/ Are project managers pompous and manipulative?

Are project managers pompous and manipulative?

Business Life magazine – the one shoved in the seat pockets on British Airways flights – has a column in this month talking about project managers. It’s the light relief, ‘Business Lifer’ column at the back, written by an anonymous ‘executive globetrotter’. During January, Business Lifer has been recruiting as well as considering his own CV in the light of transferable skills. He writes:

I realised with joy that I had the ability to ‘project manage’. I had to be sure so I went through the common attributes of the best project managers I knew. They all maintain a tedious attention to detail, like to call in well before work and command you to do something, strut about as if they are extremely important and have an annoying habit of summarising conversations and emails midflow. It turns out I’m just as pompous and manipulative as the best of them.

Now, I can strut with the best of them, but I hope I’m not pompous and manipulative. In fact, pompous and manipulative is the worst of them – these are exactly traits that project managers should not have.

Project managers serve others through their actions. We deliver a service to our project stakeholders and project customers (both internal and end user). We get things done through other people; we enable others to do their best work in a way that delivers the most value to the organisation.

Pomposity is the enemy of getting things done. Manipulation is the opposite of collaborative teamwork. Both of these may deliver very short term results, but the long term damage to your career and credibility is not worth behaving so badly for.

For another take on what project managers are like, check out this YouTube video: Stuff Project Managers Say. I thought it was funny, and I’m sure you’ll recognise yourself and colleagues. I reckon I’ve said all those things, although I don’t have alcohol in my desk drawer, I have emergency chocolate. What do you have?

And do you think the Business Lifer view or the video is a more accurate description of project managers?

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