The world of business is projectized. As Project Managers and Project Leaders, we run projects in the mail room all the way up to the C-Level officer.
If asked if I am **a good leader** I will always respond with, **“I am working on it.”**
We use tools of all colors and flavors. We attempt to wrap metrics for scope, schedule and budget. We develop communication plans, emails, meetings, work groups, and responsibility matrices. We do risk assessments, track issues, and manage deliverables. We oversee billing, invoicing and contract management. We mentor, encourage our teams to achieve their potential. We are challenged to get results from people and teams we have no formal oversight of. The list goes on and on.
So what is the reality of the real Project Management world?
## Project Leadership in the Real World
All the tools in the world will never get our teams across the finish line without the ultimate skill that must be embraced: Project Leadership. Tools are just that, tools. They don’t get the job done, leaders do. True leaders know they are ever developing and improving. If asked if I am a good leader I will always respond with, “I am working on it.”
Case in point: If you asked a Klingon if they were a good leader, I am rather certain they would quickly retort, “I am a superior leader!” Yikes, that’s not my idea of a leader. So the answer to the question is all relative, but the bottom line is that good leaders are always learning and improving their skills.My favorite analogy about leadership, and my apology for I simply cannot remember where I got this from: “Leadership is like a string on a table. If you lay it out and try to push it forward it goes nowhere. If you get out in front and pull, it follows you anywhere you want it to go.”
So where am I going with this?
Project Leadership is not about the tools that you use, it’s about getting out in front of the people and the customer and leading the teams to success. This takes guts, personal determination and the acceptance that we just might fail. After all, we are still learning and improving our leadership skills.