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Leadership vs. Management

Project Managers primarily need to be a Leader with just a touch of Management. Management is, according to The Oxford Dictionary of English:

"The process of dealing with or controlling things or people."

Whereas a Leader is:

"The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country."

The critical difference is between the word process and lead. Every Project Manager is responsible for controlling the budget and schedule; while a Leader is responsible for a coherent team that works to achieve the same goal.

Management duties include weekly or monthly tracking and reporting of various milestones and putting that package together for the Customer, internal, external, or both. Management is most often done following the company guidance on the format of the data to be reported and predictions of completion within the allotted time—a necessary but bothersome task.

Leadership is building and maintaining a coherent team that fully understands the final goal and is motivated to achieve it. This team may vary from the simple internal team with known people you have worked with before to the complex where the team collects internal team members, some know, some unknown, subcontractors, suppliers, and stakeholders. A good leader will work towards mutual respect for all team members, share the credit for the success, and willing to take all blame for failure.

The Project manager's goal should be that everyone on their core team should understand the problem and proposed solutions and believe in them. To that end, recommend taking the time to understand the history of the problem and the new solution. Every core member should be able to give an overview briefing at a moment's notice on how and why the Project is underway, who it impacts and how the solution is beneficial. Not to say that the core member need to be experts in every detail, expecting that if more information is in need, they can look to the sub-team for specific answers. Further, a relationship of trust and respect between team members is vital. Some rules to follow for good Leadership are:

· Lead by example and from the front.

· Never personally criticize an individual in a group setting; there are things you may not understand.

· Always encourage team bonding.

· In meetings, listen to differing opinions and consider them with the respect they deserve.

· Never allow one person to put down another personally, but rather take them to the side to counsel them; the last thing you need is a melee in a meeting.

· Always stand up for your team; if an outsider tries to pick a fight, remember you are the champion. This action encourages team fellowship, and they will do the same for others, including you.

· Always make the time to hear, offline of course, an individual's concerns, if technical bring them up in a meeting, when personal, keep it that way.

Keep a personal log that you review daily to help reduce risk, adjust planning, and so forth as appropriate. Portions of this log can also help generate lessons learned for the next Project or the next Project Manager. Keeping your team focused and friendly will almost always result in an excellent result.

For more insights into Leadership and maturing your Leadership skills, look to the Iceni Group.

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