Are you a PM, a Leader, or Both? (2/2)
Apart from the internal and external environment of the project team, the project itself is a source of challenge to the project manager in terms of leadership. Each project, according to its nature, its output to deliver, its technical nature, and its professional field, needs a special adaptation of the project manager's leadership skills. A construction project, driven by the predictive methodology, would need a strong, charismatic, unshakable, and highly focused leader. In the other hand, an IT project would need a flexible and agile servant leader, federating the ideas, and mainly focusing on the stakeholder’s satisfaction.
Last but not least, the organization’s culture could be a lever or a barrier as well for the project. An efficiency-oriented project manager could face problems in a blindly commitment-oriented company. Also, a project-oriented leader would suffer in a product-oriented environment. To proof this right, simply we should look at the number of the companies that collapsed because of a change operation that failed because of leadership. Finally, as Peter Drucker said: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, each project manager should adapt to the company’s culture in order to improve his project’s success chances.
"An efficiency-oriented project manager could face problems in a blindly commitment-oriented company."
As communication is one of the culture’s manifestations, it looks to be normal that according to most of the project management standards and related researches, a project manager should spend most of his time in communication activities. He should communicate internally to direct the project team and report to the client and top management, as well as, externally to stay alert to external signals and inform the further stakeholders. Hence, the project manager has the duty to master the art of communication, sending the right message, to the right party, at the right moment, using the right tool, in the right circumstances. Even if it looks simple and easy to manage, a communication failure could be fatal to a project as a simple mistake in an email address list could compromise the whole project.
As any group of human beings, professional organizations are a fertile ground for politics and power games. Then, besides mastering communication, a project manager should learn about the political landscape of his organization and how to pull the power strings in order to get his project successful. Negotiation skills are also part of the political skills set as they allow the project manager to secure resources in the upstream and to get things done in the downstream.
"Nevertheless, a leader should keep in mind that without a team he is no longer a leader and leadership is hereditary and is about long-term vision."
Based on what was said in the previous paragraphs, a project leader should master many skills to get his project to the aimed destination and to deliver the requested outputs. Nevertheless, a leader should keep in mind that without a team he is no longer a leader and leadership is hereditary and is about long-term vision. Then, every leader should empower his team members to make them the leaders of tomorrow by offering them enough autonomy, developing and trusting them, and calling for their courage and innovative spirit in the toughest circumstances.