A great project manager does not become one in the vacuum. As a project manager, you will be working with a team or several teams of people. As their manager (and leader!), you want to create an environment where people consistently perform to the best of their ability. And you can only consistently deliver results through others if you have their respect and they are prepared to follow you where you lead them. That is, you must be able to create an environment where people both want and can perform their best because they respect you as a leader. But respect, as we all know, must be earned.
“Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it.” ― R. G. Risch
I’m sure you have heard this expression many times before but it really is very important if you are looking to earn respect from your team members. If you want them to be committed, you must be committed yourself. If you want them to share knowledge, you must share knowledge yourself. If you want them to be proactive, you have to be prepared to be proactive yourself.
“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” – Albert Einstein
Every aspect of how you want your people to behave must be mirrored in the way you yourself behave. The ‘do as I say not as I do’ approach will never get you far. You are the creator of the vision you want for your team, and you must work side by side with them every day to make that vision come to fruition. So look closely at your own behavior and never ask from your team something you are not willing to do yourself.
No matter what the situation is, double standards always feel like betrayals, and they are a sure way to lose the trust of your team. If you are in a leading position, know you have a responsibility towards your team. They will not only go to you for instructions, but they will look to you for guidance and strength. A big part of your responsibility is to lead them with your own actions.
Leading by example isn’t as hard as it might sound. It’s really the easiest way to go. If your team knows that you’ll also do whatever you expect from them, they’ll likely work hard to help you achieve your goal.
Ready to roll up your sleeves? 🙂