Leadership skills, alongside people skills like communication and negotiation, are more important than ever, according to this year’s Pulse of the Profession® report. But what does it take to gain and use leadership skills—and be recognized for that so as to pave the way for promotion and more responsibility?
In this month’s PM Network® magazine, we hear from a portfolio manager, chief project officer and PMO director who explain how they climbed the organizational ladder through developing and deploying leadership skills.
Sydney, Australia-based Ada Osakwe, PMP, portfolio manager with Qantas, attributes her growth to pushing herself and exploring all parts of a business to build knowledge and perspective. She says that rotating into different business units every couple of years serves to challenge herself to grow as a leader. She also has a performance plan that lists leadership training she wants to complete each year. On top of that, Ms. Osakwe has a professional development plan that she constantly updates.
Olawepo Ogunniyi, PMP, who is chief project officer of DropQue in Lagos, Nigeria, attributes continuous learning for helping him take on greater challenges and strengthening his leadership abilities. Besides completing a master’s degree in project management and teaching project management courses, Mr. Ogunniyi gained leadership skills while in the banking industry by helping lead projects dealing with acquiring another bank and deploying a large number of ATMs. And he attributes volunteer work in the community for broadening his perspectives on what leadership is.
Chicago, Illinois, USA-based Renee Cardella, PMP, is a PMO director at Press Ganey Associates. She attributes her promotion to a similar PMO post at another company to curiosity and a willingness to ask questions. Early on, she faced a leading-up challenge of convincing her CIO that her organization needed to elevate its project management maturity. She gained her current post by stressing her leadership experience. That was necessary because Press Ganey mainly uses agile approaches and Ms. Cardella’s previous experience was strictly waterfall.
The moral of all these stories is that leadership and people skills pay off, but like everything else, you have to learn and want to learn.
What are your experiences with obtaining and using leadership skills to grow your career?