For me, project success (or failure) rests on people - I've said it lots of times before and I've written a number of blogs about it.
The same message was borne out at an event I went to a few weeks ago. Entitled ‘The Human Face of Project Management’, one of the speakers was my amigo Pedro Angulo, Head of Leadership Development in AIB. He talked about the role of leaders during change, touching on eight specific things Leaders can do to successfully bring people through change.
Although I won't deliver this with nearly the aplomb that Pedro did, I felt it was worthwhile sharing what he covered.
Provide clarity of direction and focus - I’ve spoken about this a lot - a leader's ability to translate strategy so it's relevant for their team, then point the team in that direction is critical to success. And they need to be be very clear and careful in setting project-related goals and objectives. Research has shown that there is a direct and negative correlation between number of objectives set and number achieved - the more you set, the less are achieved.
Enable performance through conversations - I work with lots of leaders and, time and time again, it’s apparent to me that enabling performance isn’t something we’re particularly good at. With more of a coaching mindset (using basic coaching models like GROW - Goal, Reality, Options, Way Forward) and focusing on feedback leaders can get more from their people.
Practice collaborative project leadership - We all know that silos exist in organisations and even within project teams - without the right leadership, it's easy for teams to focus only on their bit of the puzzle. Good collaborative leadership breaks down those walls, engaging collective intelligence to solve problems and deliver results across multiple projects or boundaries.
Inspire your team - The word 'inspire' comes from the Latin, 'inspirare', 'to breathe life into' and that's a key role in a leader - to breathe life into their teams, to be the one breaking down walls, standing up for their team members and doing things differently.
Challenge mindsets - When you bring together a team of people they bring with them ideas and thinking that will hopefully broaden the team's thinking. However, not all of those ideas and not all of the thinking is perhaps as positive or useful as it could be. So,being able to challenge mindsets, to challenge thinking in a constructive way can be very powerful. Ultimately, it can mean getting to some even better thinking than was perhaps first intended.
Grow your Emotional Intelligence (EI) - EI is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately; and use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior. By understanding yourself makes it easier to understand others, to empathise (and sympathise) and to get the most from those people
Grow your self awareness - Knowing what you're good at (and what you're not so good at) is very empowering. It allows you to understand how others perceive you, and your attitude responses and reactions to them in the moment. Moreover, increased self-awareness, when combined with increased EI brings with it the ability to change your instinctive reactions and be more balanced and effective as a result.
Love what you do - It was Steve Jobs who said 'the only way to do great work is to do what you love'. I was at Pendulum summit in Dublin in January and one of the speakers said "Hell on earth would be to meet the person you could've been". I thought it was very powerful - it's easier not to change than to change, easier to continue to meander through life than make active decisions to change your life. Ultimately, to be truly effective, to give 100% you have to be happy in your job
I’ll be running another masterclass on ‘Creating a Culture of Change’ on 17th January in the Irish Aviation Authority in Dublin. You can find out more and book tickets by clicking here
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