If you are leading a team then you need to act like a leader, but many project managers still get this part of the job wrong and then wonder why they have problems spearheading their team.
Being a good leader means walking the tightrope of continual balance between using hard and soft skills and not being too hard when you use your soft skills. You may have the best project management tools and software and there is no doubt these are important, but you still need to have the human touch when dealing with humans and treat them differently than you do machines when they make a mistake or even break down?
What does it take to be a good leader?
So, what does it mean to be a successful leader in the modern era of project management? Whether you are fresh to the field or an old timer; the following tips will help you begin to be the best PM you can possibly be.
- Be assertive not aggressive
The way managers deal with employees has come a long way since times of old when a boss would simply shout, shout and shout again! To get the best out of your team you need to know what makes individuals tick; using their unique personalities and skill sets to work with them rather than against them. It is not “soft” to use an empathetic approach either. You can still be a strong leader whilst remaining mindful of other people’s feelings.
- Provide direction
If you don’t have a clear project vision yourself then how will you able to communicate that vision to your team? You need to be able to lead them along the timeline of a project to its successful conclusion and that involves formulating a plan of goals and objectives to be met along the way.
- Offer training
You cannot expect staff to know what they are doing if they haven’t had the requisite training and it’s never a bad idea to brush up on new techniques and skills yourself. There is always something new to learn and change management training is a good place to start.
Being a successful leader does not mean working in isolation with your team on a lower level. Yes – you may be their superior but there is no I in teamwork which means you need to be able to get your hands dirty and take your share of responsibility when things go awry. A leader who can also be one of the team will garner more respect than one who only shares in the credit when things are going well.
- Boost morale
Nothing is perhaps more effective than knowing how to boost morale especially when the going gets tough. Change consultants will tell you that people do not leave jobs but instead leave their managers. This means that how a manager treats (or does not treat) their team that results in job satisfaction or your staff walking out the door.
About the Author
Michelle Gillam has written extensively, over many years, about a wide range of topics related to project management and change management. She is a PRINCE2 qualified project manager with a special interest in improving facilitation skills and communication skills. firstname.lastname@example.org