How do I become a great manager of a team?

Monday, September 9th, 2013 By Jack Nevison

The benefit of being a project manager is that you are likely in charge of a small team. It might consist of two or three people, or it might be more like 10—the point is, you will know everyone by their first name.

Such a role can be a distinct advantage if you aspire to become a great manager.

Marcus Buckingham is the author of the book, "The One Thing You Need To Know: … About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success." He has, unsurprisingly, one thing you need to know about being a great project manager. But unlike so much advice out there, this tip actually has real substance.

Buckingham advises managers to learn the unique capabilities of each team member and find ways to capitalize on those skills in pursuit of the team's goals.

It sounds simple, but it does require some effort on the part of a manager. You'll have to spend some time with team members individually to get to know them and their backgrounds. Gathering the right information involves more than the standard Q & A interview, so be prepared for a lengthy process. Managers must find out how team members learn and how they approach problems. 

Armed with this knowledge, a manager can determine where each team member will need help and where each can excel–and how together they can contribute the most to the project's overall success. This improved performance can elevate a project—and your role as manager of it—from merely adequate to great.

New Leaf's program "Leading Project teams: The Human Side of Performance" can help you get the most from each individual contributor and the team as a whole. In addition, our QPM™ series of estimating games lets you earn affordable and convenient PDUs for your PMP® recertification requirements.

"PMI," PMP," and "PMBOK" are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

"QPM" is a registered mark of New Leaf Project Management. All rights reserved.

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