“If you're in a management position, don't focus on the title to convince people to follow you. Build relationships. Win people over. Do it and you will never be lonely at the top.” - Maxwell, 2007
People normally ask me: "What is a good Project Manager ?" and my answer is always: "I don't know... I'm still learning!"
You can read thousands of books, attend millions of training and still not fit in this 'perfect' Project Manager role, which I'd like to add, is very different from a normal role in the IT business. I followed the path every Project Manager takes, but in my opinion, this is a role where you learn every day how to get the job done and your soft skills are crucial to make this role work. Every team is different, and every person is unique, so I just try to bring the best from all team members, making the bridge with the client, trying to lead the change and share the leadership with amongst my team. Bottomline, you need to be a leader, but... a XXI Century Leader.
From the Beginning
Throughout history, there have been some leaders who stood out, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Jesus Christ as spiritual leaders, or Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates as business leaders in the IT area. In all of them we found some commonalities: self-confidence, motivators and they had an excellent face-to-face and gestural posture, added to their effective communication, which made them charismatic and surrounded by followers.
“The only definition of a leader is someone who has followers. Some people are thinkers, some are prophets. Both roles are important and very necessary, but without followers there can be no leaders...(...) an effective leader is not someone loved and admired. He is someone whose followers do the right things. Popularity is not leadership, results are.” Peter Ducker - The Leader of the Future
The true leader is, therefore, the one who drives ordinary people to have extraordinary performance, bringing out the best in each of the elements. A good manager is, essentially, measured by achieving a high level of performance to achieve a sustainable businesses based on a stable strategy.
As times went by, surged the need to make a better use of teams, not following the examples of the past and thinking, planning and delegating as a team, since an organization's priorities change in adverse moments and managers must also be agents of change. It will be required to manage with originality, adapting ideas according to the situation in which you are living and working, being necessary to be prepared to "always be online", as quick decision-making will be necessary, using Information Technologies.
We are not born leaders. A person isn't born as a leader, but instead this leadership is learned on a daily basis. To be a leader, it is necessary to go through a learning process and the greater this study and put into practice this theory, the greater will be the growth of the human being as a leader. It is imperative to be willing to learn, to understand the different realities, not to take anything for granted and to have the humility to relearn, to know how to deal with different scenarios, teams and markets.
The Seven Mistakes of leadership
Being the leader is a basic need of modern man, it is born from a right vision to make correct decisions. A leader must decide where all the parties involved will benefit from the decisions taken, realizing the importance of setting an example, not only in technical skills, but mainly in behavioral skills.
“Without effective leadership it is likely that both individuals and the team will feel goalless, dissatisfied and unmotivated”
For a greater awareness of the 21st century leader, we have to take into account the seven mistakes of leadership which are:
- Understand management as leadership;
- Hire fast and fire slow;
- Focus on tasks and not results;
- Informing instead of communicating;
- Lack of creativity and vision;
- Lack of personal development;
- Thinking and acting alone.
From former leader to XXI century leader
At the end of the last century, most of the concepts of leadership were formed around the relationship of control, coercion and resource allocation to improve productivity through obedient and committed subordinates, keeping people in a state of ignorance to facilitate manipulation through intimidation and authoritarianism. Today that era is drawing to a close. Trying to use this philosophy is doomed to failure, since today there are few naive human beings.
It is, then, a radical change from the leadership style of the past and most current leaders, leading through questions rather than answers, and putting yourself on an equal footing with your employees without fear of being disrespected, surpassed or disqualified, being more communicative and more cooperative. The boss (former leader) focused on the task and the current leader focuses on results.
Therefore, a competitive cycle centered on human capital begins, passing through the trident: people, environment and value.