How IT project managers mobilise their colleagues
Thanks to our brand-new ‘leadership programme’, the project managers (PMs) at our IT department acquire the necessary tools to manage a team in the best possible way. The process consists of eight interesting sessions, by eight equally interesting experts from the field.
Why is leadership important for project managers?
Lots of stakeholders, time pressure and complex projects. As a project manager you benefit greatly when your colleagues support you and your project. The final responsibility - to deliver the project successfully and within the agreed deadline and budget - lies with the project manager. An extra motivation to manage everyone in the best possible way.
Make a virtue of necessity
Leadership skills are indeed crucial for any project manager. “It is not about positioning yourself higher up in the hierarchy, but about giving direction to a team and bringing a project to a successful conclusion together,” says Stefaan Bergmans, who is in charge of project management at Colruyt Group IT.
“Internal evaluations revealed that there is still room for improvement. Moreover, putting projects on the right track is particularly challenging in a context where people increasingly work from home. Because at Colruyt Group we think growth is important, we want to offer our PMs extra support and are therefore organising a leadership course. With a different topic each month, it was an immediate success! For the first edition, no less than 80 % of our PMs signed up.”
Practical tips for project managers
“All sessions are in line with Colruyt Group's vision of leadership,” Stefaan goes on. “No autocratic leaders here, but authentic people. People who have an eye for everyone they bring into their project. Project managers should also be agile in their actions: if you respond quickly and flexibly, to change for example, you can prevent chaos. Offer support and be a good coach. And invest in trust! In this way, everyone will have the space and responsibility, as well as the motivation, to work with their qualities. In the leadership programme we also take a look at the book called ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey and PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge), the standard for project management.
7 characteristics of effective leadership
Focus on and act according to what you can control and affect instead of what you can’t.
Define clear goals and a plan to accomplish them.
Set priorities and try to achieve your main goals first.
Work more effectively by building relations of trust together.
... then to be understood.
Mobilise others by first gaining an insight in their needs and vision.
Work together to reach innovative and creative solutions.
Make time for stimulating activities to increase your motivation, energy and work-life balance.
Increase your positive impact
Stefaan: “I gave a session about how, as a PM, you can have a positive impact on people. The starting point is: you first need leadership over yourself, before you can be a leader for others. In other words: only when you stand firm, you can be an authentic, good leader.”
“It is essential to (get to) know yourself well. Who am I, what am I (not so) good at, what gives me energy ... But also, where am I headed? You can start working on your weaker points only when you know what direction you are going. Another important point: listen carefully to your team, enter into interaction and make sure everyone is involved.”
Stefaan: “By meeting each other every month, we are also building a community. That is not only fun, it also stimulates project managers to share knowledge, give each other tips and ask questions. Discussing new insight together, is quite an enriching thing to do.”
The extra mile
Our project managers also get coaching outside the leadership programme. Stefaan: “We provide quality coaching and training, often given by experienced colleagues. A win-win for everyone! Our dedicated PMs gain coaching experience, get to know a different work context and expand their network. And their colleagues learn from their valuable expertise.”