Project managers often struggle with leadership. Here are some places where they can find the right opportunities to be great leaders. This is understandable as project managers don’t have direct responsibility for their teams. However, they are expected to manage and motivate the teams to deliver projects on schedule and within budget. Being a project manager requires tenacity and a natural desire for leadership.
Is this something you naturally desire? Some people do. Others need coaching to help them believe in their leadership abilities. These five tips will give you a boost.
1. Good communications are your priority
It all comes down to being a good communicator. Leaders communicate effectively in a way that encourages dialogue and establishes authority within their own domain. As project managers, they are the team leaders. They manage all details of projects and foster healthy conversations to ensure collaboration and positive outcomes. This is a great start. But how do you communicate effectively and establish PM leadership?
First, keep all communications open between clients and team members. You must share meeting notes and conversation details in one central repository. Make sure everyone is aware of decisions made. Listen to anyone who challenges a decision or has a complaint. You don’t have to be the leader. It requires that you listen, consider all options, consult your team, and make the right decision for the project. Learn more about being a great communicator by reading Chapter 1 of the Guide to Project Management.
2. Trust builds
It can be difficult to inspire trust and credibility among others when you are the one sitting in the middle a team or clients. You must also keep a timeline and budget in mind at all time. People mistakenly believe that you will put the timeline or budget before them. If you are a great project manager and a true leader, your priority should be to put people first. They are the ones that make or break a project.
How do you build trust? It’s as easy as building relationships. You can show that you care by listening to people, making time for them and engaging in their projects. People will trust you if they see that you care about the project and not just the timeline and budget. Chapter 7 of The Guide to Project Management contains a wealth of information about how to become a trusted member of a team.
3. Lead the change
True leaders inspire and motivate others to do better. You should have the ability to bring about change as a project manager. Explore new methods and processes. Push boundaries and challenge ideas. Accept that you will make mistakes. You will inspire your team to succeed by having fun and helping them improve their work habits.
4. Be an honest project manager
Leaders are often armed with a lot of information–financial, personnel, operational–and it’s hard to know when to use or share that information. No matter what the situation, it’s best to trust your instincts and be honest about the information you have to help a team member or project.
Stop allowing a situation to escalate into something worse. Be honest about the possible outcomes and assess the problem. Tell someone immediately if it could affect them. Honesty is the best way to end any type of conflict.
Honesty is the best way to live your professional career.
5. Think strategically
The PM is responsible for managing the project’s budget and timeline. However, they should not be limited to these matters. Leaders look at the long-term impact of their decisions and think about the bigger picture. Project managers who are good at leading their teams to success will focus on the present while anticipating and planning for the future.