There are many aspects of project management that contribute to project success. There are the technical skills learned and the experience gained in applying them. There are also the soft skills such as communication and influencing that a project manager must possess. Perhaps most important amongst all these skills is the ability to lead and demonstrate leadership, particularly authentic leadership. A good project manager manages a project; a great project manager leads a project.
Leadership is the purposeful, influencing of followers. Without any of the three key elements is simply isn’t leadership. Without purpose, it is someone we may wish to follow who doesn’t want to lead. Influencing acknowledges that the leader has a vision and influences followers to go in a particular direction. Followers are the most important part of the equation though, for without followers there are no leaders. Great leaders respect their followers and great followers respect their leaders – it’s a mutual relationship. Leadership is a conscious deliberate decision. It is an acknowledgment there is a relationship between leader and follower, and each needs the other to exist. It is a commitment by those who choose to lead of continual personal and professional development. It is a commitment by those who choose to follow of support and feedback.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many training courses on leadership but none on followership?
Leadership requires many different competencies to be displayed at different times as it is highly situational. You may have to display competencies such as self-awareness, emotional resilience, motivation, critical analysis, judgement, vision and Integration.
However, the one core constant aspect of leadership is authenticity. Being authentic means having integrity and not pretending to be something you aren’t. People will always know when you are not being authentic.
The best sort of leadership is authentic leadership – be true to yourself. Be true timber, not a thin veneer.