Turn on the Power
How to get People to Perform
The number one
complaint I hear from project managers across the country goes
something like this,
ďI am accountable for getting the
work done but I donít have any authority over the people doing it.
I feel powerless.Ē If you feel powerless you are
powerless. Authority is given. Power is taken. To get the job
done you have to take power, with or without formal authority. Three
sources of power for project managers
immediately come to mind,
and none of them require
authority. The first is visibility,
the second is relationship, and the third is respect.
||If you turn on the
light in a dark room infested with cockroaches, the critters run and
like light. The same goes
for project workers. Powerful project managers shine light on what
is and what is not getting done. People quickly do what they can to
avoid the pain of looking bad. Your most powerful tool for shining
the light is the project plan with peopleís names on tasks that must
be done on certain dates. Simply report on the plan and people will
do what they need to do to get out of the spotlight. What get
measured automatically improves. When things go well, make sure you
shine the spotlight on the whole team and give them the
credit for a job well done.
||All things being
equal, we work hardest
for the people we know and like.
Build relationships during the good times so you can call in favors
when things get tough. If you fail to build relationships, you miss
out on one of the most
important sources of power a
project manager can have. These relationships must go far beyond
the immediate team. You need to know all the people who can help
you, and they need to know and care about you. Relationship
building is an investment with a long term payoff that goes beyond
anything you can imagine. In addition, there is immediate payoff;
your job becomes more fun as you get to know the people around you.
If you donít
do your work well,
donít expect others to, either.
You earn respect when you demonstrate that
you are competent and hard working. You lose respect when you
come across as stupid and
lazy, and that is exactly how you look when you neglect to prepare
properly for a meeting or fail to keep your project plan up to
date. Authority is given, power is taken, and respect is earned.
Respect keeps your power alive.
In the Tough Teams
workshop, Creating High Performance Project Teams, we take a close
look at expanding your power by focusing on things that matter. Your sources
of power include the three items mentioned here, and a whole lot more.
Copyright © 2007, Steve Wille
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