Career Development in Overdrive

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

As I continue to explore career development, instead of taking the personal viewpoint of how we develop as project managers, I’d like to focus on how we can help the people on the projects we manage.

Remember, Nobody Wants to Be Managed
It’s important to remember that PMs manage projects, not the people working on the projects. Rarely can anyone effectively manage people, and rarer still are the people who want to be managed.

Instead, “We manage property and lead people; if we try to manage people\e, they will feel like property.” Over the long-term, people are more satisfied when they have control or input into how they undertake their work. Using our own skills, insights and decision-making process is more rewarding that blindly following instructions.

Yet there are a few instances when we want to be told what to do. These include emergency situations or a scenario that is totally foreign—such as a temporary volunteer role. However, they are not common, and satisfaction at work requires freedom of choice in how to work—and an opportunity to bring our skills to bear on a problem.

This freedom and skill opportunity make up the “autonomy” and “mastery” components of Dan Pink’s motivation triad (which also includes purpose). In his best-selling book Drive: The Surprising Truth of What Motivates Us, …


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