Leading projects offers managers a unique set of challenges. They often bring together a diverse group of people, for varying lengths of time. Some are dedicated to the project; others are only involved part-time. Some are employed directly by your organisation and potentially others come from third-party sources.
This means a project leader needs to have several skills beyond knowing about the tools and techniques of project management.
The 6 key qualities of a project leader.
Use these 6 techniques to improve your project leadership skills.
- Raise your organisational awareness
- Be an effective planner
- Learn to motivate people
- Organise your resources
- Be a flexible communicator
- Develop problem solving skills
1. Raise your organisational awareness
The structure of an organisation, its culture and size will impact the degree of power and influence a project leader has.
For instance, some sectors are heavily project driven, such as IT. Whereas others may only use projects on an adhoc basis, as they are required.
Organisation factors will influence a project leaders’ authority, role, budget management, resource availability, and staff access.
2. Be an effective planner
Creating an initial project plan and scope, getting it signed-off by the project stakeholders and maintaining it during the project are a core project leadership skill.
This is what people often identify with when they think of project management. There are numerous tools and techniques which can be used in this planning process.
3. Learn to motivate people
You will need to keep the project members motivated. This may also involve motivating their managers too, if they have other tasks to perform outside of the project.
4. Organise your resources
Organising the resources to support your plan is key to getting it executed. As mentioned in the introduction, projects often have many moving parts, and people are one of them.
People take days off or leave the organisation, equipment breaks down, software licences expire etc. any of which can impact the best of plans.
5. Be a flexible communicator
Effectively communicating with project members, other stake holders and any other interested parties within the organisation or outside of it, is also important. This is often done using the project planning tools mentioned above.
The key is to get the right information, in front of the right people, with the right format and timing. For instance, a project member may need far more detailed information than a high-level project sponsor.
6. Develop problem solving skills
Problems occur in even the simplest of projects. Gather the facts, weigh up the options and decide a course of action. Above all stay calm and rational.
Can the problem be solved within the core project team? Maybe you need to involve a project stakeholder, for instance, if scope shift is creating the problem.
So, start using these techniques and become a better project leader.
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