Team management and leadership are hot topics in project management. Dr Alfredo Morresi spoke at Codemotion Rome 2019 about the differences between management and leadership, the servant style of leadership and the challenges to the role of the team manager.
Serve the team and let them grow
Management and leadership imply great responsibilities: managers have a strong influence on people’s work and life. The output and commitment of team members is influenced by the style of management.
Dr Morresi asserts:
“A good manager should serve their people so they can get the job done.”
Dr Moresi defines leadership as “the responsibility to see others around us rise: a leader accounts for the professional (and human) growth of people in his/her team. A good manager should let team members flourish according to their possibilities and aspirations.”
However, this does not mean anything goes. If a football team has no strikers there’s no point in trying to turn a goalkeeper into a goal scorer, the skills and attitudes for those two kinds of “operations” are just different.
Leadership is also different from management due to different goals. Leadership is about people growth. Conversely, management aims at getting the job done.
The virtues of servant leadership
The leadership style openly advocated by Dr Morresi is the “servant leadership” style, which may seem to be quite an oxymoron at first but actually mean to employ the following behavioural style to lead a team:
- Share responsibilities (remaining accountable)
- Share power as much as possible, thus to delegate and not to interfere.
- Put employees first.
- Help employees to develop both in the company and in their own life.
- Shield the team from external complexity and let people concentrate on their job.
A good serving manager should digest information and bring it to the team. They should deal with rather than simply transfer bureaucracy. A manager should also remain fully accountable for the team’s output and progresses.I
It is critical to create a psychologically safe environment where people may express themselves. The manager should (try to) be available. They should good with people, not impatient, not overly critical, etc.
People make teams. People are not just employees but actual individuals with their insights and “an entire universe only partially related to the work”.
The team quadrant
According to Dr Morresi, team members can fall under different categories:
Newcomers need mentoring, but usually have fresh ideas, absorb and contribute to shape team culture and have unbiased views on team friction points.
High performers empower with autonomy responsibility challenges, but, be sure, they’ll leave sooner or later (or take the manager’s seat). High performers set the team mood, make good suggestions and are important contributors. suggestions.
People with Untapped potential need help to rediscover passions. Their situation may be caused by external reasons. They may suffer from a lack of belief.
People in the sadness area should definitely find a new place to stay, either inside or outside the company: they can poison the team mood.
Culture is nothing without vision
Culture is not enough. Vision is also needed. Dr Morresi defines vision as the “aspirational description of what the organisation wants to achieve in the mid-long term”. Vision defines the reasons why people come to work, their motivations, in short, it defines what the manager is and what he/she is not.
A good vision brings focus and energy. It points to where the manager wants to go and, as a leader, wants to bring the team. A vision needs to be ambitious but reachable. It should be revised once in a while, and, if needed, adjusted.
If vision states what one wants to achieve, it remains to define how to get there. Goals should be precise. Ambiguity is the enemy of efficiency. What does “done’ mean and how do we know a goal is reached?
What else for the achievement of results in a project? Once the job is done, celebrate its success with the whole team!
You can also take a look at the slides from the presentation and other conferences.