Recently I came across an interesting article by Karin Deacon, Managing Director of PMideas. She talks about professional Project Managers creating their own exceptional personal brand.
When the word exceptional is viewed as an acronym, it contains several clues about how to set oneself apart.
1. Education and Experience make you ‘Xcel’
Project managers can excel through education and experience. According to Deacon, education develops “figure-it-out” resourcefulness and experience reduces risk, as project managers can apply the lessons they’ve already learned. Therefore, project managers should never stop acquiring new knowledge and skills in their quest for an exceptional brand.
2. Excellent Communicator
Communication has been identified as possibly the most important reason behind a project’s success or failure. Project manager should always be aware of the conversational styles of other parties, cultural issues, relationships, personalities as well as the overall context of the situation.
3. Being Ethical
The question of ethics is really all based on who you are when no one is looking. Some questions to ask are: “Am I treating others with respect?”; Am I being honest with myself and others?”
4. Being Passionate
Great leaders do only demonstrate passion, but they also connect their passion to their purpose with the end result always being greater performance. This is the role that passion plays in building an exceptional brand.
Project managers who are team builders, create teams that are motivated by the right things, challenged, have the ability to gain mastery over their set tasks and who are self-directed. You know you have built a great team when you see synergy from team members working together to achieve greater results as a team than they would have individually.
6. Influence and Power
Influencing is a strategy focused on the sharing of power and reliance on interpersonal skills to influence other to co-operate together to achieve certain goals. Exceptional brands influence their teams by leading by example, clarifying how decisions will be made while using flexible interpersonal styles that adjust to suit the audience.
A project manager must be organised with the ability to handle multiple tasks with the appropriate focus. There needs to be a balance between being people- and task orientated when organising your time and attention.
8. Effective Networker
Building effective networks is also an important part of the job. A true networker stays connected, in tune and in touch at all times.
Applying cultural, political and environmental awareness are also key to success. The skilful use of politics and power helps project managers to be effective.
Project leadership is all about focusing the efforts of groups/teams towards a common goal and enabling them to work as a team. It also translates into the ability to get things done through others and builds respect and trust. Emphasis is always placed on communicating the vision, as well as motivating and inspiring the team to achieve high performance.
Journey from Mediocre to Exceptional
The journey from being mediocre (just another project manager) to being exceptional is purely a matter of choice and discipline. Start with the personal brand you wish to live and breath. Lastly, remember that the exceptional brand is a journey and not a destination.
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