Succeeding as New Project Manager - Leadership

As a project manager you may or may not have any leadership qualities.  From the project perspective it would be fine if you are able to deliver the project successfully. However in real world the team members look up to the manager as a leader. This puts onus on you to be a leader as well as a manager.   

So what is the difference between the two? 

Management is about planning, budgeting, dealing with day to day issues, risks, actionizing, coping with complexity etc.  Leadership has a people dimension to it. As a leader one should be able to motive and inspire people, manage their work related aspirations, have a vision and set direction, effectively deal with changing environment etc.  

Leadership qualities need to be developed and honed, they don’t just come naturally for many people. The best way to lead is leading by example. Essentially it means do what you would expect your team to do.   Set an example and climate in your team where people come to you for directions, empowerment, coaching.  These things are easier said than done. If you are a new manager you will often find it difficult to lead the team, you may be able to manage the project parameters.   So what are some of the things you can do easily to effectively lead your team

  1. Set a clear goal – Your leadership abilities should ultimately help you in delivering the project successfully.  Can you clearly and unambiguously state what do you want to achieve in your project and by when? If you can do this and get
  2. Listen Actively – By listening to your team members you can build rapport with them, understand their issues and respond effectively. Take a course on active listening.
  3. Build trust and trust your team – The easiest way to build trust is to make promises and then deliver as per the promises you have made. So be careful before you commit or promise anything to your team members.   Great leaders trust their team and not question everything and keep their eyes on the final goal.
  4. Never criticize – Even if you think your team member is not doing things right, there is a way to deal with that situation, arrange for a formal feedback session and clearly set expectations, then 

The more people you handle , the more you can hone your leadership skills. You will keep improving as a leader. Ensure that you keep attitude of learning and constantly improving. Learnability is more important than knowledge when it comes to succeeding as new project manager.