Project Management

Rising Above the Mechanics: The 6 Essential Skills of Advanced Leaders

Project managers are known for being versatile multitaskers with a penchant for managing not just time and cost, but also people. How does a PM see the links between strategy and execution evolve beyond the “tactical mechanic?” An article by Joe Czarnecki for seeks to illuminate the path to PM leadership.

6 Essential Leadership Skills

  1. Managing alignment
  2. Becoming an interpreter
  3. Learning to innovate
  4. Thinking ahead
  5. Making the right decisions
  6. Leveraging networks

Alignment, though often cited as a crucial aspect of effective project management, is merely the concerted effort of product, organization, and team. This is easier said than done, since a PM can master each one individually without actually being able to coordinate them all. And while counterintuitive, being a good leader means stepping outside of one’s ego to take on different perspectives, to filter and recombine subjective information, form unbiased opinions, and to communicate that information differently for each interaction. Mastering one’s own mind is not quite enough.

Is it possible that some are just “natural innovators?” Perhaps, but nothing innate is required to find new ways to do old things better. Simply bending the rules at the right juncture should suffice, except that, at the leadership level, “bending the rules” takes on a whole new dynamic from day-to-day project tasks. No more miraculous is the act of forecasting the future. Although how this is achieved is not always clear. One might assume that prediction consists, in part, of connecting the dots between past events, present conditions, and future desires. Yet just try to do that for an entire organization!

Good decision-making, lest we neglect such an important attribute, is about knowing what drives the particular market you’re in. Trends are often complex and fickle, and exploiting them requires the integration of all the leadership attributes listed in this article. Lastly, it’s never a good idea to neglect your social networks. After all, it’s people who “Make it so,” when the time comes for the new initiative you’ve been laboring to implement.

Read the original article at:

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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