Rethinking Leadership

What type of leader do we need for the coming year(s)? Is it the same one as we’ve always had or do we need to rethink our definition of what makes a good leader?

In Project Management (and in every professional capacity), having a good leader is critical to a project or organisations success. Having a bad leader can spell failure, delays, poor morale and high turnover.

In my career, I’ve had a lot of different managers. I’ve been spoilt with absolutely fantastic and admirable people who have really guided me towards my own definition of “What made a good leader”. I’ve also had less great Managers. The ones who demotivated me or destroyed my faith in an organisation, who undermined my own abilities and used their position for personal gain.

What sort of leader do we need?

I found the above image and it really spoke to me about the skills that I would be needing in the near future to get projects done and be the leader that my team deserves. Here’s my take on what being a leader will mean for me in the coming year.

1) I’ll be the leader my team deserves

I’m very fortunate to work with a great team of excellent individuals. Moving forward, I’ll be striving to push their to their full potential through support, investing in their career through training and mentoring and giving them the opportunities (where possible) to shine.

2) I’ll be the “good captain” in the storm

2020 has really shaken a lot of teams and leaders. How we work, what we’re trying to achieve has been turned upside down and this has caused a lot of issues for team development and structure. During the next year, I’ll be investing in my own skills to make sure that I can support my team with whatever issues we face and provide the structure they need to be able to work. I’ve thought about including more video sessions with the team that are remote and more “agile coffee” sessions so that they can still have some of the structure that we’d be having if we were in the office.

3) Invest, develop and succeed

I’ve heard a lot from peers in the past few months that training budgets have been cut due to the lack of physical training courses as well as cost saving methods from the Coronavirus. I’ve been looking at different ways for teams to learn from each other as well as online training and support from official training providers. There is so much choice out there that I’ve relied on recommendations and word of mouth for picking and suggesting relevant courses. I think that it’s critically important to invest in your teams and their own personal development.

4) Let’s keep up the energy!

At this point in the year, it can feel like Mile 20 of a marathon. You’ve done a lot so far and gone a long way but you’ve still got a way to go and it can feel like it’s neverending! Luckily the summer has provided a relief for many and given them the break to recharge but for the main part, I am aware of my teams mental health as well as making sure that I remain a positive individual to lead them in the right way.

I’ve seen a rise in the number of project managers who are currently battling stress /burnout over the past 2 months and this has made me so much more aware of my role in keeping my team on a well-balanced mental health track. I think that the coronavirus and changing working conditions has a lot to answer for but regardless of the root cause, we are responsible for supporting our teams and being mindful of their ability to work safely.

What changes will you make to your leadership style? Will you manage your teams differently?

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