No one hands you a book with top tips for becoming a better leader when you jump into the role of a Project Manager.
Becoming a better leader isn’t easy when no one’s shown or told you how to do that. I wish they would. It would have made the job of managing my first project much easier.
We all grow up understanding authority, through interactions with our parents. That doesn’t mean we also understand what it means to be a leader, and specifically a project leader.
There are many aspects to being a Project Leader and in a conversation with Jason Scott, the author of ‘It’s Never Just Business, It’s About People‘ we touched on three of these.
You will find the podcast episodes attached so you can listen to our full discussion.
How to become a better leader
In this episode, Jason talks about how leadership is about inspiring team members, as a leader to get the best outcomes not only for themselves, also the project. I think that as soon as we see the title ‘Manager’ we automatically think of someone with authority, and Jason touched on this also.
There is a big difference between believing that you have and are the authority figure and everyone on ‘your team’, and notice I use the word your needs to do as you direct. This never gets the outcomes that you want.
Yes, in the short term people may do as you say because they don’t know otherwise. Eventually, you will set team members offside and productivity will decrease.
The thing to therefore consider is, are you managing, or are you leading?
To become a better leader you need to look at your style and whether you are actually managing, or leading. If you’re managing (with authority) how can you be leading your team through inspiring them?
Let’s not talk about accountability
I love Jason’s perspective that the time when a Leader needs to be strong is when things aren’t going well. Too often I see blaming and pushing back occurring, rather than a Project Manager stepping up and being the true leader.
True leaders will take the responsibility of fixing the problem; of calling the team together and seeking their input and help to rectify the issue that has arisen. Leaders will be on top of risks BEFORE they materialize.
This is about being accountable for the outcome, with assistance. It doesn’t mean that you need to do it all yourself. There is no ‘I’ in team remember!
Does your ego get in the way of team thinking?
Often times our own ego and ‘know it all’ mindset, or biases, as Jason calls them, get in the road of us thinking about teamwork. We tend to believe that we know best, to the detriment of team involvement where the collective mindset brings together different skillsets and ways of seeing things.
How often will you tell your team to do something, rather than involving them in the decision-making process?
By following these three tips for becoming a better leader you will begin to see that your team are more productive and committed, as a whole, to the projects successful outcome.
Jason Scott is the author of ‘It’s Never Just Business, It’s About People’
He is a Project Manager and Management Consultant supporting teams to be more successful by focusing on the people aspect of leadership.