If You Want To Lead, You Have To Be Capable
Being a member of a harmonious project management team is a good feeling and can do a lot of good for your own expectations of professional success . However, many people do not want a career standstill. Often this desire leads inevitably towards a managerial position over a team of junior project managers .
But if you want to lead a team, especially one of which you were once a normal member, you have to be aware that this does not just come with increased salary, more power and responsibility and prestige. In order to become such a supervisor and, above all, to excel at it, various leadership skills and soft skills are required – about which you will learn everything important below.
1. A Good Manager Can Replace All Team Members
Project managers of the same rank work in many teams , but in clearly different areas of responsibility . One might be a project reporting specialist , another might be more focused on the work breakdown structure , no matter what your real-life breakdown might be.
However, no matter how solid you may be in your specialty, to lead an entire team you have to become a very capable generalist. This means that you must be familiar with each individual area of responsibility, at least in its fundamentals, and ideally you must already have practical experience in it. Because a good team leader must know all areas so that he can see why something is going well or badly.
The team leader must be able to only take on an observing and advisory role . It is no longer your job to do this work in detail. That’s what you have your team for.
2. Team Leader: Strategically And Operationally Involved
The leader of a team is a typical member of the so-called middle management . As such, he stands above the general day-to-day business, yet he is confronted with it every day.
This makes it necessary to be both strategically (i.e. long-term) capable and able to act tactically in the direct operational mode – after all, in this role you are a manager, so to speak, but you still have superiors yourself.
In such a position, in addition to the skills primarily related to project management , you will also have other tasks, such as:
- Involvement in the recruiting process as far as your team is concerned. This means that you must at least be able to support the actual HR staff in their selection process.
- (Co)designing, monitoring and adjusting the pricing policy . This integration into an extremely complex field , which in turn is part of the larger marketing mix.
- Communication at the most important cornerstones of the project process . Especially when it comes to contact with high-profile customers and problems.
These are three typical examples. In addition, you must be fully aware that you, as the “head” of your project team, will always play the role of a moderator . This means that you will not only have to mediate, but will also have to decide in favor of and against individual project managers.
3. From Colleague To Manager: Frequent Acceptance Problems
The rise within the hierarchical structure in a company is always associated with pleasant and less pleasant side effects – no matter how flat the hierarchy is. The severity of the latter in particular is often not correctly assessed.
In concrete terms, you need to understand the following:
- Even if you were a well-liked member of the team, just rising to the top will change your standing. Yes, there will probably also be team members who envy you this position or do not want to accept you as a manager .
- To truly live up to your position, you must learn to treat each of your subordinates equally . This means that you must not give your former favorite colleagues any preferential treatment. This will not work without breaks either.
In other words: in this position you are no longer just one project manager among many, but the leader of such a group – from colleague to manager. Others would perhaps also like to have filled this position, some will be disappointed that you no longer (can) treat them as collegially. There is a risk of lack of respect towards you.
Therefore, be aware that this can put a lot of pressure on you . Depending on the individual case, so much so that in the first few months you doubt whether the step was the right one and whether it would not be better to start over as a team leader in another company.
4. Team Leaders And Delegating – An Often Difficult Relationship
When you leave the regular team to lead it, you leave an open workplace . Either this will be filled by the remaining employees or a new project manager will take your place.
Because you are in daily contact with the team, you will of course see how your old job is being carried out in the new situation. Most likely it won’t be exactly the way you would have done it.
And even if that is the case, it is quite natural that you continue to be particularly interested in this work ; after all, you may have made them successful for years. The difficulty begins where that interest leads you to become unduly involved – please remember what you read above about strategic and day-to-day business.
So here’s some good advice: as a team leader, learn to delegate work early on . The less you do this, the more you get involved in your project manager’s areas, the more
- you can concentrate less on your actual managerial tasks;
- more you are perceived as a “nuisance boss” who has to be in control all the time;
- greater is the risk; getting lost in this micromanagement;
- it becomes more difficult for you to get the acceptance you deserve;
- less you find your way around in your new role.
Therefore, with every action, ask yourself whether it really falls within your remit or whether you are in the process of doing superfluous micromanagement. Your crew consists of nothing but experienced project managers. Just let them do their thing and only dig into the details if something doesn’t work.
5. Withstand Pressure – Core Competence As A Supervisor
In the position of team leader you automatically sit “between the chairs” . You will receive orders from your superiors and you must see to it that (and how) these are implemented. In addition to this pressure from above, there is also pressure from within your team. Of course, not everything can always run smoothly, and not every project is particularly exciting and interesting.
Also Read: Business Coaching Or You Have Your Socrates