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Project Management for Beginners and Experts

Episode 185 How to Develop Your Project Team’s Leadership Skills (Project Leadership Series) (Premium)

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PMP Exam Simulator

Episode 185 How to Develop Your Project Team’s Leadership Skills (Project Leadership Series) (Premium)

In this premium episode we are going to continue to develop project leadership skills. But not just anybody’s skills. We are focusing on what you and I can do as project leaders in order to enable our own project teams to take more leadership responsibilities. After all, one important trait of a project leader is that she or he helps others on the road to leadership.

My guest is Andy Kaufmann, PMP from The  Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development (www.i-leadonline.com and www.peopleandprojectspodcast.com). In the last episode, all our premium listeners received a free copy of his two Leadership Appraisal worksheets. If you are a premium listener and you haven’t seen those yet, please take another look at episode 184 and look for the PDF documents. For this interview on team leadership development Andy is offering his Team Charter worksheet to you. All paying, premium subscribers can download the PDF and use it the next time they have a team kick off meeting.

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Cornelius Fichtner: This is The Project Management Podcast™. We bring project management to beginners and experts. Find us on the web at www.pm‑podcast.com or send your emails to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to this Premium Episode #185. I am Cornelius Fichtner. This is The Project Management Podcast™. It’s nice to have you with us.

In this premium episode, we are going to continue to develop project leadership skills. But not just anybody’s skills. We are focusing on what you and I can do as project leaders in order to enable our own project team members to take more leadership responsibilities. After all, one important trait of a project leader is that she or he helps others on the road to leadership.

My guest is Andy Kaufmann, PMP from The Institute for Leadership Excellence & Development. That’s www.i-leadonline.com. In the last episode, all our premium listeners, that’s you in case you are wondering, received a free copy of his two Leadership Appraisal worksheets. If you haven’t seen those yet, then please take another look at episode #184 and look for these PDF documents. For this interview on team leadership development here, Andy is offering you his Team Charter worksheet. So download this PDF document and use it the next time that you have a team kickoff meeting.

And now, let’s push those team members out of the nest and see if they can fly as leaders. Enjoy the interview.

Podcast Interview

Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Andy Kauffman, international speaker, author and executive coach.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Andy and welcome back to our project leadership series.

Andy Kauffman: Thank you, Cornelius. It’s a real pleasure.

Cornelius Fichtner: So, in our first interview today, we focused on developing our personal leadership skills and we said that in this interview, we now want to focus on developing our teams and their leadership skills. So whose skills are we going to be developing in this interview?

Andy Kauffman: You know the way I like to look at it in our position for this interview is we have to develop the team, just because we put people together on a team doesn’t make them a team, right? So it’s our ability as project leaders to develop the team and the key part of that then is also developing their leadership skills. So it’s really both.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay! But just because you put people together in a team, that’s not going to mean that they’re going to be acting like a team. So how as a leader then do you begin to develop an effective team?

Andy Kauffman: You know, there is probably not one single best way but I really appreciate the wisdom of the ages here and Bruce Tuckman, it must have been back in the 60’s, came up Tuckman’s theory of teams. Most people have heard of it, that teams go from forming, storming, norming, performing.

I assume we call it years ago, you did ago, you did at the end of your cast and we have this or whatever and you said, you had blaming at the end of that. I remember that a couple of years ago. But you know the big message for project leaders out of that is I found there’s a lot of wisdom in what Tuckman found there that we’re going to put people together on this project team. We will form it. And we need to do that well. But we need to expect the storm. We need to expect that there will be problems whether it’s understanding roles and responsibilities, all kinds of things that can happen. And what I found is too often, we don’t expect it. And so just expect it. There will be some conflict. There will be some issues. Expect it and then the goal is to get through that storm as soon as possible.

Cornelius Fichtner: Many of our listeners are seasoned project managers. Some of them are junior project managers. So at some point, they’re going to be given their first project team and then there are going to be standing there going: “Okay, I have these 6 people here in front of me and they expect me now to lead this team.” Do you have any tips for them? What should the first things be that a new team leader focuses on with the team?

Andy Kauffman: I had a really interesting discussion with [Jodi Goldberg]. She blogs on Harvard Business Review and she just released a book in 2011 called “Great on the Job”. And one of the things she said was a lot of times, people that are new in a role whether they are new for the very first time or it’s a new role at a company where they weren’t at before. But regardless, they’re new.

It’s just one of the problems is, we think we can’t ask for help because if we ask for help then we’re showing that we’re weak. And we need to show that we’re not weak. And what I find is in fact, what she talks about in her book “Great on the Job” is no, no, no. You have to be careful on how you ask for help. I mean you have to do your part of it for sure, but the advice that I would give somebody who’s a new project leader is network with other people that have been doing it longer. I’m amazed at how much people are willing to help.

And so for example, what are some key things you do in a kickoff meeting? Don’t try to invent it, right? Just figure out what are some of the other things they’ve done. What are some landmines that you found that you’ve stepped on or talk to other people: ‘Do you know the people on these teams? Are there some dynamics there that I need to know about?’ I’ve had people tell me where I didn’t know the people about how these 2 people don’t go along or there’s some history there going in so I’m not blind. So I would strongly recommend whether you call it networking or you call it relationship building, find people who are good running teams and get to know them really well. And then beyond that, there are just great resources out there whether you call it podcast, subscribe to blogs that talk about leading teams. There are just so many resources out there that don’t necessarily require people to sign up for a class.

Cornelius Fichtner: You know I think this is good advice not only for junior project managers. This is also good advice for senior project managers. Because once you’ve led a team, you know 10, 15, 20 times on a project, you are set in your ways. This is how I do it and this is the way it works and this is the way I am and you know, you have a blindfold on almost and reaching out to others around you, other project managers and saying: “Hey! Common! Sit in to my project the next team meeting, audit it. Tell me what it is that I’m doing well. Tell me what it is that I’m not doing so well where I could improve.” That is good advice even for a very seasoned project manager who thinks I have everything down. I’ve done this so many times. No! Because a new perspective might help you improve.

Andy Kauffman: Yeah, so true. Because so many could run relatively small projects, but how can they get a bigger one. Go talk to somebody that runs programs. I don’t do this as consistently as I should, Cornelius, so I don’t want to sound like I do it perfectly. But I’m always looking for who is it that’s 5 or 10 years ahead of me. What is it they are doing? We can all apply that to say: “What is it that they do to manage a program? How can I learn some of those things for my project?” I think you’re right. I think that’s great advice regardless of where people are in the spectrum.

Cornelius Fichtner: We mentioned earlier that you had a leadership class. You do presentations, keynotes, workshops and in these workshops, one of the things I heard you say is you take exception to the statement that people say in order to have the basis for an effective team: Team members have to trust each other. It’s the foundation of a good team. Why do you take exception to that?

 

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only. Please subscribe to our Premium Podcast to receive a PDF transcript.

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