I have always been a great believer that Project Management is about the ability to lead a team of people to achieve a stated goal. The leadership aspect is the most important in being that Project Manager and a key skill required on all senior positions. That leadership skill can be seen in evidence by observing the openness and collaboration of the team in working together, especially when under pressure. Too many times i have seen in my career leaders talk about what they should do and then see them do the opposite under pressure. The ability to encourage the openness and creativity of a team is one of those.
I’m sure many of you have been in meetings, as i have, when the ‘leader’ is openly demonstrating the pressure of the situation to the detriment of working with the team to find a solution. A normal collaborative encounter is turned into awkward silence by seeing leaderships open angst with the team. Whats more concerning is observing everyone notice and do anything in their power to end the meeting and get out of the situation.
True leadership is the ability to turn those pressure situations into collaborative problem solving ‘wins’, ensuring the team feels engaged and working together. In fact, if handled correctly, they can bring the team closer which would bode well for future pressure situations.
So a message to ‘leadership’ that shows anger and dismay under pressure (and hence generates silence in a team) – understand that your team will collaborate and ensure a solution if you lead by example and encourage discussion. Act like a leader and not a bully or dictator – and by doing so listen to the team and observe problem solving evident in a group working hard to find solutions.