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I have had some really interesting and informative conversations on Clubhouse in the Project Management Club recently. I talked with Michael Tanner of Credible Leaders to discuss leadership in project management and here are the highlights from that conversation.
Michael defines leadership as influencing others to a shared goal.
How do you avoid overcommitting and doing all the tasks?
Michael: Think about whether you want to commit to this task in the long term. If it was a recurring task, would it be your role/would you want to do it longer term? If not, it’s probably something others in the team should handle.
Elizabeth: As an apprentice/early on in your career, it’s OK to do all the tasks. Test out doing everything, see what you like doing, be helpful and support everyone on the team. But as your career progresses, be more selective about what you take on so you have time to do your actual role.
How do you build relationships (and quickly)?
Michael: Do your homework on the culture and background of colleagues to speed up the process. Relationship building doesn’t only happen while we are face to face. Build the relationships you need to own the work so you aren’t simply a messenger but you own the resolution.
How do you deal with lack of executive support?
Michael: Normally this happens for 2 reasons: the exec doesn’t believe in the project or care about the success OR wants the project to be a success but is distracted. In either case, lead up. “Here’s what would have to be true in order for this project to be a success.” Then say what you need (in a private conversation).
Elizabeth: If the exec doesn’t care about it, why should you? There are often several options to having this discussion. You can say what you need for the project to be a success within the current constraints, and you can also offer options about sourcing additional staff, extending the timescales, delivering a lower quality version of scope, or a phased scope etc.
How do you deal with a project manager who is dominating the status meetings when we want everyone to contribute?
Elizabeth: Think about how to make meetings more engaging. A template to complete beforehand probably won’t help. Individuals could be leading on their parts of the agenda. Don’t use the meeting to repeat things that could have been an email.
Michael: Think about why it’s valuable for the individuals to contribute and lead with that, so they know why it matters for them to be engaged in the session.
Do you have any book recommendations?
Follow us on Clubhouse: @elizabethharrin and @mtanner