Become a Project Leader

The moment that you are the leader, is when you take the initiative to ensure the project will be a success. The moment that you speak up confidently and act with conviction, is when you become a project leader.

When you make that mental shift and tell yourself I will be the one to take responsibility for the outcome of the project. This does not mean the road to leadership will be easy or straightforward. In fact it may be bumpy, filled with potholes and uphill the entire way.

Hard Situations Build Resilience

Man taking photo in nature showing resilience in the cold weather.
Hard Situations Build Resilience

The more times you put yourself in hard situations the more resilient you become. People often consider themselves a certain type of person. They might be an introvert, extrovert, an introspective or observant person, etc. It’s important to remember that we all have these traits to some degree, and they can change over time as we expose ourselves to new experiences.

We become more resilient and better at handling difficult situations with each hard situation we put ourselves in. How you handle the bumps in the road and the obstacles will determine how much the team believes in you. This belief in your ability as a leader will determine how the team absorbs those challenges.

Leadership is an Opportunity

Man in sparsely snow capped mountains looking across the valley to the opportunity of climbing the largest mountain.
Leadership is an Opportunity

Absolutely you can be a leader

Absolutely, if you can put yourself out there to be vulnerable then you can be a leader. The journey of bringing a team together, understanding their needs and connecting those needs to the requirements of the project is where the seeds of leadership are planted.

Being a project manager does not make you a leader, but it does give you an opportunity to determine if you can be one.

Your team must believe in what they are working on and as the leader you need to curate that belief as a whole and in the individual member.

Leadership Skills, How to Develop and Evolve

Leadership is a skill that evolves over time. Every leader learns something new every day and every day they learn something different. I have had the opportunity to lead many different groups of people on many different projects in my career, and every opportunity has provided me with new insight and helped create my leadership style.

Leadership Strategies

Man with backpack looking across lake at snow capped mountains.
Leadership Strategies

Determine your leadership style

The old adage “you can’t please all the people all the time” is certainly true. No matter what you do, there will be those who are pleased and those who are not. When it comes to leadership, it’s important to understand that everyone will have a different opinion of you. What they think of you as a person may not be the same as what you think of yourself as a leader.

Those who are pleased with a leader may have different expectations than those who are not pleased. Defining your leadership style will help you make decisions and ultimately create trust in your leadership skills to everyone around you. So, ask yourself what is my leadership style?

Leaders Create Conditions for Success

To sustain the lasting teamwork and high-quality productivity, you need to work as a group with a stated purpose and common goal. This means coming up with goals and plans to align everyone’s efforts, focusing on delivering good results as a team rather than individually.

If you can help the person next to you and the person next to them then it comes back around full circle. A leader creates those conditions were everyone is spring boarding off the strength of everyone else. When you help the person next to you and the person next to them, it creates a sense of duty around leadership.

Leaders at successful projects create opportunities that allow individuals to flourish, and an up-cycle of positivity is created. The up-cycle of positivity creates a win-win situation for the project and its employees, in turn sparking success for the company.

Stop Letting The Uncontrollable Control Your Project

No one has control over things that are uncontrollable. So, as a leader, you need to ensure you have a complete understanding of what is controllable. There are many things we have no control over in life. It can be the weather, the actions of others, or just a natural disaster. But as leaders, it is our responsibility to ensure that we understand what is controllable and what is not.

This understanding will allow us to set achievable goals for ourselves and for our organizations and make sure that we can control what needs to be controlled. Some things that are out of our control include having a stakeholder suddenly resign, or our team members being late to the meeting.

We must accept these situations and know that they cannot be controlled, and we should not get frustrated by them. Instead, we should focus on what aspects of the situation we can control to improve it.

Conclusion

Man in forest with tall trees deciding which path to follow.
Becoming a Project Leader

To become a project leader, you need to place yourself in positions where you will grow and be challenged. Picking and choosing the easy option where certainty is guaranteed does not support your leadership evolution. Push yourself until you become comfortable with the uncomfortable. When you’re in unfamiliar territory and feeling far from your comfort zone this is when you are being a true leader.

The level of discomfort is where the big opportunities for growth are. A leader can even start to see their leadership role as a never-ending process that must be faced and accepted head on. It starts with becoming aware of what will challenge you the most and where you will grow most.

It’s not enough to just say, “I want to be a project leader”, or “I want to make an impact”. Just wanting it is not enough. Here are some questions that will help you identify the growth opportunities in your life. What can I do that will stretch me? What kind of challenges and risks do I need to take?

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