We Need to Eliminate Project Managers!

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If this didn’t catch your attention, it should! This is what leading corporations are saying right now! What is your company saying?

Eliminating all Project Managers is a strong statement…but there’s a catch. We need to replace Project Managers with Project Leaders! Part of the definition of “management” is doing the same thing over and over and again. However, “leadership” is looking for new ways to accomplish challenging objectives and to clear the path ahead. This is where Project Leaders truly bring value to an organization!

Project Managers are great at playing by the rules. We love following methodologies such as those outlined in the PMBOK or other agile development processes. We live and die by templates, procedures, structure and organization. But, what happens when we move into uncharted territory and those just aren’t enough? That’s where Project Leadership comes into play!

Project Leadership is about standing up in front of a group of people and acknowledging that you may not have all the answers about the new endeavor ahead, but you are going to do your best to lead the way. Project Leadership is about being able to make the best decisions possible with limited amounts of information. Most importantly, Project Leadership is about taking the lessons you learned throughout this journey and sharing them with those who will come behind you.

The following are three areas where you can exert Project Leadership in your environment and make a BIG difference for those who are on your team.

Leadership Tip #1 – Pave the Way

If you are working with new technology, new team members, or different functional managers, make sure you pave the way for others to follow. For example, does training need to be conducted? Find out exactly what needs to be covered and schedule the training. Do relationships need to be fostered, enhanced, fixed, repaired, or started? Do what’s necessary to make sure those effective relationships are in place so there is no hesitation in reaching out to others when help is needed.

Work with your team to identify other obstacles that may impede their progress. Allow your team members to stay heads down and work on the task at hand while you remove these obstacles and clear the path for them to move forward.

Leadership Tip #2 – Take the Heat

When something goes wrong on your project (and it will), then stand up and take ownership! Don’t blame the resources (assumption: you have the right people on your team) but rather acknowledge a misstep, put a plan in place to get things back on track and then execute against that plan!

Again, your team will appreciate your straight-forward approach and the fact that you’ve “got their back”. This allows them to reciprocate with the same type of loyalty and you will quickly find that they will go above and beyond your expectations.

Leadership Tip #3 – Motivate the Team

A project leader is the barometer of the project. When your team looks at you, do they feel the enthusiasm, hope and energy that are necessary to drive a project to completion? Or, do they see someone who is down-trodden, pessimistic, and on the verge of throwing in the towel?

A leader needs to make sure they send out the right signals, despite their circumstances. Doing so is not easy, but the effect it has on the team is well worth the effort.

The Results of Project Leadership?

When you make the shift from being a Project Manager to being a Project Leader, you can expect a positive project team that knows you have their best interest at heart and has a clear path to follow to get their job done!

So, do we need Project Managers? Sure we do. There are always going to be projects that need to be managed. But, with the complexity and unknowns of today’s new technologies and evolving work styles, Project Leadership is more important now than ever before!

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