Posted by: kerrywills | February 25, 2011

Power to the people

I am happy for the people of Tunisia and Egypt. They demonstrated that the power of the people cannot be stopped and overthrew two major dictatorships which had been around for decades. These revolutions seem to be contagious and I fully expect some more toppled regimes over the next few weeks.

This has always been my perspective of projects as well. As project managers all we have are the teams that support us and do the actual work on the projects. It always amazes me the number of project managers who think that the world revolves around them and that they can just tell people what to do because they are in a position of (perceived) power.  They can be abusive and do not look to influence people so much as push them around.

In the world of shared services and matrixed organizations most project team members are assigned to multiple projects and activities. It would be natural behavior for team members to put in more effort for the project manager who respects them and shows gratitude than the one who does not treat them well. That is why I strongly believe that the most important skill that a project manager can have is influence and their most important asset is their relationship with their team.

As project managers we need to realize that the organizational pyramid is reversed. The PMs should see themselves as working for the people. It is our job to make sure that the team is successful and has what they need to complete their work. This can include facilitating decisions, resolving issues and providing more resources.

By supporting the people we make them successful, which makes us successful. Anything else may incite a revolution!


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