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Home arrow Management arrow IT Project Management: A Geek Guide to Leadership

Leaders Should Do What Only They Can Do

If you are a leader who has motivated followers, you are in a powerful position. If you have motivated, effective followers, they deserve a leader who will empower them. They need you to represent their ideas and initiatives in forums that you can access but they cannot. Leaders who support their followers in this manner deserve to be appreciated. In this section, we explore these ideas.

Great leaders typically desire to surround themselves with great people. They need people who can provide them with the support and advice they need to achieve the vision of their organization. They need people who can successfully execute the plans that they develop. Leaders need followers who are skilled in doing the tasks that the leader does not need to do, allowing the leader to empower his or her followers and focus on tasks that only the leader can do for the team.

While followers may want this empowerment from a leader, they may not know what the leader has to do to enable such a situation. The leader has to do the things only he or she can do for the project or organization, such as represent the team to senior leaders and to customers, fight to obtain resources, build goodwill with stakeholders, and promote and support team members’ ideas and initiatives to stakeholders and board members.

Leaders spend time engaging with stakeholders to build support for team initiatives— including those spearheaded by followers—prior to acceptance and execution. If you are doing tasks that a team member could do, you are neglecting your leadership duties.

No one else speaks for the team. No one else integrates the work of each team member. No one else represents the team to senior management. No one else establishes the vision— the unifying purpose that brings everyone together and makes them feel like they are contributing to something important. While leaders focus on these important tasks that no one else is responsible for performing, team members can focus on their specialties with the assurance that the leader is bringing everything together (Collins, 2013).

How do you feel when a team member shows appreciation for your leadership efforts? I personally find this gratifying. Like followers, leaders also need encouragement. Leaders appreciate positive feedback from their followers. They want to know that their initiatives are making a difference. They want to know that their followers’ lives are improved as a result of being part of the team. Good leaders make a sincere effort to take care of their followers, and they like to know those efforts are appreciated (Collins, 2013),

Regardless of how strong and mature your team is, there will be conflict, and your team members will look to you to resolve this conflict. In the next section, we discuss conflict management on project teams.

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