LEAD… FOLLOW… GET IN THE WAY…

By MaryGrace Allenchey, PMP

lead or followLead ? Follow ? Get In The Way ? …. Which of these do you do?… All?… None?… One?… And if you would choose to do so, when would you do it?   Always?… Sometimes?… Once?…

Experienced PM Professionals acknowledge that Project, Program and even Portfolio Management (ie: PM) require effective implementation of all three leadership capabilities. And seasoned managers are well aware that associated with each of these capabilities are the DO’s that facilitate and sustain successful performance, as well as the DON’T’s that frustrate and promote poor performance.

PM best practices enable appropriate, efficient, proficient and effective implementation of these leadership capabilities….

Lead: Influence, Guide, Go Before

  • DO’s:
    • Do “manage by objectives” and produce the Deliverables Diagram, WBS, Schedule, Budget and Control-Processes.
    • Do foster and facilitate PM Vitamin C6®Communication, Collaboration, Cooperation, Commitment, Consensus and Celebration.
    • Do apply “Situational Leadership” to Direct, Coach, Support and/or Delegate.
    • Do perform “Exception Management” to expedite issues resolution.
    • Do listen to all stakeholders… including Client, Customer, End-Users, Vendors, Management and Implementation-Team, et al.
  • DON’T’s:
    • Don’t require all issues be escalated to Project or Program Manager for resolution.
    • Don’t dictate “task-implementation” style.
    • Don’t make “task-specific” decisions
    • Don’t talk all the time.

Follow: Conform, Imitate, Go After

  • DO’s
    • Do implement the PLAN
    • Do comply with enterprise policies… especially resource-staffing, vendor-selection and contract-management.
    • Do use “successes” from prior “lessons-learned” sessions
    • Do acknowledge and accept advice and/or solutions from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
  • DON’T’s:
    • Don’t continue to perform ineffective procedures.
    • Don’t promote or perpetuate “it’s always been done this way”.
    • Don’t produce unclear or ambiguous progress reports to “say what’s wanted to be heard”.
    • Don’t succumb to challenges as crisis and ignore the PLAN.

Get In The Way:  Augment, Revise, Go Between

  • DO’s
    • Do enhance and polish the four facets of the Performance Diamond® …  Knowledge, Process, Technology, Professionalism.
    • Do perform Earned Value Management (EVM) to revise the PLAN.
    • Do implement “conflict management”.
    • Do enable “issues resolution”.
    • Do challenge ineffective processes.
    • DO provide individual performance-feedback and professional-development.
  • DON’T’s:
    • Don’t dismiss the PLAN.
    • Don’t request unplanned / Ad-Hoc Reports.
    • Don’t conduct unscheduled meetings.
    • Don’t micro-manage.

So we have it!!…. The PM recommended response to the question in the first paragraph?… Embrace all leadership capabilities… Lead, Follow, Get In The Way… always.

Proficient, efficient and effective application and implementation of PM best practices facilitate and enable the leadership skills and capabilities that optimize overall performance and sustain success.


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