Project managers know the deal: Keep rojects on track by any means neces- sary. The trouble is, most project man- agers have to do so without any direct authority over budgets, schedules and team members. That can turn project managers into mere scorekeepers. Rather than focus- ing on leading a project from initiation to brilliant conclusion, some project managers wind up documenting all the ways projects veer off course, from tardy deliverables to products that don’t meet specifications. It’s no way to run a project—or a
team. And given that the org chart
isn’t likely to miraculously upgrade
project managers anytime soon, they
must find ways to lead without official
Salesmanship, negotiation and, yes,
even a dash of good, old-fashioned
charisma should take their rightful
place beside budgeting, scheduling
and resource management in the professional toolkit.
Project managers often depend too
heavily on technical competence when
they attempt to influence stakeholders
and motivate their teams, says Joe
Reed, PhD, president of organizational consultancy J.R. Training Inc.,
Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA.
To team members, that attitude
translates to: “Do what I say because I
know what I’m talking about.” Not
surprisingly, most of the time such an
approach doesn’t go over well in a
business world rife with competing
priorities, personal agendas and egos.
SOMETHING IN COMMON
Even the most powerful leaders know
they won’t get very far without true
insight into what’s driving team member behavior. For those without a
proper claim to authority, the task is
even more important.
“Project managers must have the
perception to motivate their teams
and to add value for the project and
>TIPTrue leaders know it takes more than statistics
to dazzle the executive suite.
Project managers are often naïve about leadership and influence, believing that all
they have to do is present the data, and resources and cooperation will be all
theirs, says Joe Reed, PhD, J.R. Training Inc., Lansdale, Pennsylvania, USA.
But leadership doesn’t always work out quite so neatly. “The problem is, we’re in a
human system,” he says. “Everyone has his or her own interests and values and sees