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Leadership Lessons: Where did ‘Grip Self’ lead?

by Chris Turley

As an automotive Project Manager, I spent my time living in my self contained ‘project world’ not thinking about leadership, just attempting to manage tasks, in reality running around like a stressed and increasingly angry headless chicken, dragging and pushing tasks through the business and battling with people who didn’t have the same priorities as me, despite my telling them repeatedly that my project is a top priority and the tasks were as important to them as they were to me, not an easy sell. A time consuming, tiring, frustrating and pretty unsuccessful approach all round. I worked hard but still I struggled to achieve results, projects were still delivered on time but only just, many times more by luck than judgement, taking significantly more effort and generated significantly more risk and waste than necessary with these inefficiencies were inevitably carried on and repeated from project to project.

The change point for me came with the mantra;
Grip Self,
Grip Team,
Grip the task through the team

Grip Self;
Be calm, be controlled, be clear, be confident
I’ve found that this comes from fully understanding what’s required, what the goals and objectives are, be clear in your own mind what’s needed then and only then can you communicate it effectively.

Grip Team;
Share your understanding of what’s required with the team.
Plan, organise & delegate, Challenge, question and listen.
If you clearly explain the goals, vision and content, and provide clarity of direction and process then the team will come along with you. Your calm, confident and open approach will deliver confidence in your leadership, and using your personal power to win hearts and minds will bring the team along with you.

Grip the task through the team;
Enabling the team perform their tasks with your leadership and support where required.
You monitor and measure, and step in to help alleviate blocks and problems as and when they occur.

By empowering and supporting the team you’re providing leadership and allowing them to get on with their tasks while you keep an overall view and focus on the end result and how to get there, if you like ‘oiling the wheels’ of the project as it moves through the business.

Manage the team to manage the task & Keep things simple

Ask yourself the question; what do you want in/from a Project Manager / Leader?

This lesson (Thanks to the Leadership Trust) has stayed with me and has led to team and personal achievement achieved in a calmer, happier and far more productive environment.

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