10 Leadership Tips for Project Managers

Video Transcript

Hi, everyone; hopefully, you had a wonderful start to 2022. I wish I could say the same. I will say that 2022 has started with a bang and is not good. But what I wanted to talk about is the honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. His birthday is coming next week, and he was an amazing leader. So I wanted to talk about ten leadership traits that a manager should have. I heard a while ago and agreed that just because you’re a manager does not mean that you’re a leader. A leader is someone that people respect, trust, and feel comfortable being in the presence of, which some managers don’t have. So again, you can be a project manager by title, but that doesn’t mean that you have the traits of a leader. So I wanted to give some tips, especially for new project managers, on how to be a leader that will help your team help your clients and the organization as a whole. And for those who are new, welcome. My name is Shevonne. And I usually talk about productivity work-life balance, but I am a program manager, I have been in the project management field, I’m going to age myself, but like over ten years. And so, I’ve had many experiences in different projects on how to be a project manager. And as well as I have done much reading, much-learning anything I can to be that leader who can help my team members achieve their career goals and help my clients. So I will share ten tips on being that leader from what I have learned from my experience as a project manager and now a program manager.

Continue to Learn

The first tip that I have is that you should constantly learn; things change every moment. And so, you should be aware of what’s going on in the project management field and your industry because project managers are in different industries. So even though high level, you are doing the same. It is dependent on your industry as well. So you should be aware of your industry. Also, if you’re working on a project, you should be mindful of the project’s clients. You should know your clients. You should understand their problems and needs and try to make sure that you understand the right solution for them. So you should constantly be learning. Keep learning what makes a good leader. Things are always changing. Of course, the core is usually the same, but things are changing. And so you should constantly be trying to learn as much as possible. So that is one thing that makes a good leader is continuously learning and is not just stuck at the point that they became a project manager because you will not help anyone just being stuck at that point. Because if you’re if everybody is already over here, and you’re stuck here, there is a huge gap. So definitely learn as much as possible.

Lead by Example

The second tip I have is to lead by example. One thing that bothers me so much is when I see leaders who want their teams to follow this in that role, but they don’t follow it themselves. That annoys me so much. I was part of an organization once, and the manager was against people working from home. But guess where he was usually at the time? He was usually working from home. And so my thing is, if you want your teams to follow something, you need to be emulating that as well and following it as well. You can’t develop this certain guideline for these team members, and then you’re following something else. So that is one thing that you have to do as a manager: Walk the Talk or talk the Walker? I’m horrible with expressions, but you need to ensure that you are doing what you say you want your team to do.

Be Empathetic

The third tip is to be empathetic. Yes, personal and business should be separate. But there are times when it’s very hard to do whether someone is dealing with an issue with their family member. Either they’re dealing with a health issue. It blurs the lines, so be empathetic because some managers I have dealt with or heard of, from my friends or other co-workers, all they care about is the work. And they’re just focused on. Oh, no, we’re losing money. If your team is not well, and they’re having a hard time, your profits are not going to be there. So try to be empathetic and work with your team because they’re the ones that are helping you and the organization flourish. And if you don’t take care of your team, you’re going to have a high employee turnover. And you’re going to have a hard time having that institutional knowledge that you would have if you took care of them. And they would want to stay at your in your company. And it usually starts with the manager or the lead. And that one thing is if you’re not someone who cares about your team, and you have no sense of empathy, then you can say goodbye to having a team who remains with you.

Be a Good Mentor/Coach

The fourth tip is that you are that mentor, coach; even if you are in different fields, you are the ones who are there to help them to reach their career goals.

And so you have to be someone that is a sounding board, you have to be a good listener, you have to be someone who, if they’re asking for specific training, or what should be the next steps, you should be the ones trying to find that information, reaching out to people googling even. However, you are there to help them reach their career goals. So you have to be a good mentor, coach. If you are helping more junior-level project coordinators or project managers, you should be that mentor for them. So they understand what it is to be a good leader. So definitely, that one part of being in a management leadership position is you have to be that mentor coach for your team and people who are up and coming.

Trust Your Team

The fifth tip is that you have to trust your team. Everything is built on trust. If you don’t trust your team, then there will be some tension that could be a potential conflict. So you have to trust your team to ensure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Micromanagers, oh my gosh, never do well because people start leaving left and right. Like for me, like when someone wants to take time off.

I’ve had people who are oh. They began to ask for permission to take time off. And I respond, and I’m like, Hey, we’re all professionals here. You know, the deadlines. If you have a backup, good, make sure that you send me a calendar invite, send it to the people you work with, and you have the backup while you’re gone. I don’t need to permit you. We are all professionals. And when I do that, I can tell the person. They breathe a sigh of relief because they’re like, oh, wow, she trusts me. And that makes things just better in the workplace. So that’s one thing, you have to trust your team, we are all professionals, if there is one person who is not doing what they need to do, you need to have that. Talk with that person, follow up via email. And make sure that you have documentation and you’re dealing with that. But don’t let one person ruin it for everyone else. That is not the way that things should go. So make sure that you have trust in your team. And you’re not being this micromanager who has kept track of their time and what they’re constantly doing.

Be Proactive

My sixth tip is to be proactive, not reactive. It never works out when you have to be reactive. And I apply that even in my personal life. I try to get things done. So when the deadline gets there, I’m not rushing to get get it done. I’ve already broken it out into chunks, and I’ve gotten it just completed. So then I am ready when it arrives, especially in business. So you want to make sure that you’re proactive. Suppose there is something that you know is coming up in a month. Start working on it now if you need to. So please don’t wait till the last minute to get it done. Because then everybody is rushing or you missed the deadline, and then your clients are pissed at you. So try to be proactive.

Leave Your Ego at Home

The seventh tip is to leave your egos at home. I have seen so many people who, when they start getting promoted and keep climbing the career ladder, their egos get this big, and all it does is annoy people. Well, it annoys me. It’s like, okay, who are you? Who cares who you are, and then they get upset and offended as someone refutes what they’re saying. Or if someone is, comes up with a different viewpoint on something that we’re discussing, leave your egos at home. It never serves anyone.

Value Your Team

And I already said this before, but I’ll say it again: think about your team more than the money and work. There have been times in my past where the manager has screwed the team over. And then the team is working like 50 plus hours a week trying to get it done, what this manager decided was a good deadline, or whatever they agreed upon with the client without taking into account their team. And that angers me so much. So that’s one thing. If you’re working on a contract, make sure you are thinking about your team about that because they’re the ones going to be doing the work. So if you start big, saying yes to everything that the client says and not thinking about how it will affect your team, there’s going to be some risk and issues that come up because of that. So definitely, you should always be thinking about your team when you agree upon something.

Don’t Throw Your Team Under the Bus

And the ninth tip is don’t throw people under the bus. As the manager, you’re the one who is talking to the client. You are the ones that are the face of the team. So if let’s say someone on your team screws something up, and the clients are upset about it, never point fingers and say, well, actually, it’s this person who messed it up, say we, I have had in my past, I’ve worked way too long. But I’ve had an I’ve seen in the past, where some managers, they when everything’s great, they’ll say “I’ll take the credit for it.” But when something screws up, they’ll blame someone else. We are a team. So we apologize but don’t ever pinpoint one of your team members and say it was because of this person or that person who screwed up. We, as a team, screwed up. So that is one thing. Don’t throw your team under the bus or anyone in your organization.

Let Your Team Shine

And my last tip is to let your team shine. There was one manager I worked with, and he would get into meetings, and he would be talking and talking the whole time he was talking. I’m like, no, no, that’s not correct. No. And he just wanted to look good, especially if it was like the high like the executives. And that used to piss me off. Because my thing is, is bring the people who know the topic and who can intelligently talk about it. In the meeting to talk about it, guess what? If they look good, they’ll make you look good. And that is one thing. I don’t understand why some pizza managers like that. Again, it has to do with the whole ego thing. But it’s like, let your team shine. Let them show how aware they are of the subject on hand. It doesn’t always have to be you talking. So that’s one thing that I will say is let your team shine.

Those are my leadership tips for project managers. It doesn’t always have to fall on you. And you have to make sure that you’re taking care of your team because you are all in there together, and you are supposed to be helping one another. So let me know if there are any tips that I missed any past experiences you’ve had where someone didn’t follow that. I would love to know, but I will talk to you later. Have a great week. Bye

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