important. When team members see that you're sincerely committed to the project and processes, they're naturally more inclined to do the same.
The surest way to earn personal commitment is to include all team members in the project planning process. Your team is probably smarter than you when it comes to a few things. Recognize this and embrace it. Let team members own their areas of expertise and tell you what needs to happen, how and when.
Ownership quickly becomes an investment into the process. Use your influence as well as your leadership and negotiating skills to clear roadblocks, define requirements and refine expectations.
These back-and-forth conversations will ensure that team member investment becomes personal commitment and that projects get completed successfully -- whether you're the boss or not.