Assuming Equality

If there is one thing I learned from leading complex projects, over the last few years, it is that self confidence remains the foundation of successful project leadership.

Without self confidence, it does not matter how well we know our project management processes, as we may not have the courage to make the tough calls, discuss the un-discussable, and take the difficult actions.

One area that was very challenging for me, during my transition to project management, was learning how to treat people more senior than me. I believe that most of us grew up generally feeling uncomfortable around authority figures. Some of us tend to act strangely and a bit twitchy around authority.

I believe this is because we are taught, from an early age, that we should respect authority figures because they have more knowledge and/or experience than we do. We also tend to believe that authority figures made it to where they are on the basis of their knowledge and abilities. I think this mental model has become embedded in our DNA.

Whether they are our direct senior managers, projects sponsors, or project steering committees members, we need to assume equality whenever we interact with authority figures.

This is an important concept that Tom Henschel discussed in his “the Look & Feel of Leadership” podcast titled “Assume Equality”.

While we should treat senior managers with the respect they deserve or that they have earned, we should not feel intimated by them. We all experience both high and low levels of self-confidence regardless of our stature, role or title. However, we should remember that, except for rare occasions, the intimidation is all in our head.

If you ask authority figures, they will tell you that they do not feel comfortable when people feel intimidated by them or don’t feel comfortable around them. They will tell you that they wish their project managers were more assertive.

But you have probably met individuals who are placed in positions of authority who use brute force and intimidation to motivate others. Try to look “behind the curtain”’ and find out what makes these people tick. Often, these individuals employ intimidation as an effective trick to get what they want. Once you realize this, it is no longer uncomfortable handling such authority figures.

Self confidence is about being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves and valuing others, and believing that we are equal to others – not superior or inferior. It is about standing up for our own rights, opinions, and needs, but still taking into account those of other people.

I would like to adopt this as a Guerrilla Project Management principle: As project manager, assume equality in all your dealings with others, especially authority figures.

I would love to hear your take on this principle. Please leave a comment or email: samad (at) GuerrillaProjectManagement.com.

One Response to Assuming Equality
  1. […] time remember to interact with authority figure as equals to me. I wrote in another post titled “Assuming Equality” that our self confidence comes from being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves […]

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Assuming Equality

If there is one thing I learned from leading complex projects, over the last few years, it is that self confidence remains the foundation of successful project leadership.

Without self confidence, it does not matter how well we know our project management processes, as we may not have the courage to make the tough calls, discuss the un-discussable, and take the difficult actions.

One area that was very challenging for me, during my transition to project management, was learning how to treat people more senior than me. I believe that most of us grew up generally feeling uncomfortable around authority figures. Some of us tend to act strangely and a bit twitchy around authority.

I believe this is because we are taught, from an early age, that we should respect authority figures because they have more knowledge and/or experience than we do. We also tend to believe that authority figures made it to where they are on the basis of their knowledge and abilities. I think this mental model has become embedded in our DNA.

Whether they are our direct senior managers, projects sponsors, or project steering committees members, we need to assume equality whenever we interact with authority figures.

This is an important concept that Tom Henschel discussed in his “the Look & Feel of Leadership” podcast titled “Assume Equality”.

While we should treat senior managers with the respect they deserve or that they have earned, we should not feel intimated by them. We all experience both high and low levels of self-confidence regardless of our stature, role or title. However, we should remember that, except for rare occasions, the intimidation is all in our head.

If you ask authority figures, they will tell you that they do not feel comfortable when people feel intimidated by them or don’t feel comfortable around them. They will tell you that they wish their project managers were more assertive.

But you have probably met individuals who are placed in positions of authority who use brute force and intimidation to motivate others. Try to look “behind the curtain”’ and find out what makes these people tick. Often, these individuals employ intimidation as an effective trick to get what they want. Once you realize this, it is no longer uncomfortable handling such authority figures.

Self confidence is about being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves and valuing others, and believing that we are equal to others – not superior or inferior. It is about standing up for our own rights, opinions, and needs, but still taking into account those of other people.

I would like to adopt this as a Guerrilla Project Management principle: As project manager, assume equality in all your dealings with others, especially authority figures.

I would love to hear your take on this principle. Please leave a comment or email: samad (at) GuerrillaProjectManagement.com.

One Response to Assuming Equality
  1. […] time remember to interact with authority figure as equals to me. I wrote in another post titled “Assuming Equality” that our self confidence comes from being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves […]

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Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://www.guerrillaprojectmanagement.com/assuming-equality/trackback

Assuming Equality

If there is one thing I learned from leading complex projects, over the last few years, it is that self confidence remains the foundation of successful project leadership.

Without self confidence, it does not matter how well we know our project management processes, as we may not have the courage to make the tough calls, discuss the un-discussable, and take the difficult actions.

One area that was very challenging for me, during my transition to project management, was learning how to treat people more senior than me. I believe that most of us grew up generally feeling uncomfortable around authority figures. Some of us tend to act strangely and a bit twitchy around authority.

I believe this is because we are taught, from an early age, that we should respect authority figures because they have more knowledge and/or experience than we do. We also tend to believe that authority figures made it to where they are on the basis of their knowledge and abilities. I think this mental model has become embedded in our DNA.

Whether they are our direct senior managers, projects sponsors, or project steering committees members, we need to assume equality whenever we interact with authority figures.

This is an important concept that Tom Henschel discussed in his “the Look & Feel of Leadership” podcast titled “Assume Equality”.

While we should treat senior managers with the respect they deserve or that they have earned, we should not feel intimated by them. We all experience both high and low levels of self-confidence regardless of our stature, role or title. However, we should remember that, except for rare occasions, the intimidation is all in our head.

If you ask authority figures, they will tell you that they do not feel comfortable when people feel intimidated by them or don’t feel comfortable around them. They will tell you that they wish their project managers were more assertive.

But you have probably met individuals who are placed in positions of authority who use brute force and intimidation to motivate others. Try to look “behind the curtain”’ and find out what makes these people tick. Often, these individuals employ intimidation as an effective trick to get what they want. Once you realize this, it is no longer uncomfortable handling such authority figures.

Self confidence is about being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves and valuing others, and believing that we are equal to others – not superior or inferior. It is about standing up for our own rights, opinions, and needs, but still taking into account those of other people.

I would like to adopt this as a Guerrilla Project Management principle: As project manager, assume equality in all your dealings with others, especially authority figures.

I would love to hear your take on this principle. Please leave a comment or email: samad (at) GuerrillaProjectManagement.com.

One Response to Assuming Equality
  1. […] time remember to interact with authority figure as equals to me. I wrote in another post titled “Assuming Equality” that our self confidence comes from being a respectful and respected person, valuing ourselves […]

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