For a project manager to be effective he/she needs to be able to both lead and manage. Leadership and Management are not the same. However, they must complement each other if you are to be successful. So how are they different?
Leadership is everyone’s business. Leadership is not a position or a title that one holds. Everyone is accountable for leadership in an organization. Real leaders can be found at all levels in any organization.
I just finished reading “The Leadership Challenge” by Kouzes & Posner over my Christmas holiday. This is probably the best book I have read on the principles of leadership and what is at the core of great leaders. This book is based on over 25 years of research and study on the topic. The great thing about the book is it tells the stories of great leadership from many aspects and levels of everyday leaders. It talks about how leaders can be developed and are not just “born” that way. It helps provide a recipe of what constitutes a great leader. The book takes you through “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” and the “Ten Commitments to Leadership”. It is a great guide to leadership. Simply a great & must read for any leader! Which is everyone at some point in their life.
Al Senzamici, PMP
I am working with a management consulting firm who is planning to present at our local PMI Chapter meeting. In doing so I came across a book that she was reading and she had posted a synopsis of a key area of the book. The synopsis then led me to the website of the two authors of the book where I found a video of one of the authors speaking on the subject of Leadership and The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. It was a great interview of him speaking about the five practices listed below.
The main objective of a brainstorming session is to gather ideas from all participants without criticism or judgement. A successful brainstorm session allows people to be as creative as possible without restricting their ideas in any way. It is a “free form” method which generally promotes excitement, equal participation, commitment to decisions, and great solutions to problems. I have recently been involved in a few brainstorming sessions and it appears that many people are unaware of or have forgotten the technique.
As Project and Program Managers, we are leaders. Certainly within our teams, but often within our organizations as well. Ideally, if we’re doing it right, our influence is also felt beyond our immediate sphere.
Almost everyone knows or has an idea of what mentoring is. Not everyone has had the advantage of having a good mentor, or the privilege and responsibility of being a good mentor. Consider these thoughts on mentoring in the context of leading and developing project and program teams.
- Mentoring contributes. It contributes to the individual being mentored, it strengthens the organization that you both belong to, and it often benefits the person mentoring in intangible but meaningful ways. It’s the right thing to do for the right reasons.
- In the constantly evolving, educated and highly skilled world we operate in, people will come and go in organizations as their careers grow and develop. This is not a reason to not mentor them.
- Mentoring can center around hard skills and soft skills. Often it is the mentoring on soft skills that facilitates the most significant growth in an individual. Hard skills can be taught in classes if necessary. The subtleties of soft skills (understanding what matters and what doesn’t, and how to apply that in tactical managment strategy, in business or in life) can’t.
- Mentoring is not about doing things for people and thinking they will learn through the exercise. It’s about sharing insight, sometimes resourcing them, supporting and nurturing them, and then getting out of the way.
- It’s OK for those being mentored to struggle and even fail at times. It’s often when things are difficult that growth occurs. Many times mentoring simply takes the form of continued encouragement and belief in the individual being mentored.
- Show that you value the time of those mentoring you by being concise with your interactions with them, listening and applying what is learned.
- We as leaders are never too old, too experienced, or to knowledgeable to be mentored. Opening ourselves up to and considering the ideas of others is one of the most meaningful ways that our experience can be leveraged to the benefit of our teams and organizations.
Mentoring can make a huge difference in the effectiveness and cohesiveness of your teams and your organizations. It’s all in what you put into it.
In the course of managing our projects there comes a time in our personal interactions where the project manager will have to provide feedback and may even have to say something negative to the person they are dealing with. There may also be the case where they have to say something negative to say to you. I prefer to call it constructive criticism/feedback rather than negative but many people refer to it as negative.