Having got the right staff appointed and organized them into a highly productive unit – how do you make sure that they all know not just what they’re doing – but where they’re going with it. The answer to that is, of course, through your leadership skills. As a Project Manager your leadership skills begin with having a clear and coherent plan of action for yourself and the project as a whole – which you can then refer to in terms of leading your team(s) towards and through the objectives they need to meet.
The five essential skills for leadership.
There are five key skills essential for a good leader to posses. The first is knowing the facts of any given situation, in order to be confident that what you say or advise is correct. There’s no problem with admitting you’re wrong over something – but if you’re constantly corrected by subordinates or apologizing for errors, your credibility as a leader will be lost. The second key skill is being honest. Honest about what you’re doing and honest but tactful when correcting others. Skills three and four pretty well go together as they are setting a good example and never giving up. As the leader people want to look up to you. However, if you don’t constantly present yourself to the best effect, that high regard you’re held in will quickly evaporate. Also, if you quit something part way through, expecting someone else to pick it up for you – others will soon follow that lead too. Finally, remember you don’t have to be despotic to get the best out of your staff. People will respond well to an even handed and friendly approach, much better than being dictatorial with them.
Problem solving and leadership.
A Project Manager has to be a problem solver – which is a capability that will also serve you well in terms of your leadership. Any project will have its points of crisis. If you want to find a culprit to blame for the crisis, you’re probably not a good leader. A good leader will treat any crises as an opportunity for problem solving – not blaming someone else. How do you do this? Simply by having a total knowledge of the project, being prepared to roll your sleeves up and help out with something you’d normally leave to others – but without seeming to dominate it.