January 18, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Leadership and Your Communication Style

To be a successful project manager, it is important to develop your Leadership skills. You need to regocnize the behaviours that define you as a leader. One such leadership skill is to know and develop your communication style.

It means you have a natural style of communicating. This is the way that is the most comfortable for you to communicate, it includes whether you prefer written (email or other) or verbal (on the phone vs. in-person) communication and whether or not you are careful and deliberate in your communications or more comfortable thinking out loud.

This includes how you like to send communication and how you like to receive it. You might prefer to walk down the hall to see someone when you have something to say, but you might want people to email you things when they have things to say so that you have them in writing or so that you can refer back to them later or add them to your calendar.

You also have an adapted style of communication, this means how we communicate when we are upset or under pressure or during a conflict.

It is important to understand your natural approach/style and your adapted approach.

Then you can begin to understand the styles of others and how/when your styles work with others or not.

There is a lot to consider. And the most important question; is your communication style working for you?

Overall how do you know?

Well, to explore these questions; I invite you to attend a FREE Webinar entitled:

‘Mitigate Yourself! What to Do When the Risk is You’.

Margaret Meloni of Meloni Coaching Solutions will be hosting this live Webinar on 24 January 2012 from 12:00-13:00 PST.

Margaret delivers soft-skill, personal development products and coaching for Project Managers worldwide. Her coaching products help make successful Project Manager regardless of their industry. Learn more about her: margaretmeloni.com

Please Register, even if you cannot make it, you receive a free recording and can earn a Professional Development Unit (PDU).

In this Webinar you will learn:

  • You have a natural and adapted style of communications (meaning; how you communicate normally and when you are upset or under pressure).
  • Why it’s important to understand both.
  • How you can begin to recognize and understand the styles of others and understand when your style works and when it does not.

Be there to learn more about your communication styles and how they affect your success in the workplace and the success of your team.

Register today as seating is limited and when you do register please be sure to tell Margaret I sent you by filling in the ‘Who Referred You’ information.

Leadership and the Project Manager – What Leadership Role to Adopt?

Source: The Project Manager, Author Louise Worsley

This article is about the important aspect of leadership and what type of leadership role the project manager should adopt.

In projects, the leadership role of the project manager must be focused on ‘action’ leadership while the sponsor must take the ‘visionary’ and political leadership positions for the project to have any chance of success.  This will be explained by looking at the Pentagon model of project leadership.

Pentagon model of project leadership

The pentagon model of project leadership suggests five distinct leadership roles.  These do not operate in isolation, but are necessary elements contributing to the leadership of change. Individuals may take on several of these leadership roles, or more than one person may contribute to one area. However, an absence or failure of leadership in any one of these key areas will put at risk the entire project or programme.
Leadership and the Project Manager


Ethics and the personal responsibilities of the project manager

The professional bodies in project management all have a code of ethics for project managers.  The PMI’s code of ethics is summed up as:

As practitioners of project management, we are committed to doing what is right and honorable. We set high standards for ourselves and we aspire to meet these standards in all aspects of our lives—at work, at home, and in service to our profession.

The Association for Project Management identify that project managers have personal responsibilities that go “beyond those immediately implied by their contract with employers or clients”.  This is expanded upon further and two statements are particularly relevant to this discussion.  The project manager should:

  • act in the best interests of their employer and clients in all business and professional matters,  having regard to wider public interest concerns and those of any employer or colleague;
  • declare and appropriately manage all matters which are, or could be construed as, a conflict of interests.

On complex projects, project managers are inevitably faced with conflicts of interest.  The most important personal attributes for successful project managers relate to having the integrity (and in some cases bravery) to expose these concerns, and the tenacity to engage as vigorously as required with all stakeholders to seek out the best possible solutions. Managing conflict, in the sense of identifying and finding negotiated solutions to often complex competing stakeholder agendas, is part of the day-job for project managers involved in politically sensitive projects.

Louise Worsley is Director of PiCubed and lectures on the UCT executive development programme.  You may contact her at: info@pi3.co.za

Please share your thoughts about Leadership and Project Managers in the comments section below.

10 Ways to Build an Exceptional Brand as a Project Manager

exceptional branding

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.

E-X-C-E-P-T-I-O-N-A-L Branding

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.

5.      Team-builder

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.

7.      Organiser

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.

9.      Awareness

Applying cultural, political and environmental awareness are also key to success.  The skilful use of politics and power helps project managers to be effective.

10.  Leadership

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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7 Key Leadership Actions for Project Managers

Fulfilling the role of project manager for any length of time will call upon your leadership skills.  Especially in today’s complex world, the project management function is no longer a controlling function, but rather a function of leadership and facilitation.
7 Leadership skills for project managers

Project Leadership Skills

It has been said that the true measure as to whether someone is a leader is whether they have followers. Building a following as a leader is a vital component in your success and getting the results that you want. For a project manager your leadership reach is usually the project/program teams that you work with. This means that you don’t have the luxury of earning respect as a  leader over time, but you need to establish your credibility as a leader up front at the beginning of project.

So what are the 7 KEY leadership actions you can take to establish credibility as a leader?

Action 1: Demonstrate Competence

As the leader, people need to have confidence that you are a competent project manager. Being competent is not about being the expert in every area but having enough skill and experience to make effective decisions.

Action 2: Show Your Commitment

Project managers move between different organisational departments, different functional teams and sometimes they move between different companies (like contractors). While working with a particular organisation and functional team, it is of vital importance to demonstrate you commitment by working hard on a day to day basis. This will also set an example of the commitment you expect from your project team members.

Action 3: Be Consistent and Only Promise What You Can Deliver

Consistency is by far one of the key actions to establish yourself as a respected leader to be trusted. Consistent leadership requires you to be consistent with how you treat all people. Closely related to this is to only promise what you can deliver (agreed scope) and then to deliver as per requirements (satisfied stakeholders).

Action 4: Be an Active Listener

Most leaders are excellent at getting their points across verbally and in writing. Exceptional leaders are also exceptional listeners. Leadership requires you to pay attention to active listening.

Action 5: Prepare For Meetings and Presentations

You might have heard the statement, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Running a meeting or making the presentation is the easy bit. The key action is to always be prepared and have specific objectives or an agenda for every meeting.

Action 6: Take Responsibility

You get the rewards of being a leader and at the same time it comes with responsibility. When issues arise (as they always do), make a point of taking responsibility. You are ultimately accountable for the success of the project.

Action 7: Act with Integrity

A golden rule for all project managers in leadership positions is to make sure your behaviours or actions will be authentic and based on integrity.

Leadership is key

Leadership competence is not an optional project management skill, but a key part of being a successful, professional and efficient project manager. Make these 7 leadership actions part of your regular project manager make-up.  Credibility will come naturally as a result of applying these actions in your day-to-day management of projects. Your leadership skills will continue to grow stronger with experience; remember to enjoy the ride….

For future project management articles, please subscribe here, as well as to the blog (to the right).

About the author: Linky van der Merwe is a Microsoft Project Management Consultant and an IT Project Manager with more than 11 years Project Management experience.

She consults with business owners and service professionals about project management and project processes, best practices and successful delivery through projects. She is most experienced in corporate infrastructure projects (upgrades, migration, deployment etc) and process optimisation. She can be reached at linky@virtualprojectconsulting.com

5 Steps To Leadership Success

Keys to successWhat is your Leadership Style?

By Deanne Earle from www.unlikebefore.com

Have you ever been asked to take on a poorly performing team, department, or project in chaos? Do you leap in like the caped crusader to save the world or  are you overly consultative in an attempt to make friends and influence people? We know how challenging these situations are and we also know they can be exceptionally rewarding.

Follow our 5 steps to set the scene, quickly establish credibility, build trust and maximise the chances of success with your leadership skills.

1. Get Clear

If you’re not clear on what it is you’re being asked to do how will you be able to do it? Forget about the rumours and put aside your own thoughts and opinions for the moment because Step 1 is to have absolute clarity of your role by asking the following:

What is it exactly that you’re being asked to do? Do not presume to understand from the first explanation.

What role are you being asked to play? Tough guy, motivator, sort-out, clean-up, deliver, or all of these and more.

Why are they asking you? What is it you do that makes you the choice for this role?

What’s the timeframe? Constraints? Dependencies?

What is the line of accountability, level of authority, and scope of responsibilities?

Important Note – if the person asking you to take this role cannot answer these questions find someone who can. Get clear on your reporting path and purpose. Without this success will be severely limited from the start.

2. Agenda(s)

Find out who has what agenda and why. What are the motivations behind this need and how do they relate to the scope of the challenge at hand? Having this information will help you identify and fill any gaps in the brief and round-off Step 1.

3. Initial Thoughts

Based on Steps 1 and 2 you can now start adding the gossip, grapevine hearsay and corridor conversations you’ve picked up to begin forming your own initial opinions, ideas and thoughts. Many of these will be questions, which you’ll work to answer in Steps 4 and 5. It’s important to reserve judgement and for any opinions to remain fluid until you’ve got all the input because at this stage you’ve only been spoken to by a higher authority and you haven’t yet spoken with your new team.

4. Active Listening

Critical to a successful outcome is consulting with those you’ll be working with. The best way to do this is with 1-on-1’s. Preparation is imperative for effective leadership:

Clear your diary and make 1-on-1 times with everyone. Set expectations via communication:

  • Why you are the chosen one.
  • Set the scene about your role. Stick to the facts
  • Purpose of the 1-on-1
  • Input you expect from each person. Make it clear this is a collaborative session and their opportunity to contribute. You need their input on:
    • what works well now
    • what doesn’t
    • what they see as issues and risks
    • which things they believe can be improved, why and how
    • what level of involvement or contribution they’re prepared to have / give
    • what expectations they have of you
  • Conduct each session from a base of integrity. Approach each on as a blank canvas and with an open mind. Be firm yet fair. Create a collaborative atmosphere. One where trust can be built through honesty and transparency. Let each person know this is a level playing field and that they have as much, or more, to contribute as you do.
  • Let them talk getting their frustrations out while making sure to bring the session back on track if necessary. It’s their opportunity to be constructive and proactively contribute, not just a moaning session.
  • Make lots of notes. Paraphrase back what they say to ensure you have understood their meaning correctly. Where you know something is not possible or never going to happen, tell them. There are things you can and cannot influence so don’t lead them up the garden path.
  • Keep asking ‘what else?’ until you can see in their body language and hear in their words that all is out and on the table.
  • Wrap up the session with a definitive statement about what will happen next.

5. Plan for Action

Now it’s time to consolidate what is actually going to happen, who will do what, the milestones that need to be achieved and their timeline, and what approach you’re going to take to deliver it all. It’s important to invest time and effort here as:

  • you don’t want to destroy the momentum and trust created in Step 4 by paying lip-service to your new team
  • everything you plan needs to remain aligned with the original brief you’ve been given.

Taking all the gathered inputs you can now add your own ideas and opinions to develop a truly collaborative plan. Your delivery style is also critical. Always start how you mean to continue while also being prepared to adapt as situations change. Don’t forget to share the plan! Maintain the momentum you’ve created and maximise the opportunity for success by communicating what is to be done and the part everyone has to play in it. This clarity of purpose ensures buy-in because everyone in your team needs you to specify their Step 1.

These 5 Steps are repeatable and work every time. Use them with each new leadership role or situation and we know you’ll maximise both your and others success.

If you have questions or need further assistance to create this type of change in your business, contact info@unlikebefore.com

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