Project Management

Leadership Without Presence

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-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 [email protected] Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

I recently received an email from a project manager who was appointed to lead their first project just a few weeks before her organization was forced to shift to a complete remote working model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She was worried that she hadn’t had a chance to establish herself as a leader for her team and was looking for advice as to how to be an effective leader remotely.

That’s a challenge that many people are dealing with right now, but for new leaders it can represent a bigger issue. So, what do you do?

I’m not going to pretend that the current situation we are all living through is anything like normal, so the “standard” advice has to be adjusted to reflect the reality of the situation we all find ourselves in. But human nature is still human nature, and effective leadership still relies on the same fundamentals.

In that regard, the first thing to remember is that everyone is being disrupted right now—in both their professional and personal lives. They have more concerns and worries than normal as they deal with the practical challenges of the social adjustments we are all making, and deal with concerns for family and friends.

That is going to have a number of impacts on how people work, and the impacts will vary from one individual to the next, but generally speaking:

  • Your team members are going to be …

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"History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot."

- Mark Twain