The project team’s organization is temporary; it only exists as long as the project does. For the next, you will acquire a new team.
This is an ongoing process. Each team passes through the stages of team formation. As a project manager, your job will be to support your team members and help them develop.
The leadership style of a project manager in different phases of team formation is a fascinating topic. You should have the qualities of a leader and a manager. It is possible that you are a good leader but not a good manager, and vice versa.
You have to lead and direct your team towards achieving project objectives.
What is a Leader?
Leaders have followers who share the same vision.
They lead their followers and involve them. This person also motivates and influences the followers to get the job done. Leaders have charismatic power to influence team members.
Followers believe in their cause and support it.
What is a Manager?
While leaders have followers, managers have subordinates who complete a task. They have authoritative and punitive powers.
Team members follow orders because they know managers can punish them for not doing so.
Role of the Project Manager
As a good project manager, you should have the qualities of a leader and a manager because you have to lead and manage your team to complete the project successfully. You should be able to motivate them and earn their respect and support.
You may not always work in a projectized organization. The company may be a weak matrix or balanced matrix organization where you have limited authority, so leadership qualities will help you influence and motivate your team members.
Leadership and management complement each other.
The Leadership Style of the Project Manager
According to Bruce Tuckman, team development has five stages: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning. These are known as Tuckman Stages.
Team members behave differently in each stage and the project manager has to act accordingly to help them develop
Let’s discuss the stages of team formation and the role of the project manager.
All team members are new and don’t know the other team members. They don’t have a proper understanding of their roles and responsibilities and work independently.
Here, the project manager will work with an autocratic or directing style to avoid disorganization and chaos.
This is the second stage. Team members start getting to know each other and understand their roles and responsibilities. However, they still need a solid command to keep things aligned.
The project manager will be less autocratic than in the Forming stage. They will display a coaching style of leadership.
Now team members have a sound understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and they begin to work together and adjust their habits and behavior.
The project manager will be liberal since team members have started to understand each other and are clear about their expectations. Here, the project manager will act as a facilitating leader.
In this stage, team members are acting as one. They are interdependent and adjusted. Now they are a high-performing team and can work with less supervision.
They are aligned with each other and require minimal monitoring. Here, the project manager acts in a laissez-faire style or as a supportive leader.
Laissez-faire is a French word that means “don’t interfere” or “let go.” This leadership is also known as delegating. In this style, the project managers trust their team members and allow them to work freely.
This leadership style is useful when team members are skilled, experienced, and capable of working independently.
The project is completed, and the team is released or deputed to another project.
Here, again, the project manager will act in a laissez-faire style.
You should lead your team based on their behavior and your understanding of the project as a project manager. There is no rule for governing style in different phases of the project.
You have to act according to your team’s behavior, which may vary.
In the initiation and planning phase, you don’t require all team members. Most team members are hired at the beginning of the execution phase. Therefore, it will be safe to assume that the Forming stage includes the initiation, planning, and the beginning of the execution phase. Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning will follow the same order.
A project manager requires the qualities of a manager and a leader. Management qualities will help you assign and complete tasks and leadership qualities will help you motivate and influence your team members to work efficiently.
Your management style may not change, but your leadership may change according to the stages of team formation. Leadership style will vary in different stages of team formation; however, the objective will be the same: to lead the team to achieve the project’s objectives.
What is your current stage of team formation and how do you behave as the project manager? Please share your experiences in the comments section.
This topic is very important from a PMP exam point of view. You may see one or two questions from this topic in your exam.