As unsung leaders of our world, project managers know a thing or two about tasteful leadership.
Ensuring that projects run smoothly, no matter how chaotic they may be. Forming an ideal climate for the successful completion of (often complex) tasks. And even acting as a source of understanding, flexibility and collaboration.
Project managers pay close attention to leading people the right way.
As the quiet heroes that ensure that these projects (new apps, cloud migrations and prediction engines) are delivered, it’s important to recognise them as leaders.
Not just as coordinators.
Seasoned Project Manager, Justin Gerber Shares His Thoughts
“I like leading, directing, and helping people.” Says Gerber.
With the high level of involvement that project managers have in executing projects, it’s safe to say that there is a large degree of influence associated with the role of PM.
Which requires specific attention to people and an open attitude.
“I manage projects, but lead people. I’ve managed different teams from quite early on in my career. It was pure management and I didn’t like that. I don’t enjoy management, nor managing people. I like leading, directing and helping people.”
So what can we learn about leadership from a seasoned project manager in the tech space?
3) Be An Enabler Of People
“I really see leadership as an enabler of people. Which can sound contradictory because the title is project ‘manager’.
“But it’s looking at the people who you’re leading and really understanding that there’s potential in every one of them. It’s important to recognise that within each person and acknowledge that you need that potential. That way, you’re able to help them utilise their strengths to fulfil whatever the collective goal is.”
2) Act As A Focal Point For Guidance
“Another important part is being able to be that focal point for direction and coordination. In times of question or in times of uncertainty, you need to offer people a focal point for guidance.”
“It’s a big responsibility. Knowing that you are influencing people in a substantial way, you don’t want to do it haphazardly. It’s something that I think all leaders are anxious about.”
“You have a level of accountability as a leader to those people. It’s important to recognise that.”
1) Remain Flexible
“There are times when you need to be a flexible leader or at least a malleable leader and change in terms of the situation you find yourself in.”
“At the same time, it’s important to realise that you can’t also just be the visionary that’s always 10 steps ahead. You need to be in the moment and adapt appropriately.”
Which is especially true in the tech space. Where the innovation is fast and the competition is high-stakes, forcing the need to constantly keep up with new tools and processes.
“I feel there’s this lack in thinking around innovation is that there’s this buzz practice to innovate with all of your data. People then take it to the extreme and innovate monthly, daily, weekly and never actually get to see the fruits of that. To know if that might’ve been a better solution.
“Maybe you had the right solution a month ago and now chasing new innovations is just undermining what could have been the best system, solution, or process for you. Remaining flexible is key to managing that.”