PMP in a Snap

So I Just Can’t Tell My Team What To Do?

July 25, 2023 Kaye B Episode 43
PMP in a Snap
So I Just Can’t Tell My Team What To Do?
Show Notes Transcript

Leadership…is a buzz word but it is a skill that is useful for all project team members regardless if you are leading the entire project or just leading a subset of the team. This episode talks about all the skills to become an effective leader. All lessons are based on the PMBOK®, 7th Edition.   

CAPMP, PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc. 

Get your PMP Study Planner to help you study for the PMP Exam. 


Sign up to get updates on new episode

Email us:
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | YouTube

About Kaye B
Medium | LinkedIn

Leadership, leadership, leadership…it’s such a buzz word but it is a skill that is useful for all project team members regardless if you are leading the entire project or just leading a subset of the team. Before you start diving into a project, you and your leadership must understand the end goal of the project because part of your role as a leader is to help guide decisions towards the project outcome. Some questions that need to be addressed are:

●     What is the project's purpose?

●     What defines the success of the project

●     What does the future look like when the project is completed?

When these questions are answered, it will help you summarize the project into phases and describe it to your project team so that it inspires them and the project's outcome. 


Now that you have your vision let’s talk about critical thinking. This includes disciplined, rational, logical, and evidence-based thinking. It requires you to have an open mind and the ability to analyze objectively. Because when you are leading a team, project or individual, you need to state facts and not just a bunch of hypotheticals. Yes hypotheticals help you identify risks, but when you apply critical thinking, it helps you to:

●     Research and gather unbaised, well-balanced information

●     Recognize, analyze and resolve problems

●     Identify bias, understated assumptions and values

●     Observe events to identify patterns and relationships

●     Apply inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning appropriate

●     Identify and articulate false premises, false analogy, emotional appeals and other faulty logic

Critical thinking may sound cold but like what I stated earlier, it helps you to make unbiased decisions and forces you to look at all the facts. 

Motivation keeps coming up and it’s a great tool as a leader. When you are trying to motivate a project team, there are two aspects: one is understating what motivates them to perform and the second is working with them so they remain committed to the project and its outcomes. Let’s look at some examples. So a responsibility may motivate a team member to perform but a bonus at the end of the project may motivate them to stay committed to the project or a raise. 

People are not always motivated by one thing, but they tend to have a dominate motivator. Some other motivation factors are achievements, challenges, belief in the work, making a difference, self-direction/autonomy, personal growth or just being part of your awesome project team. 

You should effectively monitor your team and ask them what motivates them so you can keep them engaged and on your team and even the organization. 


Interpersonal skills have three main factors: emotional intelligence, decision making and conflict resolution. Emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize not only our own emotions but that of others. The recognition of personal feelings, empathy and above all, act appropriately are pivotal for effective communication, collaboration and leadership. 

Decision-making is something that project managers do daily. Well, in fact if feels hourly. Some decisions could seem not such a big deal to the project outcome like what shade of post-it notes the team should use during the offsite, to very impactful such as choosing the right vendor. Decisions could be made by the project manager, made for the project manager or made by a group. Group decision-making doesn’t necessarily mean we all get in a group and raise our hands but it could be getting feedback from multiple sources to come up with one answer. At the end of the day, the goal is to make decisions quickly while using critical thinking and tapping into resources and knowledge bases to make the right decision for the project and the project team. And if you cannot make a decision or feel like it’s not your call, always talk to a stakeholder or someone you regard as an authority within your organization to make the final call. 


Now, Without creating a fight club in the Slack room, it’s good to have some conflict management skills. Projects operate in a dynamic environment and face constraints like budget scope and schedule. Also you are dealing with different personalities in different timezones. It’s a lot to manage but before you let it escalate and Barbra is replying by say “per my last email”, here are some things to consider:

Keeping the communication open and respectful, focus on the issues, not the person. Because you may think that Barbra is not doing her job, but it could just be that she doesn’t have the right information or tools to do it right. 

Focus on the present and future, not the past. Do we want to be judged on what we did last weekend when we went out with our friends in Vegas at the Chippendales venue? Nope, I didn’t think so, so you should judge Barbara for a past mistake. I’m just picking on Barbara today. 

Leadership skills take time to learn and you are constantly learning new skills. Project team members are always called to demonstrate leadership qualities throughout the project. Communication is the beginning. Not just talking but listening. Once you get into the rhythm of things, then you are fast-tracking to being a project manager that everyone likes to work with. So no, you can’t just tell your team what to do and they will do it. You need leadership skills. 


That is your PMP in a Snap. We’ll see you again next week.