Leadership Techniques for Project Managers
Leadership (see wiki. Leadership) can be defined in innumerable ways; it has different meanings for different people. However, the most common definition would be – “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to willingly do something you want him to do.”
As a project manager, do you sometimes feel that even though you’re doing everything “right”, the others are not equally contributing to your project? Or, that inspite of trying to manage things well, someone else seems to have a greater influence over everything that happens? Or, are you wondering what are the leadership skills and techniques required to be an efficient project leader?
Leadership techniques are an important aspect of project management and are essential to make a project successful. It does not involve making friends while managing a project; it is about earning respect for delivering the desired value in a project. The following are the most commonly used leadership techniques:-
Know the project goals:-
To be able to efficiently lead a project, the project manager has to first have a well-defined project goal. Without knowing the direction, the leader cannot figure out which way to go. If goals are not defined or poorly-defined, then there are high chances of project failure. Moreover, to analyse the progress of the project, the manager would need to compare the output with the goals.
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Ensure that your team is aware that you care:-
An effective project leader has to make his team-mates know that he likes them and cares for their needs. He should always find ways to appreciate and motivate his team to give their best to everything. The fact is that if your team-mates are fond of you, they would go to any lengths to help you with the project and face all odds alongside you. Build a good rapport with them so that they open up to you.
Be a good example:-
If you want others to follow you, first you have to set an example. Therefore, practise what you preach. After all, action speaks louder than words. Keep away from the blame game and ensure that each one is accountable for the activities assigned to him.
Create a harmonious work environment:-
A project manager needs to create an amicable atmosphere where people enjoy working. He should shower recognition and appreciation on team members who are performing remarkably. Having a positive attitude and an enthusiastic personality really helps in achieving the desired results.
Bring competitive energy to the workplace:-
A project manager must lead with high energy. He needs to be enthusiastic about his project and make others feel the same and encourage his team to give their best. Building a competitive environment at the workplace will ensure that everyone contributes to the success of the project and help weed out complacency.
Analyze the data to develop solutions to problems:-
It is imperative that a project manager analyzes the data and project statistics to understand where the project is heading. It also helps him to understand various problems and equip him to find effective solutions. The project manager should discuss the problems with his team and see how they can collectively deal with the situation.
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Change the leadership style:-
A leadership style is a leader’s style of providing direction, implementing plans and motivating people. There are various kinds of leadership styles which can be applied by project managers. But, the most common leadership styles are- Autocratic, Democratic, Paternalistic, Transactional, Transformational and Laissez-Faire. It is in the hands of the manager to change his leadership style to adapt to the particular demands of various situations or the particular demands of his team-mates or the particular challenges facing his project.
Project managers are trained to control the three key project influences- scope, budget and schedule. However, it is equally important that he understands the nuances of team dynamics. A successful project manager needs to be well-equipped with ample leadership skills and techniques as well as incorporate the appropriate leadership style. In order to take a team towards extraordinary performance, he needs to understand the difference between management and leadership.