For every successful leader there are a contingent of team members, easily recognised for their own accomplishments and value. Think for a moment of a successful business or sports team. In each case, you will typically find those who are recognised as the leaders. The key is that these leaders understand how to help move, push, pull or otherwise get the remainder of the team going in the required direction.
While one of the qualities of project management is team building, it is the people of the team, the followers, who become the backbone for accomplishment of any given project. The project manager may get the recognition, but the team’s success depends on the spirit and work of the team members.
How do you recognise a good team member? Look for people who are always willing to do the trivial task, the unpleasant work, the unglamorous assignment. Also note the rate accomplishment while doing these tasks – these are the people who can be called upon and relied upon on to do what is necessary to make the outcome successful. The are not concerned about recognition, but on the outcome and the success of the whole team.
Good project managers search for these team players because they recognise their value. These are not the people wanting to join so they can be identified as part of the project. Such hangers-on contribute nothing and will be the first to disappear if the project gets into trouble or provies more challenging than expected.
A good team member buckles down, works harder and search for other means to gain the project objectives desired. A good project manager hopes to find a handful of such people for each project. It may take months, or years, to cultivate the relationships needed for the team members to believe in the project managers goals and accept them for their own. But when they do, there are no further questions as to their role. Another old saying. “Lead, follow or get out of the way” applies at that point. A good project manager knowns enough to get out of the way!
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