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How Managers Can Grow into Leaders

Managers are like plastic. They’re flexible, but only within a given mold. If you want to remold yourself as a manager, you’ve got to apply a little heat! In a Voices on Project Management post, David Wakeman discusses three ways for breaking out of the mold from project manager to project leader.

Getting in Shape for PM Leadership

  1. Not Just a Container of Goals
  2. Filter the Noise
  3. Get a Bird’s Eye View

Managers are, by vocation, containers of other people’s goals. They implement and execute the objectives of their sponsors. But, says Wakeman, it’s disingenuous to claim you have no goals of your own. When a manager is given a project, they should own it. Formulate the project on your own terms and for what it means to the organization and staff. This is the only way to inspiration and success as a PM.

Filter out the noise and chatter that surround you as a manager and as a nexus of design and planning. The voices that matter to the PM are the voices that align themselves with the project – key team members and key sponsors. Other valid concerns will arise outside of your immediate project scope. Tend to those second. Always put the project first.

When you’re in the ‘hot seat’ as a PM, it’s easy to put your head down and narrowly plow through the immediate concerns of the day. Project snags, emergencies, and last minute updates all block the path to long term thinking and the development of leadership qualities. Every once in a while, lift your head up to get a bird’s eye view of the operation. A holistic understanding of the project can give you strategic insight to make cost and time saving changes.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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