Are you tired of being a typical project manager, working on typical projects, being passed over for promotion, and receiving typical performance reviews? You need to grasp something immediately. Being a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), proficient in the project management knowledge areas, and having completed successful projects is insufficient to qualify as a top performing project manager. Today’s project managers face new challenges and expectations that require them to evolve to the next level. If you do not act immediately, you will fall behind.
Consider the daily obstacles you face: Motivating teams that are more difficult to mold and direct than previous generations. Increasing the speed with which new services are introduced in order to stay competitive. Managing change in all of its manifestations, including new corporate regulations, methods, and policies. Managing ever-increasing customer expectations Managing increased business expectations.
Being a project manager with a traditional management style of “tyrannical management and control” does not work in this new business environment. This is one of the reasons why there have been so many project managers laid off in the last three years across all industries. Business leaders recognized that their traditional project managers were detracting from the organization’s value. They were incapable of rising to new challenges and expectations. Traditional project managers are considered obsolete and are listed as an endangered species.
Addressing these issues requires leadership. Why would you wish to alter your leadership style? Let us see. Who is the most effective motivator? A Guide. Who elicits the most effort and insightful thinking from others? A pioneer. Who is always up to the task of overcoming formidable obstacles and achieving lofty goals? A pioneer. Who instills in people traditional workplace virtues such as loyalty, commitment, and on-the-job zeal? A pioneer. Who receives promotion? A pioneer.
Project manager in the conventional sense vs. leader
Therefore, how come there are so few leaders? Many believe that the traditional “tyrannical management and control” style of management, which entails ordering people around, kicking buttocks, and taking names, produces faster results. This approach may be effective, but it has a significant negative impact on employee morale, team performance, and long-term success.
Take a look at the following list, A Leader’s 13 Core Competencies, to determine whether you are a traditional manager or leader. To retain your current project management position or advance your career, you must first understand the distinction between the two and which leadership core competencies you will need to develop in order to succeed in the future.
13 Core Competencies of a Leader
Leadership Style. Traditional project managers are in charge of supervising, controlling, and correcting. Leaders plan, inspire, and motivate their followers.
Goals. Traditional project managers prioritize short-term objectives and strictly adhere to an endless series of internal processes. Leaders think and act as if they own the business; they understand the value of long-term goals, have vision, and are committed to success.
Style of Thought. Traditional project managers are content with incremental gains and stick to tried-and-true strategies. Leaders are constantly on the lookout for new information and ideas, willing to learn new techniques and ensuring that employees broaden their knowledge base.
Communication. Traditionally, project managers communicate in a one-way fashion, issuing orders and speaking at people. Leaders promote interactive communication, are receptive to both positive and negative feedback, and take the time to listen to their employees and customers.
Emotion. Traditionally trained project managers are analytical and aloof. Emotional energy is generated by leaders. They motivate employees and customers to achieve goals on a consistent basis.
Trust. Traditionally trained project managers are devout adherents of Murphy’s Law. They keep a close eye on their employees. Leaders inspire a high level of trust in their subordinates.
Openness. Traditional project managers are pessimistic, require proof of everything, and take pride in saying “NO!” Leaders value diversity and are receptive to novel ideas and individuals who differ.
Action. Traditionally trained project managers collect excellent ideas but rarely implement them. They over-analyze situations, resist decision-making, and avoid risk. Self-starters and action takers, leaders think quickly on their feet, devise solutions to critical situations, and take calculated risks.
Mentoring. Traditionally trained project managers rarely coach or mentor their direct reports. They are methodical in their approach and strictly adhere to procedures and checklists. Leaders assist employees in developing the habits necessary for success, empower them to make decisions, monitor performance, and provide feedback.
Change. Traditional project managers value the status quo, will go to great lengths to avoid change, and view change as a threat. Leaders encourage and embrace change, adapt quickly to it, are unfazed by it, and view it as an opportunity.
Attitude. Traditionally trained project managers are pessimistic and inaccessible. Their primary objective is to please the boss, followed by customers and employees. They are judgmental and seek to deflect blame. Leaders understand the power of a positive attitude; they treat each individual as unique, maintain objectivity, apologize for and admit mistakes, and maintain a positive frame of mind.
System of Values. Traditional project managers lack documented personal and team values and are unfamiliar with their own corporate value system. Leaders document and refer to personal and team values on a daily basis because they believe values guide people and are worthy in and of themselves.
Performance Evaluation. Traditionally trained project managers rarely monitor or review their teams’ performance. When they do, the measurements are subjective, and employees rarely have a sense of their daily performance. Leaders are constantly tracking employee progress, involving employees in tracking their own performance, and utilizing performance measurements as a training tool.
How To Develop Into A Leader
Were you destined to be a leader? Obviously not. Are you capable of being a leader? Yes.
Leaders are created, not born. Traditional project managers must focus on developing the 13 Leadership Core Competencies in order to be successful and meet new business challenges. Leadership development, mentoring, experience, and daily commitment to core competencies will be critical to your future success.
To begin your journey toward becoming a project management superhero, you must first take the first step.
The following are some of my favorite project management and leadership websites to get you started: www.btrconline.com, www.ccl.org, www.pmi.org, and www.business.com.
“One Minute Manager,” “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People,” “Who Moved My Cheese,” “Not Bosses But Leaders,” “The Leader Manager – Guidelines for Action,” “Enlightened Leadership,” and “First Things First” are some of my favorite leadership books.
Best wishes for future success.