Everyone has a different approach to any job, and project management is no exception. There are a variety of ways to get things done, and all of them are correct provided you’re consistent. If you’re looking to strengthen your skills and boost your consistency, it helps to determine exactly what kind of project manager you are. You’ll be able to perfect your approach and better explain your personal style in future interviews.
Authoritative managers sit in the most comfortable chair, but are happy to listen to their teams. These managers possess the most knowledge, and will gladly inform their teams about the complexities of a project. They naturally command respect, and team members are glad to give it to them.
Democratic managers are the best with empowerment. They recognize the strengths of their individual team members, and tend to trust their judgment when it comes to the area of their personal specialties. While a democratic manager will gladly hold everyone together, they also offer a greater amount of freedom to their team members, who are generally motivated by the trust placed in them.
Coercive managers are very tough, and some heads may bump together. This management style works best with inexperienced teams who are otherwise unsure of what their expectations are. These managers allow the least amount of freedom, instead driving the project to completion according to their own immovable vision.
Affiliative managers are essentially phantoms. These managers deliver clear instructions and check in occasionally, allowing their teams to work at their desired pace. For projects that don’t have stiff deadlines with team members who have already proven their mastery of their abilities, these managers are essentially the glue that holds everyone together, however loosely that may be.
Pace-setters are essentially human stopwatches. This type of manager focuses specifically on the completion of work as it relates to a desired timeline, and the most important thing is that the work is done. When working on a complicated project, pace-setters tend to favor speed over quality. With simple projects that don’t involve many intricacies, a pace-setter does a good job of keeping everyone on track.
The Best Style
No style is the best style overall. Different projects may require different approaches, and some styles work better than others. Shifting styles constantly is not a viable option, because your team requires you to be thorough and consistent. If you’re coercive one day and affiliative the next day, you’ll drive everyone crazy. You need to create a balance that will translate well across the board.
The most important aspect of how you run a project should not be your style, but how your style pairs with who you are as a leader. Every leader should be encouraging, motivating, and fair. A good leader will never make their employees feel confused or suffocated. Whatever your style may be, placing it into the context that you’re a reliable leader that your team will easily be happy to follow is always the best strategy.
You also need to consider the nature of the jobs you’ll be working on. If you’re coming in to manage a team who has already established am exemplary success record, you can’t treat them the same way that you’d treat a band of first-timers who are still learning the ins and outs of their job. Your style may need to evolve over time as you get to know your team better, and they’ve gained more experience in their roles.
What’s your project management style? Are you consistent with your team, or do you bounce around?