While the role or job title might be project manager, project managers also need to act as leaders. They need to help set the vision for the project and motivate the team to work by influence. Here are six tips to improve your leadership skills to lead project teams better.
Be self-aware—Self-awareness is a crucial leadership attribute. Identify your strengths and weaknesses, and use the knowledge to leverage strengths and improve weaknesses. It is also critical to know your leadership style and its impact on the team. Self-aware leaders are usually better communicators, and communication is essential for the role. You can work on self-awareness by taking psychological tests such as the Strengths Deployment Inventory, asking others for advice, and taking time for self-reflection.
Seek counsel—A very recognizable name in leadership, Jack Welch, once said he didn't need to be the most intelligent person in the room. Instead, he surrounded himself with experts in various areas to provide advice. It's also important to note that a diversity of opinion leads to the best identification of options to consider for problem-solving and decision-making. Want to learn more about the details of how to ask for and receive advice? Check out The Art of Giving and Receiving Advice from HBR.
Be proactive—Be proactive and organized. It will enable you to handle work more smoothly and set an example for your team. Staying ahead of issues will help you help the team in meeting their goals. To be proactive will also require a heightened ability for critical thinking and good decision-making. It's best never to have to play "catch-up."
Delegate effectively—Delegation provides opportunities to assess and grow the team. Leaders also need to be aware that they cannot do it all themselves. Learning to delegate effectively helps everyone to improve. To effectively delegate, make sure you
- select and empower the best resource for the task
- clearly communicate what needs to be accomplished
- let the team member you are entrusting determine how to achieve the task
- demonstrate confidence they can complete the task
Don't let any of the common barriers stand in your way!
Be an active listener—While communication is a large part of the leader's job, leaders need to spend more time listening than talking. You can use our GEAR model:
- Give verbal responses
- Eye contact
- Ask questions
- Restate and reframe
Be a continuous learner—The best leaders continuously learn and apply their learnings to future work. While some people are natural leaders, others can learn. Be sure to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses and plan for self-development. Human knowledge now doubles daily - be sure to stay abreast in your chosen field as well. Want to learn more? Check out The Best Leaders are Constant Learners.
Do you have some additional advice for leaders? Please leave a comment below.
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