Leading By Example for Project Managers

“What you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you are saying”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote really can get you thinking about how other’s perceive you by your actions, and you might start asking yourself a number of questions, such as “am I a very good example, not only to those at work but by my family and friends?”  “What sets me apart from others as a Project Manager?”  “Am I the example I want to be and think that I am?”  “Do I follow through enough on tasks?”  “Do I do what I say I am going to do?” “Do I represent the goals of my organization and my department?”

It also provokes the question of what motivates some to excel at taking the initiative and getting things done long before deadline, and the others that tend to lag behind and get the job done only after a few reminders.

Great leaders are those that not only take the initiative but also help set the direction of others by inspiring and influencing their behaviors, attitudes and thoughts.  They see the potential and foster positivity.  They challenge themselves as well as others.  Most importantly though, they not only just talk the talk, but they walk the walk.  They follow through and effectively demonstrate in their actions.  Without this, a leader loses credibility and trust; and no longer can lead by example.

Here are 5 ways to effectively lead by example:

1. Take on added responsibility.  Own up to mistakes and be the first to help out and fix problems.  As a Project Management Professional (PMP) you have to be open and accountable for your actions and those of your team.  Show that honesty really is the best policy.  If people feel that they can trust you, they will be more willing to work with you.  You become a valuable asset and this lays a solid foundation for influencing and leading others.

2. Be persistent and positive.  Don’t hesitate to try again if it doesn’t quite work out the first time.  Don’t hold back or back down.  Don’t let obstacles define your project. Communicate the obstacles that your team overcame in order to motivate the same attitude for any new challenges.

3. Create solutions.  Be the first on your project team to offer suggestions and provide assistance.  As a Project Manager you can not dwell on the negative or let problems interfere and be roadblocks.  Foster ideas.  And work to generate more from others to form solid plans to more forward.

4. Yearn for continuous improvement and learn from past experiences.  Be open to new ideas, seek input, and ask questions.  As a PM you have to set the tone and atmosphere for open communication and foster positive and valuable dialogue in all your working groups.

5. Promote a healthy lifestyle.  Be healthy, both physically and mentally, and also maintain a balanced work and personal life.  Plus, encourage everyone to do so and fully support it.  Don’t work yourself to death and expect others to as well.  Encourage everyone to work hard, but to also make time for their lives outside of work.