Project Leadership

I came across an interesting post here on leadership from an attitudinal perspective:

As an instructor at UCSC-Extension I’m constantly hearing the moans, whines and whimpers of the PMs that have yet to comprehend this truth. There is valuable time and energy being wasted on working issues in areas outside of their circle of control or influence. All for not. Take a moment and brainstorm some of the challenges that stand in your team’s way. Assess what IS and IS NOT within your sphere of control. Then get to work on these things first. Then turn your attention to the other list.

Sometimes opportunities come disguised as problems. It took some optimistic thinking for that first person to see the edible inside of an artichoke despite its thorny exterior. Likewise you may find elements within your control by changing your perspective on issues that on the surface seem impossible. Recognition is one topic that falls into this category. Many PMs think they are handcuffed by financial restrictions to incentivize team members, but fail to see that’s not what research says people really want. The top motivators include being “in on things”, written recognition from manager and help on personal problems. Change your thinking and then seek to find new ideas. It’s natural!

I like the focus on attitudes to problems/issues/ opportunities. It aso reminds me of Dee Hocks comments the projects leaders role. In his view, the efective project leader should be spending her time managing peers, stakeholders and generally “up” the organisational hierarchy. If you recruit properly, then your team should mnage itself. So a project leader should be concerned with communication, persuasion, networking and shouldn’t need to focus on managing the team, motivation, performance management yada yada… mmmm perhaps a bit idealised unless you work in a great organisation or are just plain lucky (I think I’ve been in that situation maybe twice in my career).


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