How to thrive when you arrive!

By Lakecia Carter, PMP

As a PM, I’m convinced there are 3 places that we find ourselves along the journey of Project Management, where we: make things happen, watch things happen or wonder…what happened?! There are times when we lead by doing and/or facilitating. We can also become temporarily disengaged for a variety of reasons. What about you? Where are you on your PM journey today? In no particular order, let’s visit these familiar destinations and discover new ways to thrive when you arrive! 

Destination #1: We make things happen!

 We are the “doers” or the ones in the driver’s seat. This doesn’t mean we are single-handedly running the project because that’s impossible. In most cases, we are leading in a matrix environment where we don’t have direct authority over resources. To thrive here, you can:

Protect the team. Stand in front of them and guard them. Work tenaciously to remove obstacles for the team.

Partner with the team. Walk alongside them. Have a “we are all in this together” attitude and let it show in your words and actions.

Push the team. Stand behind them. Give them 100% support. Give praise and tough love when they need it. 

Destination #2: We watch things happen!

 We are the “facilitators” or the ones in the backseat. This doesn’t mean we are passive, spineless PMs. Instead, we are empowering others to be successful in their areas of expertise. To thrive here, you can:

Build trust. Relationships are built on trust. Be authentic and let your words and actions match.

Pay attention to team dynamics. Seek to understand what makes the team tick and maximize their productivity. Focus on continuous improvement and teambuilding.

Equip the team. Provide new ideas, processes and tools to ensure a collaborative-friendly environment through visibility and frequent communication. 

Destination #3: We wonder…what happened?!

 We are not on the journey at all – we are mentally or emotionally “parked” at the rest area. Sometimes we may be overwhelmed, stretched too thin or simply drained.  The truth is when we are not present or connected, we cannot lead.  You can’t thrive here, but in order to survive, here are 3 surefire steps you can take to get moving again:

Reflect. Acknowledge and understand the root cause. Why and how did you get here?

Regroup. Take a break and refocus on your priorities. Talk to someone. Seek help. Make sure you take care of yourself first, and then tackle work issues.

Recover quickly! Get back on the road again. The team needs you. You are still a leader! 

No matter where you are on the journey, you can thrive as a leader. Most importantly, you should  always be self-aware and aware of your influence on others. What do you do when you find yourself in these places? How do you thrive on the journey until you reach Destination #4 called Success? Please share!


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