A couple of weeks ago we published a post from our distinguished Guest Contributor Sussane Madsen – “8 things project managers should do every week!” We received a very interesting comment on it requesting us to come up with a blog that addressed things Project Managers should not do. We agreed and as promised, here it is.
1. Stay glued to the Laptop
A project manager’s job isn’t all about Gantt charts and process maps. A big part of project management success is about leadership. Project Managers need to strike the right balance between people, process, and tools. They need to spend time building trust and respect with the team and being one of them. So “keep the laptop close, and your team closer”.
2. Set up camp in conference rooms
Meetings are an indispensable part of corporate culture and project management. But sometimes you can end up taking it too far. With multi-location teams and different time zones, it could just turn into a complete nightmare. Project managers need to learn how to be productive and set the right example for their teams.
3. Leave things to chance
There is a reason why project managers have the word manager in the title. They are required to lead the project all the way to its logical conclusion; not by leaving things to chance but by relying on process excellence, good leadership and data-driven decision making. A lot of project management is about having control over the project lifecycle and having the ability to foresee and mitigate risk factors.
4. Mistake leadership for authority
This is probably the right juncture to mention a famous quote from Spiderman: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Moving to a project manager role is surely graduation from being an individual contributor and does come with the ability to exert authority. But is authority alone enough to get the job done? History will tell you that the authority play has never succeeded in the long run. It takes patience, empathy and mindfulness to build a strong team (read: 5 Vital Characteristics of Effective Leadership)
5. Play politics
It’s good to be ambitious! Going up the corporate ladder is a fulfilling experience, and project managers need to take people up with them as they grow. One of the most important aspects of leadership is accountability, in the good times and bad. It’s always easy to protect your turf by keeping your interests close but leadership is about doing what’s right for the company and the team.
6. Stop Learning
It’s a tricky thing; being a project manager. You are managing a million dollar project, you are now managing people, you have customers to deal with, and you have power, authority, and all that jazz. It seems like you are on top of the world and there is nothing you really need anymore. And that’s where it starts to go downhill. Project managers should be careful about being complacent. Successful leaders will tell you that the learning never stops. You need to learn new skills, new techniques, new tools, new processes, new management styles etc. It’s an ongoing journey and the learning never stops! ( Read: 6 Important Skills and Tools to Help You Stay on Top of Your Game as a Project Manager)
I could go on and on about the things Project Managers should not do. But let’s just say I am more of a “The Glass is Half Full” kinda guy. I believe the Project Management role is the start of a great leadership journey and one just needs to be open to absorbing all the experiences in a positive way.