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Project Manager : Project Manager Aug Sept 2013
16 Project Manager • cOVER STORY BY Claire Chaffey ThE cOncEPT Of BEing an EffEcTiVE lEadER MighT SEEM STRaighTfORwaRd, BuT iT’S OfTEn MORE difficulT Than YOu Think and gETTing iT wROng can BE diSaSTROuS. A leAding question S ixth President of the USA John Quincy Adams once said: “If your actions inspire others to drea m more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” A brilliant leader himself through a time of change and upheaval, Adams’ quote is powerful in its simplicity and has become a mantra for great leaders and those who aspire to become great leaders. But is enacting it really that simple? More often than not project failure is blamed on poor communication and stakeholder management, and a lack of engagement. It is also frequently argued that the failed project would have been successful if only the PM had been a better leader. If PMs are adept at managing schedules, budgets, business plans and logistics, does that automatically make them good leaders? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Leadership vs management One of the enduring debates about leadership is how exactly it differs from management. As Portfolio Director at NAB, Ben Baker manages a team of more than 90 staff, comprised of program managers, senior project managers, portfolio and project analysts, and change directors, managers and analysts. In his three years within this role and two years prior as NAB Head of Transformation – Direct Banking, Baker has come to understand the differentiation. “Good management is all about structure, discipline and ticking the boxes,” he says. “Leadership is about inspiration, setting the vision and enabling people to prepare for the journey of change.” As Portfolio Director, it is Baker’s responsibility to deliver projects across all head office functions, including finance, risk, people and culture procurement, property, g roup governance and legal. He has found that of most value to him in this role is his confidence to back himself, make decisions and follow through. “Doing what is right is not always easy, but people respect you taking the lead on a position, even if they don’t agree with it,” he says. “Leadership is every thing. Without appropriate leadership, people won’t know where they’re going and they won’t meet their objectives.” Baker has further honed these skills through AIPM accreditation. He was the second member of AIPM to receive the Certified Practising Portfolio Executive (CPPE) Certification, after receiving his CPPD in 2003. AIPM National Director and Chair of the Professional Development Council Leh Simonelli says the concept of interpersonal skills and the distinction between leadership and management is a relatively recent ambition within the industry. “ The traditional theory or definition is that management is bestowed upon somebody, giving them formal authority to act and achieve outcomes through people,” says Simonelli. “Leadership is more about setting a vision and getting things done with your people.” “Good management ensures the efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of projects and organisational goals,” agrees Professor Caroline Hatcher, director of innovation and executive award progra ms at QUT Graduate School of Business. “Leadership is critical in achieving this as leaders set a vision and enable their teams to achieve their best.” Of course, others a re less convinced of differentiating these domains to such an extent. Whatever the view, leadership skills can often be critical in order to successfully deliver projects. “Leadership is the essential glue between people and desired outcomes,” says Ian Sharpe, Chair of the AIPM Governance Committee. “All of the top project and program managers I know internationally are e xcellent leaders,” he says. By their very nature, projects are often complicated exercises with a wide variety of stakeholder groups. As such, the successful integration of projects depends heavily on the leadership capabilities of the project manager, ( iMaGeS:ShaNNONMOrriS AIPM15_16-21_Feature-v4-2.indd 16 13/08/13 5:25 PM
Project Manager June July 2013
Project Manager Oct Nov 2013