Leadership is the Key to excellent Resource Performance
I work with project managers from countries all over the globe. I ask them: “what is the single largest challenge you are currently facing?”
The majority say their biggest problems come from the resources who work on their tasks. The issues that the project managers report vary and are many, but in all cases I find a lack of good leadership at the core of the problem.
I have worked with several outstanding project managers and I credit their performance to the fact that they are excellent leaders. They all have the ability to inspire others to follow their lead — including those that have authority over them.
They know how to effectively communicate what success is, encourage excellence, and place great value in others. They know how to guide others to success, while ensuring everyone is performing at their best. They also understand that true leadership is to serve those they lead.
Leadership skills are learned and take time to develop. Each manager has their own style and develops their own techniques.
Here are some techniques that I have developed over the years that are specific to Resource Leadership:
1) When assigning a task, I ask the resource the following:
- Are you clear on the task requirements?
- Do you understand what defines the task as complete?
- Do you have the skills, tools, and resources needed to complete the task?
2) After receiving a positive confirmation on each of these questions, I ask for the time they needed to complete the task using these guidelines:
- I ask for the hours of effort needed to complete the task — not duration
- I stress that I care and want them to be successful
- I ask them to have at least 80% confidence that they can complete the task within their time estimate
- I ask them for their intended utilization for the task — the amount of daily time on average that they will work on the task when scheduled
- I ask them to keep their working calendar current including days planned off
3) I inform them that when the task is released, I expect a simple status report each and every working day that includes:
- The number of remaining hours to complete the task
- If there are there any inhibitors slowing their progress now or if there are any that could slow their progress in the future
In exchange for all that I demand, I commit to monitor their progress each day, and to take immediate supportive action should their tasks fall behind schedule or have any inhibitors.
These techniques took time for me to develop and implement. As I did, I found that for me to be effect and respected as a leader I also needed to maintain my integrity — that is to say — I needed to deliver on the commitments I make.