Friday, August 26, 2016

Primal Virtue

A project manager has to do many things. Not taking sides or getting involved in squabbles, helping those involved to resolve the issues themselves is the correct approach. Leading the team without being possessive or dominating. Not taking the credit for the work of the team. 

The Way  
A poor project manager will try to dominate the team. This will grind them down and stifle their creativity. The wise project manager encourages the team and is supportive, without taking credit for the team’s achievements.

Lao Tzu asks a lot of questions in this chapter of the Tao and as project managers these are the questions we should be asking ourselves, most important can we lead without dominating?  

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

Can you coax your mind from wandering, and keep to the original oneness?  
Can you let your body become supple as a new-born child?  
Can you cleanse your inner vision until it is pure?  
Can you love all men and lead them without cleverness?  
Opening and closing the gates of Heaven, can you play the role of a woman?  
Understanding all things, can you be without motive?  
Giving birth and nourishing, having yet not possessing,  
Acting yet not taking credit, leading yet not trying to dominate,  
This is the Primal Virtue.  

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Good Team

Yet more on the soft skills

I have always been impressed by how well people will work in a project team if you respect them and let them get on with it. My last big project team were all very professional. Of course some of them were better at some things than others but they were all good and capable of working well and they knew their stuff. It was a real pleasure and a privilege to work with them. Unlike at the Olympics, in many ways a good project team is better than a spectacular team. 

A poor project manager will try to micro-manage the team and want to be seen as a superstar. But superstars can get carried away with their own importance then, sooner or later, they will burn out and crash back to earth.  

The Way 
The wise project manager settles for good work and lets the team get on with things. He or she does not try and take the credit for what happens and has no desire for fame. They make sure the team takes the credit, as after all, they have done the work. Having a moderate ego demonstrates true wisdom

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:

Fill your bowl to the brim,  
And it will spill.  
Over sharpen your knife,  
And the edge will soon be blunt.  

Amass a store of gold and jade,  
And nothing can guard it.  
Care about other peoples’ approval,  
And you will be their prisoner.  

Retire when the work is done.  
This is the way to serenity.  

Friday, August 12, 2016

More on Soft Leadership

Still on the subject of soft skills: pushy project managers may think they are being effective but they can have a bad impact on the team. Better to be relaxed and go with the flow, for that way the team will be positive and motivated. That’s not to say that you can be incompetent and get away with it, for the team will soon find you out. Just be fair and honest with the team and they will respect it.  

The Way
The wise project manager is like water. Water goes anywhere freely. It is yielding and flows naturally. The wise project manager does not push, so the team does not resent or resist, 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:  

The supreme good is like water.  
Water gives life to the ten thousand things without trying.  
It flows in the low places people reject,  
And so is like the Tao.  

Giving with fairness and compassion.  
Speaking with integrity.  
Governing without trying to control.  
Working with competence.  
Moving with good timing.  

Not competing,  
So not finding fault.  

Friday, August 05, 2016

Soft Leadership

Continuing the theme of soft leadership, I like to think back to some of the project managers I have worked with over the years and a handful stand out for one main quality, their selflessness. 

A project manager who is selfish and thinks only of himself, will either alienate the rest of the team, or worse still, the rest of the team will think that is the correct way to behave and start to develop similar characteristics.  It stands to reason that a good, supportive project manager will make the whole team feel better.  And if the team feels better they will perform better.  

The Way
The the wise project manager shows enlightened leadership through service.  He puts the well-being of the team above that of himself. 

The Tao  
Lao Tzu tells us:

Heaven and earth are long-lasting.  
Why are they long-lasting?  
They use no personal agenda,  
So they can last a long time.  

Therefore the sage stays behind, and proceeds.  
Is detached from all things, and continues.  
By not having a personal agenda,  
He is able to accomplish great things.