Learn To Focus On Project Leadership

What is ‘project leadership’? It’s about being an effective leader and not simply a ‘manager’.

Project leadership involves creating a team, being clear with your communication and listening.

Are you a project leader?

There is a difference between just being a ‘Manager’ of your team and really leading it. Project Managers often get hung up on the word ‘manager’ as their title. What would it take for you to become a Project Leader instead?

You can learn to be successful as a leader.  Being able to build a cohesive team is just one of them. I like to call this the ‘One Team Work Ethic.’ It’s all about having your team all on the same page as you are and the only way to do this is through open and honest communication and having the team involved.

The difference between a leader and a manager is that a manager likes to stay in control of everything and tell people what to do.

A Leader, on the other hand, will involve his team members and gets the best from them. The leader does this by having the team fully engaged in the task at hand.  Here we are talking about project delivery.

project leadership

There is a difference between leading and managing

Which leads me to the point that there are key differences between leading and managing, one of which I touched on above. In a post, I wrote titled ‘How To Lead Not Manage,’ I shared a list from a SlideShare presentation that I saw which really resonated with me. It included the key behaviours that a leader has, a little different to the skills they require to be effective.

Some of these behaviours you may not have connected with leadership and yet here they are:

  • Leaders focus on people
  • They inspire trust
  • Leaders challenge the status quo
  • Drop or delegate some of your delivery activities
  • Identify and get to know potential allies or blockers
  • Speak the language of your business, not your profession
  • Don’t confuse being ‘in’ meetings, with influence
  • Leadership takes you beyond the ‘but’
  • It’s taking people beyond what they are comfortable with

Leaders need both skills and the right behaviour to be effective

There are also 7 key skills that a strong leader needs. They are: Asking questions, listening, wanting to know, wanting to learn, being open to change and different ways of doing things, clarity in your communication and treating others as humans with an intelligent mind.

This is my list of the key skills required that I’ve developed after many years of watching leaders who aren’t effective, and learning for myself what is needed in myself to be a good leader.

The habits that are ineffective for leaders

Marshall Goldsmith has a list of 20 ineffective habits of successful leaders. I want to talk to you about only four of them. I’ve chosen these four because they are ones that have a significant impact on your interaction with others

Starting with no, but or however – negative qualifiers that say you’re right, they’re wrong

Making excuses – your need to make your excuse-making as a permanent fixture that everyone is okay with

Winning too much – the need to win at all costs. when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when its totally beside the point

Failing to express gratitude – the most basic form of disrespect

Do you notice how each of these impacts on your ability to be seen as a strong leader?

Leaders are comfortable saying ‘No’

Often we think that when we say no to someone we need to justify our reason for saying it. And this isn’t true. If we have thought about and considered what has been presented to us, or what we think needs to happen, and we arrive at a ‘No’ then it’s okay to deliver that message without justification.

Sometimes leaders get themselves caught up in saying ‘Yes’ to something when they mean ‘No’ just so there is no confrontation or conflict within their team.  This creates more tension and problems in the long term.

The key is to notice what is going on for you, as a leader, when you say either Yes, or No. Are you feeling that your answer is your truth?  And yes, notice I said ‘feeling’ into your answer. Don’t be afraid to notice how you are feeling when you provide a response.

This is true leadership. Being vulnerable enough to know what is your truth.