6 Attributes to Look for in your Project Management Champion!

Have you ever been part of a team that is implementing or using a new tool or methodology and one of your team members is super excited and supportive of the new tool or methodology? This person may even be you! They do not take ‘no’ for an answer, and they spend their time encouraging others and keeping everyone’s eyes on the prize. This person is the “Champion” and there may be more than one. You want to have these people on your team. Similarly, project management champions are those individuals who have been formally or informally appointed to drive Project Management improvement within your team or organization. As I outline in my previous blog post on the 5 Critical Success Factors for Project Management Improvement – “Project management champions go above and beyond their typical role to advocate and ensure the success of project management within the organization. In the case of tackling project management improvement, they are the individuals who use their position and expertise to create a winning environment. The more project management champions you have and the more senior they are, the better!”   6 Attributes of Great Project Management Champions Project management champions can come…

The Ethics of Project Management, Social Responsibility, and Authentic Leadership

Peter Drucker (2001) famously stated that “management is about doing things right; leadership is about doing the right things.” The question needs to be asked from a Project Management perspective – “Am I an ethical Project Manager?” According to the Centre for Ethical Leadership (2015), “ethical leadership is knowing your core values and having the courage to live them in all parts of your life in service of the common good.” The recent crisis in the financial markets has turned a spotlight on the ethical aspects of all organizations, including its Project Management Office (PMO). As with all Project Management concepts, there are many frameworks available that describe ethical leadership and its impact on an organization. Dr. Jonathan Westrup (2015) presented a simple model that illustrates how an organization’s ethics determines their values and ultimately impacts their governance (Figure below).   Ethics Ethics can be simply defined as a set of beliefs about right and wrong. Companies face daily dilemmas that require choosing between competing sets of values and priorities to satisfy multiple stakeholders. Ethical issues involve how to disperse benefits and harm among stakeholders. An example of an ethical decision for a Project Manager would be should I “gold-plate”…

4 Practical Ways to Demonstrate Project Leadership Skills

In a recent post, I mentioned anyone can become a leader – it just takes practice, intent, and commitment. This applies to both project managers and team members; after all, leadership is a choice. We follow great leaders who motivate us to achieve more, not because of title or authority. Regardless of your position, you can practice leadership skills at any stage of a project. I’ve put together four essential skills and extra reading to help you get started on your leadership journey.   4 Essential Project Leadership Skills 1. Communication From emails to IMs, meetings, presentations, impromptu chats, stakeholder engagement, and vendor management – communication underlies all project activity. There are numerous ways to improve your communication skills, but a good place to start is with active listening. In The Leadership Handbook: 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs, John C. Maxwell wisely notes the best leaders are listeners. Listening leads to understanding and new insights, which improves your relationships with the team and colleagues. Another facet of effective communication is selecting the right format. When preparing a project communication plan, it’s easy to get tied up choosing the best tools and channels so remember to get back to basics.…

How to Build Your Personal Leadership Brand in 5 Steps

Think about your most recent purchase. Did you choose a particular brand over another? Did you make this choice based on your previous experience with that brand in terms of cost, quality, consistency, ease of use? Maybe the brand fits with your lifestyle or values? Brand acts as a signal to consumers, and in turn, our brand choices reveal part of ourselves to those around us. Your personal leadership brand is no different. Developing and sharing your leadership brand lets your team and colleagues know who you are, what you stand for, and how you work. Read on to learn how to create your own personal leadership brand for project and career success.   What is Leadership? Before you can establish your own leadership brand, you need to figure out what leadership really is and what is means to you. Numerous definitions and styles exist, but in the context of collaborative project management, leadership is a way to excite people to outstanding performance.  A project leader uses influence – not seniority, titles, or strong personal qualities – to drive the efforts of their team towards a goal. Leadership is critical to organizational and project success. In their book, How to Be…

Leadership Styles and Project Management

So what exactly is the role of the project leader and how can we link leadership to performance? Project leadership is about leading the project in the context of the wider business and organizational strategy. It is creating the culture and working environment within the project that contributes to its success and performance. It is about decision making, judgment calls, and motivating the team with consistent communication. All these areas indicate how the project leader’s behavior can influence success. There are, of course, a variety of different styles in leadership, for different contexts and approaches. This article will address these styles and how they can be applied in project dynamics. 6 Project Leadership Styles Daniel Goleman’s Leadership That Gets Results, a landmark 2000 Harvard Business Review study is an authoritative source on leadership styles. Goleman and his team completed a three-year study with over 3,000 middle-level managers. Their goal was to uncover specific leadership behaviors and determine their effect on the performance. Here are the six leadership styles Goleman identified among the managers he studied, as well as a brief analysis of the effects of each style: The pacesetting leader expects and models excellence and self-direction. If this style were summed…

Lessons in Leadership: John Wooden

Sport is a great place to turn when looking for examples of great leadership. You think of the legendary coaches who led their teams to tremendous success. To me, one person who stands out as a great source of inspiration and an example of a great leader, is the late John Wooden, former UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach. John Wooden is widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport. He was the Head Basketball Coach at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 – 1975. Towards the end of his tenure as a head basketball coach, he won ten national championships in the space of twelve years. His achievements on the court and building UCLA into a dominant program was an amazing feat in and of itself. But there was more to his leadership than just the trophies. There is a chapter in our Collaborative Project Management Handbook that starts with the following quote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States* Wooden captured that essence in his approach. One of the…

What Is The Best Personality Type For Project Managers?

I recently introduced the nine Enneagram personality types and their impact on leadership styles. It is worth spending some time reading and considering the nine types before deciding which best describes you. Understanding your strengths and traps, or healthy and unhealthy behaviors, can positively affect your management and communication style. It is also worth remembering that self-awareness is key to emotional intelligence, an increasingly valuable skill for collaborative project management.   Find Your Enneagram Type You are very likely finding yourself in many of the nine personality types. To help you a little bit on this quest, your type goes to the root cause of why do you do what you do. I might appear extremely helpful to others and perhaps this is because I am a two (the helper/giver). Or maybe it is because I am being paid to be helpful and I want to be successful, so I am acting as a three (the achiever/motivator). I might spend hours cutting the trees in my front yard to a perfect height because I am a one (the perfectionist/reformer). Or, perhaps I do this because today it appeals to my artistic side (the romantic / individualist). Picking your personality type…

11 Leadership Qualities of a Great Project Manager

Leadership is an essential and critical skill that can determine the magnitude of an individual’s achievements within their career. To be a successful and productive project manager, however, the qualities of leadership that are required can be very different from other fields of work. The main focus of a project manager is to effectively oversee and lead the project, not the individuals completing it.  This makes the set of necessary leadership qualities very unique: 1. Convey the Big Picture As the manager and owner of a project, it is essential for project managers to possess the skills to understand and visualize the entire picture of a project and convey this effectively to the whole project team. Once a leader is able to successfully communicate this message, the project team can more thoroughly understand the importance of their role and contributions to the end results, as well as how it impacts their overall career. 2. Build the Team One of the most important roles of the project manager is not only to be a great team leader but a great team builder. Productive and successful teams are those that are able to maintain a strong, positive dynamic and stick together to…

Project Leadership and its 6 Different Styles

Project Leadership Styles This article examines the differences between project management and project leadership and identifies the different leadership styles, behavior, and approaches and identifies both the importance and impact of the different styles in the context of project management. So first of all, allow me to ask the question “What is Project Leadership”? I did a search recently on Amazon.com for books using the keyword “leadership” and it returned 110,897 titles. You find many so-called “motivational posters” on leadership where it’s often depicted as a lighthouse shining brightly in the middle of a storm guiding ships to safety, but one of my preferred definitions is from Goffee and Jones (2012):  “Effective leadership excites people to exceptional performance”. Daniel Goleman (2000, p.78) wrote an excellent article listing the different leadership styles and compared them with the analogy of a set of golf clubs. As a golfer would select the correct club for the appropriate shot, a competent leader would apply a particular leadership style in a certain scenario. Goleman summarized that leaders who used styles that positively affected the climate has decidedly better results than those who did not and the different styles and their attributes are summarized in the…