Craft and attitude
Unpredictability is one of the core properties of a project. Obviously, a successful project manager should master the basic skills and be able to plan, document and visualize the project process through the usual procedures and tools.
In addition, the project's leadership, communication and staging still require something else: an attitude that awakens, concentrates and satisfies seagoing serenity in the project-immanent insecurity.
The project leader as foreign minister
An important task for the project captain, as foreign minister, is to provide the project with impulses and information from the project Company provided.
While the project team concentrates on the internal task, ie the factual and professional solution of the project order, the project manager is busy identifying the processes and persons who are outside and are relevant to the project.
Transparency and teambuilding
The project manager goes into the company and clarifies the project environment and the feasibility of the project idea. He finds in the many-voiced choir of the representatives of interests the ones with which he wants to communicate actively, intentionally and influence, and then goes into project communication micro-politically.
In the internal relationship, the project manager ensures that the project team creates meaning and context for the project team through a transparent approach and uses the existing group dynamics and the resulting obstacles to achieve the goal.
Use tools effectively as tools
Anyone who acts in this way no longer abuses planning tools and PM models to eliminate the complexity, but uses them as a tool to effectively control the project.
Above all, he shows an attitude that is characterized by curiosity, risk awareness and the willingness to make decisions even in unclear situations.
Decide the indisputable
Leading means deciding the undecidable is the apparent paradox that we owe to Heinz von Förster. Because the decidable is already decided, already regulated in the form of job descriptions, "razor-sharp" interface papers, instructions, rules of the game and agreements.
Therefore, a project manager who wants to be effective addresses the questions that are not already a rule, he turns to the undecidable decisions.
If checklists are no longer enough
The occurrence of undecidable decisions makes it clear that a complexity limit is exceeded, from which the behavior and progress of a project can no longer be precisely calculated and planned, but can only be prognosticated and controlled in situ.
There are no more checklists to hold onto. A manager who is faced with an undecidable decision can ultimately only have recourse to experiences from comparable situations.
The risk of making a wrong decision
Leaders in an ambiguous situation must make decisions based on predictions and comparison with their experience. She always takes the risk to decide "wrong". Because which alternative is really "right", they can not know in an undecidable decision.
Effective project captains can ask open questions and actively listen, they master the process management, the control of group dynamics and the lateral management of temporary teams.
Characteristics of successful project managers
The successful project captain differs above all in four points from his colleague, who relies solely on the power of the tools and method:
- He works with descriptions instead of starting from an "objective truth".
- He thinks in alternatives rather than looking for clear solutions.
- He focuses on networking instead of linear causal chains.
- He decides the indecisive decisions, rather than deciding in unexpected situations.
Mastering these levels of demands confidently is the big challenge. That is exactly why I like to speak of the supreme discipline of leadership in the management of projects.
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