Take your project career to new heights with AIPM membership. Join now to unlock the benefits of Australia’s leading body for project professionals.
Take the quiz
Join thousands of project professionals across Australia who have powered their career prospects with RegPM™ certification.
The demand for project management skills continues to grow across a range of industries, and professionals are building lucrative and rewarding careers.
For nearly 50 years, the AIPM has been driving project management across Australia.
15th Sep 2020
Richard Fechner, Global Advisory Leader at GHD
Using the old adage that you manage things and lead people, effective project delivery is more about leadership than it is management.
Throughout my career, I have always noticed the difference in projects that are delivered by a motivated and accountable team, regardless of the sector, be it defence, engineering or commercial advisory. Accountability is the:
Leading a project team means the buck stops with us. We need to set the tone, not just through our words, but our actions. The 7 features below of what a motivated and accountable team looks like are based on my reflections gained over 30 years in project leadership.
This is something that I learned while working in the Army. The directive control approach means team members have the flexibility to choose their approach to meeting expectations. Take the time to discuss with each team member what their understanding of your expectations are to ensure alignment and monitor and provide guidance on what they could do differently if they fall behind.
Prime responsibility is with the individual team members to successfully deliver and as a leader it is your responsibility to clarify that you are available as a support, coach and advisor. Consider the old sporting analogy of a champion team rather than a team of champions. It’s also important as a leader to confirm acknowledgement of responsibility with the team member.
Getting it right comprises a balance between self confidence, motivation and competence. Be the judge on when this balance is achieved and allow team members to continue autonomously.
Where service from other groups, project participants, suppliers is not as agreed, having a team with the courage to escalate removes surprises. I know red wine can improve with age, but project issues generally do not. Raising issues early highlights a blind spot in others, and can save the day, if not just the schedule or budget.
While the project leader may have valid experience, if senior staff always step down and solve every problem, it creates dependency. Providing guidance and encouraging the team to propose solutions promotes accountability.
Building on tip 5, I have found that open questions to the team are far more confidence building, so questions such as: What have you tried, considered? What might be a solution/ course of action? or Where could you get that information? are really effective.
Encourage along the way and recognise when expectations/goals are met. This will result in:
Join now to unlock the benefits of Australia’s leading body for project professionals.
Improve your project change management with expert tips on using the OODA Loop model as an adaptive framework.
Learn how AEL Sistemas, the Brazilian subsidiary of Elbit Systems increased its autonomy, including the leadership of all national projects.
8 tips for leaders wanting to create a culture of accountability in the workplace and why it’s so critical for high-performing teams.