Lion Tamer or Cat Herder?

When it comes to being a project manager are you a lion tamer or a cat herder?

OK, I’ll admit the title is a bit cheesy but I’m trying to make a light hearted point about a serious topic. Are you a proactive project manager in control of your project, or are you a reactive project manager constantly playing catch up. The difference is a key element in whether or not your project will be successful.

If you are a lion tamer you are in control of all aspects of your project. You command attention and project team members and stakeholders see you as the centre of the project. This requires focus and commitment to leading, influencing and proactively managing. It is also a constant effort because if you stop being proactive at any time there is a risk that you will lose control very quickly.  Becoming a lion tamer requires a commitment to your on-going professional and personal development. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen with time, experience and education. Project managers who are lion tamers have a much greater chance of project success.

If you are a cat herder you are always trying to get people to do something they don’t want to do, you are always playing catch up with communications, and nobody seems to realise what your role actually is. The stakeholders see you as someone to be manipulated and controlled for their own purposes and not matter how much energy you put into the project you never seem to get anywhere. Project managers who are cat herders have a much greater chance of project failure.

So get out your whip, top hat, coat and start taming those lions! And please excuse the rather lazy metaphors . . .