Independence Day

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting Inc., an Ontario, Canada-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

A significant part of project leadership is providing meaningful opportunities to team members to develop and demonstrate their full potential. But it can be a challenge to balance the need to focus on the work at hand with their desire to pursue new roles and responsibilities. A presentation to stakeholders is a good place to start.

On one of my teams I have a very smart person who is still young and inexperienced. He’s very good at what he does but also keen to move beyond the perceived restrictions of his current role and expand his skills and exposure within the organization. Recently he was given an opportunity to lead an element of the team’s work that gave him the opportunity to get involved in presentations to senior management, to deal with business stakeholders and become involved with a wider range of new issues.

For project leaders, this situation poses an interesting challenge. You want to coach team members to develop the skills that they need to succeed in the position, and provide as much visible support as possible, but at the same time you need to allow them to stretch out on their own and claim the opportunity as their own. If the stakeholder group views me as the leader of the work rather than the team then it is possible I am not allowing team members to develop and demonstrate their skills, and I am potentially undermining their …

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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

- Mark Twain