Categories: Team management
A lot has been written about leadership, emotional intelligence, empathy and a long list of traits related to a successful project delivery. Most likely, you have seen the image below several times on your LinkedIn feed. The message is clear: a leader is someone that pulls together a team and walks alongside to reach project’s goals. A boss, however, “bosses” people around while sitting in his ivory tower.
Project Managers have the challenging task of commanding a Team which members typically report to a Line or Department Manager – this is, within a matrix organization. What are the three traits that will allow finding the sweet balance between being a genuinely nice leader and yet get stuff done?
A. Be assertive
Being the face of the Project to the Team and to all other stakeholders, a PM needs to develop the right set of skills to show that is in control. For example, it is frequent that rumors arise at some point during project’s life cycle – e.g. “I’ve heard that the project will be cancelled!”. A PM must be able to send a clear and assertive message to stakeholders to terminate the rumor. The same principle can be applied to team meetings. The Team expects the PM to guide and drive the project forward. This message can be delivered efficiently only from the assertiveness.
B. Be in control
Domain in Monitoring and Controlling process group is essential for a successful project delivery. A PM must make sure that he remains an effective leader throughout project’s lifecycle. Checking on status of work is an art on its own. Some people sends off e-mails containing a dry “Hi Jan, what’s the status?”, others elaborate further and add a greeting line. Whichever option chosen, show that you are in control. Avoiding micromanagement is a must for any PM and for any sort of leader. Actually, micromanagers are frequently poor and insecure “leaders”.
C. Be Human
This come without a saying and yet important to emphasize. Do you recall the typical saying attributed to Richard Branson “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”? Replace the term “employees” by “team members” and “clients” by “Project”. Proficient leaders are aware that they are leading a group of humans and their circumstances, not soul-less machines.