Project Management

Being A Top Project Manager Means Being An Effective Leader

Neal Whitten

Are you the best at your craft as a project or program manager? At being a leader? To consistently build the best products, provide the best services and create the best teams, you must think and behave with the mindset that you’re the best at what you do.

Here is a starter list of tenets that top practitioners embrace. My experience is that many folks in leadership positions do not follow all of these principles, but if you want to consistently be the best leader, these practices are not optional.

1. Get out of your office. Problems are not typically discovered there.

2. The stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Listen to your instincts and follow through appropriately.

3. Be willing and able to say “no.” Only you can manage your commitments.

4. Solve problems rather than blame others. This is what true leaders do.

5. Focus on your top three priorities/problems each day. Your performance here defines your value, contributions and, ultimately, career.

6. Do not allow what others think about you to be more important than what you think about yourself. Listen for helpful snippets but remain in control of you.

7. Readily ask for help and advice from others. There is a treasure trove of knowledge, wisdom and experience surrounding you.

8. Think for yourself. Routinely challenge tradition, authority, the status quo …


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A conference is a gathering of important people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

- Fred Allen

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