Whether you are grooming yourself for a career in project management or aggressive forces are thrusting you into the role, you have a lot of weight on your shoulders to deliver. Before you can manage the project, it is important to do decide how you will manage it.
Over the years, I have worked with many people that have the formal title of project manager and their styles are all very different. As you can see in Figure 1, project managers tend to have a unique style to how they manage their work.
Figure 1: Various project management styles.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all management styles, but that is not the point. As a project manager, always remember you are managing a collaborative team of people to deliver something at the end. Whatever that something is, it will require change and you will rely on your team to help you deliver successfully.
For you to be successful, the team must be successful. Take care to consider the unique culture of the team you are working with. As you can see in Figure 2, you should consider your role as a project manager to be that of an influencer.
Figure 2: The power of influencing usually far outweighs your authority on the project.
As an influencer, you are motivating others to support your project. You will guide people to make informed decisions to provide you with resources, and motivate the team to work with limited budgets and timelines.
If you are too authoritative on your project, you run the risk of losing the excitement and comradery that comes with working on a project. That is not to say you should put your tail between your legs. You will use that authority to bring a project back on track, fix team dynamics, award excellence, and drive process conformance.
Take a thoughtful and considered approach in your role as a project manager, weighing when to press on with your authority or when you will influence and negotiate for the team.