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Everyone at some point in life is a leader and handles some kind of project in one or the other way. The same holds true for me; on many occasions, I have been a leader and lead some of the projects to its end. Being a leader is a big responsibility no matter how small is the project. From my past experiences what I have learned is that it is very important to realize how the final goal of a project is. In other words, correct goal identification is one of the key leadership skills that any leader should have. If in any case, the goal identified is wrong then the chances of success of that particular project are almost nil. From my past experiences, I can say that I very well realise the goal of the project in a very efficient manner and hence lead the project to the end. Also, my quality has been observed by my friends and they have often praised me for that. In situations, where the goal is not clear for a certain project my friends or collagenous often consult me for clarification.
Some projects are small while some projects are long. While for small projects, it is possible to maintain the energy levels throughout the project. While for long projects, there is a possibility that after a certain time interval, one may lose out interest in that particular project. But this does not hold true for me, I believe that if you have started something you should lead to the end. Hence, whatever project I pick I make sure that I lead it to the end with the same energy levels with what I started. In other words, I try to give the best possible outcome for a particular project. I believe that being motivated is one of the key qualities that any leader should have. If the leader is not motivated enough, then he would not be able to motivate his team while it would lead to the failure of the project. In short, I have a lot of energy but sometimes I do get nervous about the outcome of the project. I start paying too much attention to what is going on the outcome of the project rather than focussing all my energy to bring out the best of the project. I know this may not be the best practice to focus more on the outcome rather than putting your best foot out. My particular habit starts bothering others as well because I start pestering others about the result which distracts them rather than focus them on the result. I think I should work on focusing on the execution rather than the result. Also, I should ask my teammates to do the same. However, at the same time, I help that I keep the energy levels of the team very high. I keep on boosting every one and engaged in order to maintain the team spirit.
In general, I am very extroverted in nature. I have a lot of friends. I keep attending events and social functions. My particular ability is very beneficial as a project leader. In any project, there are various stakeholders and a project leader has to interact with every stakeholder at some point in order for the project. Hence, every project leader should have the ability to interact with all the relevant parties and also to handle any kind of situation that arises in front of him. I have seen many individuals who may have all the other qualities but they are not able to interact with others often fail to deliver the project to the mark that is expected out of them. Hence, it is quite important to be an extrovert to a good leader.
A leader needs to shape how the project will lead. He should be the one who defines the road map for the project. He should lead how a project will go. A project leader should guide the way for the project. He should define the roles and responsibilities of each individual. I feel like a project leader I am very well able to gauge the key skills of individuals as well as the shortcomings of the teammates. I think I can do that and can allocate tasks according to the skillset of the individuals. Hence, in any project, the task of allocation is given to me and I very well take that responsibility. Also, I feel for any individual it is quite important to know your teammates well especially what they are good at and what they are not so good at. It is very important to see the shortcomings of your teammates so that you can handle them accordingly.
For any project leader, it is very important to have an out of box thinking approach. In other words, they should look at unpopular ideas that others may be hesitant to take the project to success. The only thing that should matter for a leader is to focus on the outcome of the project rather than focussing on the problems. Each project has its requirement and it should be handled according to that particular way. I am very popular in my group for the ideas that no one will think about it but I am the one who not only thinks about it but at the same time implement it and bring in the results.
But as I mentioned that I am very energetic and want to bring results as fast as possible but if I fail to do so within the time. I often feel irritated and impatient about my inability to bring the things in place. Hence, I always have been that the work should be completed as it is planned. But I need to understand that things always do not go according to the plan and one must be prepared for the change.
The above statement means that in a situation when you do not have the complete authority over the people but they are just part of your team. The willingness to do the work or not do the work is in their hands. In other words, you cannot force them to work or not work, it is completely up to their own will. But at the same time, you have to ensure that the project is progressing in the way in the planned with the same efficiency. All the activities planned are heading in the way in which it is planned. This is where your leadership skills come into play and with the help of those skills you need to ensure that the project is completed in the manner it should be.
The scenario taken into account was where I have organized a fundraising event for an NGO to improve the afforestation in the area. But I could not do that alone then I asked a few of my friends to volunteer for this fundraising. In this situation, since they have volunteered but they are not compelled enough to work hard for the fundraising. In other words, I have no authority over them to get the task done. If they wish to, they will do it and if they do not wish to, they would not do it. This was the first time when I had to prove my leadership skills and make the fundraising success with the help of limited resources and help I had.
Now the first problem came into account was to divide the tasks, although as mentioned above I was able to realise their strengths and weakness. I made a list of tasks that said who will do what. But then the individuals were not ready to take the tasks that were allocated to them. There are some tasks that no one was ready to take while there were tasks that many of them wanted to do. For instance, the task of hunting the parties who could take part in the fundraising, no one was ready to take that job. This particular job no one was ready to take, I had to put in a lot of effort to convince people to take up. I had to recognize them in the team and put them in front light to get the things done.
The second thing to do was to decide on the sequence and to decide on the timelines. This could be done only by taking into others the schedule into consideration. Also, since there was a dependency on the work of one stakeholder upon the other, I had to convince people to take out time from their schedule in order to get the work done. Also, I had to make sure that there was coordination between all the stakeholders. There had to be a flow of information from one stakeholder at the right times so that there was no bottleneck in the process. Also, I had to decide the timelines by backtracking from the day the event was planned by taking into consideration that there could be a delay in certain activities.
The next thing was to keep all the team members motivated. All your team members must be motivated at all times so that the results are achieved as planned. Since this project has no reward attached to it, some of my team members who started initially on very high note stated losing interest after some time interval. So I had to ensure that the team spirit is maintained at all times. The best way to do that was to make the team members realise that this is for the good of society and they are the ones who will responsible for bringing the positive change in society.
The most difficult part of this project is to bring everyone to the common ground. Each one has their own opinion and they have their own way of doing things. It is very important to respect the opinion of each team member but at the same time, it is not possible that the work can be executed according to each one opinion. Hence, a single strategy needs to be planned in the way in which the project will be executed. The viewpoint which aligns the most with the project is selected and the rest of the team members are convinced about the pros of that strategy.
The next problem is to maintain harmony among the team. Each one has it's own operating which may or may not align with the others. Hence, there may be disagreement among the team members. Not only once but several times, it has happened that there was disagreement among the team members over the things. But each team member should be reminded of the final objective and goal of the project. Each one has to let go of their objective but should constantly think of the final objective. This is even more difficult when you do not have the authority over the people and they have no obligation to listen to you.
However, in the end, everything worked out well. The fundraising program worked out exactly in the way it was planned to work out. What I learned was that you cannot force anyone to work irrespective of whether they are obligated to do so. In the situation, they are obligated, although they may work but if they refuse to put their best foot forward then the results will not the way you expected. This is where your leadership skills come into play. One should learn how to get the work done by your team members and how to carry everyone together. A leader should not impose anything on anyone but to motivate and encourage them to put all their efforts.
Based on the interpretation of portfolio entry 1 and 2 together, I think the coaching leadership style suits me the most. In the coaching style of leadership, a leader presents his opinion or strategy and asks his fellow teammates to follow the same (Chemers, 2017). But at the same time, he does not force his opinion or strategy on his fellow teammates. He just tries to give a roadmap of what needs to be done and also guide on how that should be done. A leader with a coaching style sees his teammates as a reservoir of immense talent that needs to be a little push in order to develop further. Such type of leader always tries to unlock the hidden potential of his team members. Such types of leaders are always available for their people in order to guide and help them whenever it is required. They try to show their people a direction in which their team should head (Mann, 2019). They are more mentors who would like their team members to grow in their life. If the team members fail to achieve their goals, such types of leaders would consider that as their own failure.
The two roles which I like the most are planning to a roadmap for the project and the second is coordinating among different team members regarding the progress of the project. I think I have a sense of vision for the project. I can sense what needs to be achieved for a project and what is the ultimate goal for any project. Also, I feel I can figure out where the project can fail. So I think taking a coaching style of leadership helps an individual to draft the vision, mission, and goals of the project and then communicate to his fellow team members in order to take the inputs of his team member. The job of the coordinator is to coordinate among his team member and to ensure that all his team members are completing the job within the required time frame with the efficiency that is required. In coaching style of leadership, a leader constantly coordinates with his team members to see if everything is going fine or not, if something is not going fine, he asks if any helps is required or not. He is indirectly coordinating with all his team members to see if things are going fine or not.
The very first part of bolstering the roles which you are not good at is to make a list of the roles which either I have been ignoring to take up or I have not done in the past. For instance, the roles which require a lot of patience and perseverance I avoid doing that such as the role to find the parties who could provide fund in the above-mentioned instance. In order to bolster the part, I will first observe the other team members who do that part. What they are doing and what they are not doing. I will make a note of my observations and will try to figure out how I can apply that to myself. Secondly, I will volunteer myself for such roles. I will ask my team members to give me such type of roles. I may gain enormous knowledge by observing others but till the time I do not do such roles myself, I will not be able to put my theoretical knowledge into the practical world. Lastly, I will take the feedback from my team member on how am I doing that role, I will both take positive and negative feedback.
Everyone has their own comfort zone. Similarly, in a project, there are certain roles in a project that you are comfortable with and you love doing them. The most difficult situation arises when your team members start demanding the roles which you like doing. In this situation, I will first see who have not got a chance. I believe that every team member has equal rights in the team and should be given an opportunity equally. Based on that, I will take that call on what roles need to be given to whom. Secondly, I will see the interest levels of the team members in any particular role. I cannot simply force a role on someone because he has not done in the past. He should also be inclined to take that role. Hence, the second parameter while delegating the roles with the interest of the fellow team members. The third parameter will be the skill set of the team members; I will assign the roles according to the skill set of the team members. But one main thing I will always keep in mind that every team member has equal rights to take the role they like.
Now for success for every project, it is very important that all the parts of the project that was done with 100% efficiency. Even if a single subpart of the project is not performed well, the chances of failure of the project are very high. Hence, all the parts should be given attention but at the same time some parts you love doing while some parts you do not love doing. Firstly, I will make a list of the activities involved in the project and then list out those activities which I do not like to do out of those activities which are mentioned. I will pick those activities at the very starting so that they are always in the focus. I will plan the entire project in the way that the least preferred ones are completed in the starting, then the medium preferred ones, and then the most preferred ones. Then I will try to allocate the least preferred activities to the ones who are independent and do not require much attention to the work they are doing. The ones who are reliable and can complete the work without much guidance. But at the same time, I will make sure that I follow with those team members that required time intervals to check the status of the work.
To whom so may concern,
As a project manager, you have to make several decisions to one or more points in life, and in many of the situations, you have to choose between what's right and what's easy. I also have to choose between what's right and what's in many of the occasions. What I also did was to choose what is right irrespective of the outcome I will have to face. I believe that if you thinking you are doing the right thing, then you should stick to that. Being ethical is one of the best qualities every project leader should possess for the long term to be right in your own rights.
One of the very first incidents was during my internship. The internship is a very crucial time in a student's time as the performance of your internship determines your chances of getting a pre-placement offer. At the same time, your impression of your boss is also very important in order to determine your offer at the firm. So you need to maintain your impression and for that, you need to generally follow the instructions given by the boss. If you think that what your boss wants may not be right, then also you need to follow what he says. But the question is that ethical? Saying that something is right but you don't actually believe it is right. A similar situation happened with me when the solution proposed by my boss for a problem did not seem right to me. What I did was I created a presentation for the solution I thought was right and proposed that to him. He not only praised my efforts but also implemented my solution which in fact gave very good results in terms of the revenue. This finally landed me a job offer in my hand. But there was another possibility that my boss could get offended by ignoring the solution given by him and coming up with another job. This could have decreased my chances of an offer letter. This was one of the ethical dilemmas faced in my life.
The second ethical faced was during the fundraising event which was mentioned above. One of the ethical dilemmas faced for everyone is whether to choose who is more deserving of the job or the one who is closer to you. Although you need to take care of people who are close to you, you cannot choose them over someone who deserves the job. During the selection for one position, I had to choose a candidate for one position. There are two individuals for whom I was confused; one who was very deserving of the role and the other was my close friend. At the very start of the program, my friend approached me for that role and said that he was interested in doing that role. At the very same time, I realised that he did not have the skills required for that job. He will not be able to deliver the work to that level but he had skills required for the other job in the project. But since he was very keen for that role, so I could not say him no for the job. Then I found out that there was another candidate who had all the skills required for the job. Now the problem was how do I say to my friend that he will not be delivered. Nonetheless, then after thinking a lot, I finally said to my friend that actual scenario. At first, he was a little upset but then again his ultimate objective was to see the success of the fundraising event rather than to take the role so he had given to the role. This was the second ethical dilemma I faced but then I decided to go with what’s right and give the chance to someone who deserves it.
The third incident is again of the internship where I was supposed to get the pre-placement offer if I perform well. In the business, we often lie to our clients or prospective clients in order to get the deal. But is this correct to sell something based on a lie? Also, can we build a long term relationship based on that lie? I faced something similar where I had to sell the product to the client by telling the qualities of the product that the product actually did not possess. I was not convinced internally to do but in the initial phases, I did that because I was new to the organisation and I did whatever everyone was doing but few days down the line I realised that this is not the efficient way of doing the things. I talked to my reporter about the matter that if the client finds out that what we are telling and what are offering does not match, it would give a really bad impression about the whole thing. But then we mutually decided to find out the USPs that the product actually had and then to offer them to the client. I made a list of the USPs and my reported cross-verified it. This was another ethical dilemma that I faced.
What did I learn from all the three incidents that the easy choices may look tempting but are these correct choices? This may not always be the case but then we have to choose between what's correct. There is a possibility that these choices may not always lead to the results in the short term and we need to accept that. But in the end, we need to look for the long term and follow what you think is correct. Choosing what is ethically correct will make you a great and successful leader in the long term.
The very first and the most crucial thing that is important for any project is the selection of the team members. It is very important to choose the team members correctly; else the coordination between the team will be up to the mark. I will set the guidelines that every team member has to follow before the selection of any other member. Those requirements will not be just limited to the professional match but will also test the cultural fit in the organisation. It is very important that whoever is hired possesses some of the very essential qualities such as teamwork, high work ethics, and integrity, etc. Along with professional qualities, it is very essential to test these qualities.
The second thing that I will implement is to learn from the mistakes. There is no use of the feedback if the lessons learned are not implemented efficiently in the next project. So I will keep a tracker of all the feedbacks which I or the team has received in the past in order to implement those in the future projects. Both constructive and destructive feedback is taken into account. In other words, what we have done right and what we have done wrong. I will create a tracker of the missed points in the past projects and make sure that this is implemented in upcoming projects.
Thirdly, I will create an effective system in order to track the progress of the project. Each small detail will be put on that portal not only so that each person can track the progress of the project but also at the same time there is transparency in what’s happening on the project. No communication will be verbal in nature but will be put through that portal. Now a day, many such portals are available in the market in order to track the project. In case of any dependency such as if someone wants input from the other member or such that any review task is pending from the other person, it will be done through the portal. Also, in case one or the other team member is not responding to his responsibilities, escalation will also via that same portal only.
Then the next thing is to decide on the timelines of the project. This will be done by two important things into the account; the very first thing will be the deadline on which the project really has to be delivered and the second, how much thing each stakeholder/team requires in order to complete the project. First, I will give the project brief to the team, and then I will ask each stakeholder about the time they will require in order to complete the project. Then I will add the time and if it exceeds the timeline given by stakeholders. I will try to convince the people in order to complete the work in the time schedule.
The next thing will be to timely organise the team meetings. Although each team member is doing his or her job, at the same time, him or her needs to know what is doing on in the team. Hence, I will organize a weekly or a bi-weekly call in order to coordinate with various team members to tell the status of the work and also to raise any concerns if they have. This will help the team members to be on the same page as others. I will give a chance to each member to speak and coordinate the projects.
Then I will like to implement the checklist for every project. I will have two types of the checklist, one will be the internal checklist and the second will be the external checklist. The external checklist will be the one where the documents or the details asked by the client will be followed and the second one will be where the internal checklist. I will maintain an internal checklist in order to maintain the quality of the projects delivered and at the same time to ensure that nothing is missed out. I will keep a stronghold on the quality of the project delivered.
The last thing I will try to do is that to have a one to one chat or communication with all the team members of the projects. Although there will be group meetings regularly, there are chances that they are not able to come up openly in front of everyone. Also, this will give the impression that they are being cared for and looked upon. I will ask if there is any kind of problem in the project or is there any issue going on with the other team members of the project. I will ask if they need any help from me in order to complete the work in time and within the required quality. I personally feel it is very important for a project leader to be connected to every team member at a personnel level so that they can open up in front of them.
Although I will try to implement all the above practices in every project, the delivery of the project within the required time frame and with the best quality will the first priority. So I will not be rigid in implementing the above-mentioned practices. I will take a call depending on the present condition of the project. It will all be dynamic and impromptu in nature. Also, if it is a long project I can implement some other practices in order to keep the team engaged and motivated at the same time. Also, I feel I will learn how to be a good leader and which practices adopting as take up more and more projects in the future.
Chemers, M. (2017). “An integrative theory of leadership”. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8058-2679-1.
Mann, R. D. (2019). "A review of the relationship between personality and performance in small groups". Psychological Bulletin. 56 (4): 241–270. DOI: 10.1037/h0044587
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