It is inarguable that a project management team’s success is the result of the concerted efforts of its members. However, one fact that cannot be overlooked is the role of the team’s leader in driving his members to work. His leadership skills can make or break a team, and motivate or discourage them. It is important, therefore, for leaders to have the right skills for project management to bring the team to success.
What are the necessary leadership skills for project management?
Basically, most leadership skills apply across all industries and fields. Project management leadership skills don’t have to be singled out. Here are some of the necessary ones.
- Good communication. Communication is important in every aspect of life. At work, it involves meeting and interacting with different types of people from different backgrounds. This makes it important for leaders to be able to articulate information in a clear, understandable, and complete way. Good communication skills set visions, goals, and expectations clear between all parties. Equally important is the ability to listen which is the way to receive feedback and work on a leader’s improvement.
- Negotiation. Negotiations along the way of a project are inevitable and leaders have to be open to them. Great leadership should know where to stand and how to negotiate with the organization’s goal in mind. This also means that leaders should be able to listen to all parties and come up with a compromise to arrive at a good decision.
- Motivation. Teams are composed of different personalities with different backgrounds and it is a challenge to bring them to work together. As they begin as strangers, a leader should be able to transform them into a unit that has common goals. A good leader should know the members’ individual specialties and design a plan that will yield optimal benefits for all. Leaders should be able to tap into the emotional side of the members to motivate them to give their best.
- Delegation. True leaders delegate tasks to their members. This is not to take off the load from his shoulders but to get the best out of the members. Delegating is not a sign of weakness but true leadership because it is based on one’s knowledge of everyone’s capabilities. When tasks are delegated to the people with the right skills, higher productivity is achieved.
- Positivity. Leadership isn’t all just about the brains but it is also about the attitude. Leaders who can create a positive environment at work put their members at ease and make them more productive. When a team is happy, they are not stressed out and they would love to continue working.
How can these leadership skills be developed?
Everyone is familiar with the old adage that goes ‘leaders are made, not born’. This is because leadership skills can be acquired and developed. They don’t just appear overnight. Leaders only become leaders when they have mastered these skills. Until then, they remain as managers or administrators. Here are some ways to develop leadership skills for project management.
- Learn to understand the team. As already mentioned, teams are composed of people from different backgrounds. This makes it necessary for leaders to know their members on a deeper level, beyond just their names and positions. Leaders should try to identify their strengths and weaknesses and what keeps them motivated. It is also helpful to know their preferences when it comes to rewards and recognition. To do this, leaders can randomly strike casual conversations with their team members. This can be done either on a one-on-one set-up or group communication. For example, while taking a coffee break in the pantry, why not break the ice and ask about the latest shoe craze? Random topics can go a long way.
- Show discipline. One of the best qualities of leaders is leadership through action. If leaders want to be followed and obeyed, they have to show it themselves. For example, when attending meetings, leaders should be on time, pay attention, take down notes, and follow instructions. These may sound elementary but when members see it, they too feel good about doing it themselves.
- Be open. Some leaders don’t like it when their members disagree with them because it hurts their ego. This is not right. True leaders understand that members have their own opinion and ideas which may be better than theirs. When a leader’s thoughts are questioned, he shouldn’t take this against the person. This only shows that the member is thinking and feels comfortable with being open to their leader.
- Keep learning new things. Reaching the position of a leader doesn’t mean everything stops there. Leaders need to continue to update and upgrade their knowledge, considering that they are leading a team. This is also true since they are the go-to person of the entire organization. These new things don’t always mean theoretical knowledge but also skills and common sense.
Developing leadership skills should involve not only the actions that are done towards others but also those done on oneself. Good leaders also take care of themselves. Here are some of these things that can help develop leadership skills.
- Check your power level. Leading a team can be exhausting, especially when faced with so many tasks and projects at the same time. It is important to take the time to sit back and make sure that their power level is still okay. Leaders should not let themselves become exhausted before they do something about it.
- Take breaks. After checking their power level, leaders should take breaks every now and then. This lets them recharge their ‘battery’ and keep their health in check. Without breaks, one’s patience wears off easily which can spark ill feelings at work.
- Don’t always be serious. Take the time to laugh at corny things. Talk about non-work-related stuff at work without compromising productivity. Order lunch to be delivered with the team at work. These are things that benefit both the leader and the members.
Leadership is developed because if people were born with it, what happens to those who have it but never get promoted? Anyone can be a leader but it takes a special one to become an effective and beloved leader.