Lots of people find change scary both in their personal and working lives and yet life itself IS change. Nothing stays static forever but yet the natural human inclination is to hang onto what we know but at what cost? Business need to move with the times and adapt to economic influences and customer expectations. Growth is inevitable and resistance is futile and any change management specialist knows this.
Working in the field of project management does offer a natural advantage because each project is undertaken for the specific purpose of bringing about change yet key leadership competency is needed when team members or stakeholders insist on dragging their feet. Here, we look at the key leadership qualities that a PM needs in their arsenal to lead a project to its successful conclusion:
A PM needs to have a vision
To be a successful leader means formulating a clear vision of change, the advantages of that change and communicating these in such a way that they are readily embraced by others. This means that you will need to use your soft skills when dealing with people and your hard skills when using the systems and technology when structuring the plan to be followed.
A PM needs to be able to be boost morale
All projects hit snags, and some can be more challenging than others especially when the stakes are high. Your team and stakeholders will look to you to keep the whole show together and that involves remaining confident and able to support and inspire others to keep going even when the going gets tough.
A PM needs to run a tight ship
When you think about a captain and his crew – the captain is the one responsible for setting a course and the crew work together to navigate that course successfully and it is no different in project management. To be a key leader you need to know when to step down from your leadership position to be a “people person” BUT you also need to know when to step up and trust your crew to get on with their jobs. You also need to know when to use firm but empathetic discipline if things are getting a little rowdy and uncoordinated below decks!
A PM needs to know their limits
Project managers are always learning and one of the key competencies is being able to know when you have reached the limits of your present knowledge. There is no shame in not having all the answers and this is where training can come in with change management certification which can continue your learning development and that of your staff.
A PM knows when to give praise or punishment
A key leadership competency is the ability to offer constructive criticism and conversely; unadulterated praise for a job well done. This includes giving yourself a pat on the back too along with your team.
Supporting people through change can be tricky, but a competent leader will use every tool in their arsenal to promote effective change.