Originally published as a blog on LinkedIn February 2014 under the banner The Project Manager Network - #1 Group for Project Managers. Copyright to the contributing authors.
Content extracted and published here June 2014.

Introduction | Max Wideman Interjected
Jim Brosseau Entered the Conversation | Max Wideman Takes Issue
A Formal Study with Interesting But Contrary Views | Bottom Line


The following thread extracted from a discussion on LinkedIn represents a valuable discussion between experts. This paper concludes with the results from a recent study on the required skills of project managers in today's market place, and hence provides essential advice to wannabes.

Ian Mitchell
Luis Alarcon
Jim Brosseau
Max Wideman

Ian Mitchell
Programme Director at American Express

Luis Alarcon
Senior Capital Project Manager/VP of Engineering

Jim Brosseau
Principal at Clarrus Consulting Group

Max Wideman
Project Management Consultant

Ian Mitchell posed the following question:

How do you motivate your Project Team?

Luis Alarcon responded

Isn't this one of those ongoing life questions where the same recipe will not yield the same results (customization required) ... some leaders are better at it than others. My initial response is that the power of empowerment with the intent of creating a sense of ownership for each individual is a foundational must. Allowing your team members to make their own decisions without fear of failure promotes growth.

Team members having the autonomy to present their ideas, manage a portion of a project, develop a relationship or negotiate a deal will begin to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Once ownership is in place, the team wants to continue to exceed his or her previous results in order to receive the positive feedback that makes everyone feel like a contributor. The feeling is addictive, one that most of us who are leaders in an organization know all too well. Creating this environment means that at times as a leader you must control scrutiny or insecurities from colleagues and or superiors while managing the team perception to the external world. A team who sees a leader that stands up for them is more willing to reciprocate.

Next, a leader must know the individuals within the team and tailor the sense of ownership goals to the individual. Some members want to advance maybe into your position one day, others are seeking flexibility because they have commitments (family, etc.), and others may require ongoing mentorship to help them maintain a positive emotional outlook. There is no cruise control approach; it requires active management of deliverables, emotions, the creation of challenges, and more. Finally, give your team the credit promote them to the larger business environment, celebrate milestones, be fair across the board, resist favoritism, and help them get promoted.

It's not an easy task but that's why it takes leadership and not just "management".


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