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Leadership is a 24/7 job.
BY ALFONSO BUCERO, PMP, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
Yup to you to set the tone and the pace. When
you accept the responsibilities of leadership,
you lose some of your rights. You lose the right
ou are the leader of your project team. And it’s
to be cynical or negative, to blame others, to indulge in
“pity parties” and even the right to some of your private
time. Whether you’re leading a local team or a pan-global
one, you’re under a magnifying glass. When you’re
down, your people are down. When you’re up, your
people are up.
Your team members are watching everything you do.
Even when you think they’re not paying attention, they are.
I remember managing a project last year and one evening,
after a very stressful day, I hit a chair during a discussion
with one of my team members. Some other team members
were in the room and saw me lose control. And the next
day, everyone was talking about “Alfonso’s reaction.”
Sometimes, you might want a break from the pressure
of leading. But there are no time-outs with leadership.
Everything matters. Even though you’ve been professional
all day, don’t think that what you say to your team away
from the office doesn’t resonate. I knew a project manager
who used to drink some beers with team members every
Friday after work. But what could have been a nice way to
connect with the team on a personal level turned negative
when the leader sometimes talked badly about his boss in
front of the group.
If you’re committed to being a great leader and you want
team members to be committed followers, there are three
things they’re expecting you to do:
1. Find great people. Your team members want teammates who have a desire to be on the project, a talent for
doing the job and values that fit with the project values.
Hiring the right people is one of the most important
things you do. Involve your team members in the process
and bring in people who will help them be successful.
>>Whether you’re leading a
local team or a pan-global
one, you’re under a
magnifying glass. When
you’re down, your people
are down. When you’re up,
your people are up.
2. Replace people who aren’t contributing to the project
mission. Letting someone go isn’t easy. But if you look
around and see that a few of the people on your team aren’t
working out, you have to take charge—they can be more
detrimental to success than any competitor. When it seems
like you spend more time cleaning up after someone than
recognizing the achievements of your truly skilled people,
get on with it.
3. Treat your people with respect. You need your team just
as much as they need you—sometimes even more. So treat
your team like you would want to be treated. And, as our
world becomes more global, respect also translates to project
managers learning to work with team members from a variety
of cultures. PM
Alfonso Bucero, PMP, is an independent consultant
who manages projects throughout Europe and Asia. He is
the author of Project Management—
A New Vision, coauthor of Project
Sponsorship: Achieving Management
Commitment for Project Success and
contributor to Creating the Project