The Six Deadly Sins of Project Management Leadership

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Sin 4: Your team is there to get the job done – no matter what.

Of course your team is there to do the job, but your team also wants to learn new things, develop sought-after skills, take on new challenges, and have some fun along the way. People don’t mind working hard, extremely hard and under difficult conditions, if they feel they are appreciated and are getting something out of it.

Antidote: A colleague of Ward's, Joe Czarnecki, suggests meeting with each key team member at the beginning of the project. Ask them what they want to learn as a result of being onboard. If you can help them gain key skills, and get the best work out of them, it’s a win-win for all. Think of it this way: at the end of the project, would these people want to work for you again? If not, you’ve failed at leadership.

Gone are the days of top-down structures. In today’s “flatter” and more cross-functional world, leadership is needed everywhere. Organizations require that everyone, including their project managers, take up the baton. For too long, project managers were viewed by others, and themselves, more as mechanics assigned to “fix” a problem, rather than a critical leadership resource responsible for implementing the organization’s strategy.

The successful twenty-first century project manager (PM) must exhibit a wide range of leadership skills to guide cross-functional teams in the pursuit of delivering value and excellence through projects, programs, and other major initiatives. Beware of the following six sins of project management leadership, identified by J. LeRoy Ward, PMP, PgMP, executive vice president, ESI International, as any one of them will undermine your ability to function at the highest levels of performance.


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