I learned that a client started a program in which every manager is part of a team to help less-experienced staff learn basic project management techniques. Each team will identify and work on a project collaboratively. The overall intent is to not only enhance the project management skills of the less-experienced participants, but to also identify and implement efficiency enhancement opportunities throughout the organization. This will enable more employees to take lead positions on future projects, to develop their individual skills, and to obviously support the company. Terrific right? Well in theory it sounds great. However, in application it's not so great. Why? Management's not showing up.
Due to their never-ending series of management meetings to discuss the latest crisis or new corporate initiative, the managers have not attended any of the meetings with their project teams. When project team meetings are scheduled and held, invariably the managers are stuck in a management meeting and can't break away. Or the management meeting runs long, so when it does finally break, the managers don't want to interrupt the project meetings, so they just go back to their offices.
In spite of it all, the project teams have identified and started the process of working on projects to benefit the organization. From the managers' perspective, they're proud of their teams for figuring it out on their own and for "making the projects their own." However, in talking with the project teams, their level of frustration with their managers' lack of interest, lack of commitment, and lack of support is rapidly increasing. The project team members are quickly becoming more disenfranchised with the management team as a "We/They" mentality takes stronger root. The project team members all know the managers are good people and mean well. However, the managers' "absence" indicates they apparently don't care enough to organize themselves to better control their own schedules so they can be there for their new project teams to teach and to support them.
Meaning well only goes so far.
As soon as I raised this issue with the management team, the deer-in-the-headlights looks in addition to the knowing nods were enough for me to realize they knew exactly what I was talking about. Now it's just a matter of time to see if the managers care enough to show up for their teams, for their organization, and for themselves. If they really want to develop others to be able to take over some of the project leadership opportunities, it's time to show them how a real project leader behaves.
Real leaders make the effort to show up.
Copyright MMVIII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!