I’ve given a lot of thought to what constitutes leadership, and I sometimes think we’re mixing apples and oranges. Is it our job as leaders to ensure that people in our organization feel good about themselves? Is it our purpose to help them find fulfilling work, or to provide the work and let them sort out the feeling good and fulfillment side of things? As leaders, do we need to be completely transparent in an effort to ensure that everyone feels valued? I have my opinion on this topic, and it’s probably not what you think. What about you? Do you think we’re confusing leadership with helping others feel good about themselves?
Continue reading Confusing Leadership With “Feeling Good”
I was a guest on talk radio today as part of a panel discussing leadership. The topic was Where Have All the Leaders Gone? The discussion was lively and a lot of attention was focused on why leaders behave badly. More specifically, we asked the question, does the end justify the means? Why is it that most organizations frown on bad behavior, yet reward those who exhibit it when they produce results? On the flip side, is it wise to reward “good” behavior, without looking at results?
Continue reading Why Do Leaders Behave Badly?
If Project Management keeps its promises, your project success rate should go up. For many organizations, it doesn’t. What gives? If you’ve spent a lot of time and money on project management, but your success rate hasn’t improved, don’t feel badly, as you’re not alone.
Continue reading Ten Reasons Why Projects Fail
I’ve trained quite a few project managers over the years, but not many project sponsors. That’s a problem. Too many organizations ensure they have processes in place and trained project managers to use them, but ignore the project sponsor. While you may be tempted to think project sponsors don’t need training, informal polls among my students indicate that sponsors rarely understand their role, resulting in dysfunction. I continually emphasize that even the best project managers cannot succeed if the project environment is dysfunctional.
Continue reading A Project Sponsor? What You Should Know….
I was teaching a project management class last night and the topic of “Best Practices” came up. Some of the students wanted to know if I could use some of these during class. They were surprised when I told them no. I don’t believe in Best Practices.
Continue reading Be Wary of Best Practices
A student asked me how to “manage up” the other day and I thought I’d give you my thoughts on this difficult but interesting topic. The most critical ingredient for managing up is to believe that you can. In every case I can think of where someone was good at managing up, this individual had enough self-confidence to believe this could be done. If you don’t think you can somehow influence leaders above you, you might as well not try. You have to believe. If you believe, great. If you don’t – what is preventing you from believing you can influence those “above” you?
Assuming you believe, what does managing up mean to you? If it means changing someone’s behavior or personality, you’re asking for a miracle. These things are best managed from above or within, but would be difficult at best from the bottom up. Reality number one – you can’t change people.
When trying to manage up you need to be specific. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals? If you need a poor leader to be a better leader, you are probably out of luck as this requires changing someone’s behavior. Instead of being so general, ask yourself what do you need this person to do? Is it to provide better organization? Do you need better direction? These things can be accomplished by “managing” upwards.
As an example, if you need better direction, give the leader(s) you are having difficulty working with some options and a deadline. Have them pick a direction. If you feel especially empowered, you can even tell them what you are going to do and then see if they tell you not to. If you need more organization, you need to provide the organization and get your ineffective leaders to buy off on it. Focus on the task/results, not the behaviors.
All the best,
All the time,