1. What are characteristics of a GREAT project manager?
2. How do you as a project manager build leadership skills?
So what makes a great Project Manager? Projects are people not equipment or PERT diagrams, so for me the most important competency of a great PM is people focus. A great Project Manager builds relationships, is interested in others’ success. He or she is emotionally intelligent, gives positive and constructive feedback, coach and teach other to perform their best, is exceptional communicator and listener and provide formal and informal recognition.
I agree with Daniel Goleman, that emotional intelligence is crucial and “without it, a person won’t make a great leader". "I have found, however, that the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader”. More in HBR article “What makes a leader?”.
IBM study (already mentioned in one of my article) reveals that creativity is the most important leadership quality followed by integrity and global thinking (1500 corporate leaders, from 60 nations and 33 industries were pulled on what drives them in managing their companies in today’s world). Creative leaders are more prepared to break with the status quo of industry, enterprise, and revenue models.
How do I unlash creativity, build integrity and think globally?
- I support and reword creativity & innovation. I’m open to new ideas and give the team freedom to try new ways of working or new tools or processes.
- Build trust and high level of honesty – I trust people until I’m proven wrong.
- Find or create some rituals or common symbols – special designed t-shirts or hats, morning coffee together ( I really liked the idea of NTPM 2013 hats, and PMI “I’m PMI” T-shirts etc)
- Create positive work environment. Add some fun to work – integration/team building activities, interviews with team members on their passions, hobbies or achievements (both from work and outside)
- Formal and informal celebration. Birthdays, milestone/project accomplishments.
- To understand the cultural differences and make relationships I try to visit a country where my team members are based – very often at my own expenses. If cannot effort a visit try to find out more on cultures through reading, speaking to people or visiting a restaurant representing the ethnicity of a team member.
- Coach and mentor rather than control
- Focus on personal development and knowledge sharing – encourage team members to taking part or speaking at conferences and then sharing the knowledge and experience with others
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