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4 leadership techniques to try on your next project

Jan Underdown Jan Underdown

Published: 18th February 2019

Your leadership style isn’t set in stone – you can change it to achieve better results. Why not try one of these four techniques on your next project?

It can sometimes be frustrating to manage a project team, after all most office environments aren’t really designed to stimulate creativity and produce flashes of inspiration. So it is vitally important that you ensure your leadership style isn’t getting in the way of your team’s ability to do their job.

Just like the most successful projects are subject to review and scrutiny, so the best project managers subject themselves to constant self-review and self-scrutiny, and are never afraid to attempt a different way of doing something if it promises to bring greater benefits to their projects. And, of course, their own career.

There are four specific leadership techniques that project managers struggle with time and time again:

  • supporting their team
  • managing their team
  • directing their team
  • coaching their team

Be a Pace Setter

Pace setting managers set out what the team needs to accomplish and how they should go about it. Typically, it is better suited to technical teams where the project manager possesses the necessary skills to act as a full-team member. It is important to remember that you are the project manager, however, and you should also be smoothing the path for your team by removing obstacles and advocating for your team in the wider organisation.

Be a Director

Some teams respond best to authoritarian leadership where the project manager lays down what has to be done, and when. This leadership technique can quickly turn sour if not tempered with flexibility and response to team requests, and needs careful evaluation to ensure you don’t step too far back and become a dictator instead of a director.

Be a Project Facilitator

Many project teams work best in a highly democratic environment. The team acts as a whole, through constant messaging and frequent ad hoc meetings to brainstorm solutions to problems as they arise. During meetings the project manager acts as a chair person, introducing agenda items and ensuring everyone has a chance to contribute. In a wider context, the project manager creates team harmony and fosters good relationships to enable the team to gel together, and provides frequent positive feedback which can spur the team to better performance.

Be a Coach

A coaching manager is also quick to offer positive feedback and run democratic team meetings where teams can find their own solutions to problems. A coach brings out the best in their team by spotting hidden potential and challenging team members to unlock it, through careful allocation of tasks and through asking open questions to enable team members to find their own answers. They provide clear project goals for the team to work towards through setting targets that will progress the project.

Which leadership style suits you, your team and the type of project may well vary depending on who you are working with. But if your current style isn’t reaping results maybe it’s time to try a different way?

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