Five Steps to Becoming a True Project Leader

Are you a true or false project leader?

True project leaders are not project leaders for themselves. True project leaders seek to bring out the best in their team mates . . . not put themselves on a pedestal.  They let team members realize their own success. True project leaders are remembered for the right reasons.

False project leaders, on the other hand, are those who acquire a project leadership position for their own glory. They talk a lot about “I” . . . and not a lot about “we.” False project leaders are remembered for the wrong reasons.

You can become a true project leader by practicing these five teambuilding steps.

1. Lead by Example

Getting excellent performance from the project team is the result of many small work habits repeated day in and day out. Aristotle said: “Excellence is an art won by habitation and training.” True project leaders develop excellent work habits in their team mates through leading by example, gentle influence, and encouraging feedback. You cannot coerce anybody to change. Coercion leads to compliance. Consistently setting “stretch” goals for project team members leads to commitment.

2. Coach for New Skills

True project leaders search out the potential hiding in team members and coach it out. Coaching means knowing when to coach and how to coach. And, true project leaders adapt their coaching style to the learner’s personality and needs. Coaching helps team members to become more productive and effective . . . by becoming all they can be.

3. Treat People Right

Practice the Platinum Rule: “Treat others the way they want to be treated.”

What a difference from the Golden Rule. The Platinum Rule, by Tony Alessandro, accommodates the feelings of others. The focus of relationships shifts from “this is what I want, so I’ll give everyone the same thing” to “let me first understand what they want and then I’ll give it to them.”

Treating team members the way they want to be treated is the hallmark of true project leaders.

4. Empower Them

True project leaders know that “real” power is the ability to give power to others. Empowerment is sharing information, rewards, and power with team members so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.

True project leaders give team members skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.

5. Be Patient and Persistent

True project leaders know that when they patiently and persistently lead, coach, and develop the project team, improved results will happen. Be patient in knowing that much of what you do will not have immediate impact. Be persistent in doing something every day to move your project team forward.

Practice these five teambuilding steps and you can become a true project leader.

James L. Haner

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