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PM Certification

Project Leader Superheroes and The Attributes They Possess

Project Leader Superheroes and The Attributes They Possess While Delivering an EPC Project! An EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) project is, like most projects, complicated and multi-faceted.  To tackle one on your own is to quite possibly bite off more than you can chew!  Having a dedicated team to help you with the biting and digesting is a necessity to delivering an EPC project, but also just as important is needing a great team leader (YOU) to delegate the job scopes.  This is essentially the PM’s job, and part of his or her job entails having leadership and people skills.  Without these, the project may be doomed!

In projects, there are times when all is smooth, jobs are performed in a timely manner and when everything seems to be unfolding nicely. Usually these periods end very quickly though.  And what ensues after are times when issues are surfacing, there are never-ending problems, and one seemingly little thing can hold up the entire project.  This is when task forces are created in order to take special action in order to address these key issues arising. These hectic times are the time when you can differentiate a great project manager or team leader from the rest. As the old proverb goes, stormy seas make for more skilled sailors, and such is the work of a PM.  As a PM, how you respond to these issues determines the results you experience.  And if that isn’t enough, one of the OTHER jobs a PM has that you don’t really hear about, is the job of managing egos.  The PM has the pleasure of managing everyone’s ego; the shareholders, the decision-makers, the subcontractors, the suppliers and even his own.  If you think about it, a PM is sort of like a project super-hero.

Here is a list of key attributes of project superheros and team leaders which especially apply in EPC projects:

#1 – Project Leader Superheroes Lead by Example

Great PM superheros know that actions speak louder than words alone, and they take action. You can describe how you want your team to operate, you can communicate efficiently and effectively what actions need to be taken, or you can show them by your superhero actions. Regardless of what is important to you, such as timeliness, quality, or thoroughness, your actions in these areas must be congruent with your words.  And since a team is a reflection of its’ leader, it is essential to walk-your-talk and demonstrate what it is that you want to see.  BE the example you want to see in your projects!

#2 – Project Leader Superheroes Are Easy to Access

As a PM Superhero, it is important to be available and easily accessible by the team.  After all, sometimes things come up that they don’t have the respond-ability to manage, this is why you need to be accessible and available. They definitely do not hole themselves up in an office somewhere and speak through intermediaries. They are on the front line with their team, rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty if needed!  After all, sometimes you need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

#3 – Project Leader Superheroes Treat Others with Respect

Let’s face it, a PM Superhero needs to have people skills.  Have you ever worked with someone who you felt disrespected you?  Chances are, if you have had this unfortunate experience, you probably didn’t work well with this person or eventually you didn’t work with them at all.  It is important for your team to respect you but it’s even MORE important that they are respected BY you.  It’s hard to respect someone that you know doesn’t respect you and even harder to work with them. Members of your team may not be as experienced or accomplished as you, but never behave condescendingly towards them.  This can lead to passive aggression on their side, which always has an effect on the results.  An unhappy project workers always have an impact on the bottom line, according to these gallup statistics.

#4 – Project Leader Superheroes Are Decision-Makers

A PM superhero never sits on the fence too long, and does his best to make informed and educated decisions.  He or she understands that nothing can move forward until a decision has been made. Rather than bring a project to a standstill with a paralysis by analysis mentality, a PM Superhero will focus on making lots of educated decisions quickly rather than just a few great decisions slowly.  After all, time is money people!

#5 – Project Leader Superheroes Maintain High Standards

Another trait of PM superheros is that they never compromise quality or standards.  This is always at the forefront of their mind.  A simple mistake overlooked can cost a lot of time and money, so there is no compromising quality in order to get something done faster.  Their mentality is, “When you do it right the first time, you don’t have to go back and do it over again.”

The bottom line is that there is always resistance on the path to complete a project.  Cutting corners is a common way many people try to save time and money, but in the end it usually costs MORE time and money.  There will be temptations to take shortcuts, bypass approvals, or leave something out of the project plan as the pressure increases. This is what sets a PM Superhero apart, he or she resists these influences and always does whatever is necessary to deliver a quality project.

#6 – Project Leader Superheroes Keep Negativity to a Minimum

This attribute is really important because of the effect this can have on the team, the project and the end-results.  A PM Superhero understands that there is no room for negativity or complaining. Period.  Stuff will come up, it always does, and the PM’s job is to respond to end.  End of discussion. There is already enough going on and enough to do without having to deal with negative comments or attitudes from the PM or the team.  Hearsay doesn’t have a place in projects, and when someone begins creating drama, a Superhero PM stops it at the source.  Great Superhero PM’s track down where negativity is originating from and resolves the issue at the source. Not everything goes perfectly on a project, and leaders are fully aware that focusing on the negative side of a situation long enough can and often does turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

On top of that, a nay-sayer has a negative impact on the people he or she works around.  It can affect morale, productivity and the end results. This is where creating boundaries is very important.  Once everyone knows how you as a PM Superhero works, they know time and time again not to participate in negativity…especially on your watch!

Here’s to all the great Superhero PMs out there currently and those who are on their journey to becoming one!

Peter Wyss