There was a time where hiring companies believed that having someone with a PMP©, Six Sigma Blackbelt/Master Blackbelt, Prince2, etc designation meant that the individual would be a great project leader. Companies have realized that this is not the case and are now starting to develop ways to separate the leadership effectiveness amongst PM candidates.
I’ve been a strong supporter of combining hard and soft skills, especially since it’s been my background for the longest time (marrying industrial psychology and project management). It’s been the key to my success and it has allowed me to share with other PMs what additional development areas are needed to round out their skill sets. Information about universities online is available for people who are interested in learning more about psychology, management, or both. In fact knowledge about both of these topics is helpful for understanding project management principles.
In fact, based on my 15 years of experience, I developed the below graph. It represents where I believe PMs should be on Leadership Experience and what I’ve found to be the reality.
I’m sure there will be plenty of individuals that will contest my observations or question my standards; however, there is no denying that leadership is extremely needed to be a successful PM. The question is, “What are the leadership standards for someone on the PM career path?”.
The short answer, there are none. Each institution such as PMI, SixSigma, OGC, provide elements of leadership testing as part of their examination process but there aren’t any Project Management Industry Standards that outline the Leadership Competencies PMs should have during the evolution of their PM career.
In part, Project Management Leadership Competencies (PMLC) should be relative to the organization where the PM works. For instance, leadership strategies in motivating and leading team-members in an Entertainment Company would be very different from individuals that work in a Manufacturing Company.
Over the course of the next few months, I plan to introduce specific PMLC that can provide PMs with a competitive advantage when thinking about how to progress in their career or expand laterally into another part of their organization or new industry.
Here is an outline of a few Project Management Leadership Competencies I’m currently working on:
- Relationship Building
o Leading without Authority
o Political Savvy
o Pitching/Selling a Book of Business
o Closing Deals
It’s a blend of other disciplines that will provide additional skills for PMs to stand out from the crowd. I welcome your thoughts on this topic. I can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org.