Imagine sitting in the room with Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Tim Cook and a slew of other leading talents, who brings with them an enormous wealth of knowledge and resources. Now, visualize a project manager having the privilege of trying to get this dynamic group to accomplish a certain goal. If you are the project manager given such a daunting task, you may find yourself in a quandary.
While this scenario may seem far-fetched, in the world of project management, project managers often find themselves working on projects that require them to bring thought leaders to the table. It is times such as this, where project managers must remember that everyone cannot be managed. On the contrary, individuals who are considered leaders in their respective fields, must be led.
According to Harvard Business Review, management relates to controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal, while leading refers to an individual’s specific ability to influence, inspire, and enable others toward organizational success. Managing tends to be more driven by power and control. Leading is rooted in influence and inspiration. This explains why it is virtually impossible to manage leaders.
Recognizing that some project managers often lack the ability to transition seamlessly into leading versus managing, Bret Harned, project management consultant and public speaker, highlights what he believes are some of the most essential characteristics needed to be a good leader. In the article titled “Five Ways Project Managers Can Be Great Leaders”, Bret discusses the importance of inspiring change, by building trust and focusing on good communication. These behaviors have served as a surefire path to successful leadership, here at CDCG. While our CEO, Karen Curry Davis, routinely finds herself bringing top talents together, she allows these same behaviors to be the driving force to leading change and achieving successful projects.