Want to Be a Better Leader? Start By Becoming a Better Project Manager
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Change Management

Want to Be a Better Leader? Start By Becoming a Better Project Manager

June 15, 2023

4 min read

Imane Zarhooni

Imane Zarhooni

As the year presses on, we’re facing new scenarios, goals, projects, and challenges. We’ve gathered a lot of valuable lessons from previous quarters, but there are always ways to enhance the flow and efficiency of your organization.

For decades, people have been writing about improving management, especially during times of rapid industrial growth. The good news is that these timeless principles can be readily applied to our modern era.

In the recently published book, Rules of Flow, author Efrat Goldratt emphasizes the importance of “improving flow as a primary objective of every operation.” Understanding the big picture of your organization and possessing fundamental project management skills are essential for effective leadership and achieving exceptional outcomes.

Let’s face it, management is never easy, but as Andres S. Grove, the co-founder of Intel, writes in his influential masterpiece High Output Management, “a manager’s output directly impacts the output of the organization under their supervision or influence.”

In this article, we’ll share our favorite suggestions for becoming a better manager and establishing a seamless flow within your organization.


professional men and women looking at glass whiteboard with post-it notes.

6 Tactics for Improving Your Project Management Skills

1. Avoid Multitasking by Taking Control of Your WIP

You know what they say, there’s no such thing as ‘good multitasking.’ Imagine this: you have to message someone the letters A, B, C, D, E, and F while also writing down the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 simultaneously. Could you do it? Likely. But it would take you much longer to finish than if you did one task at a time. It’s a simple example, but it shows that multitasking is not our friend, especially regarding work.

Here’s what to do instead: Start with one thing and finish it before moving on. Sure, it seems painfully simple, but resisting the urge to look at your phone can help you tackle the easy tasks, get your brain in gear, and then move on to more complex tasks. Trust us, the more projects you try to juggle, the more time you will waste flipping back and forth between them.

So, how can we overcome this? It’s all about establishing clear project priorities, ensuring you have the right support and resources, and keeping those communication lines open with your team. When you create an environment where everyone knows what’s important and has what they need, you’ll see focused work and increased productivity. And guess what? That’s the recipe for successful project outcomes.

2. Triage to Ensure You are Working on the Right Priorities

The rule emphasizes the importance of prioritizing tasks and activities based on their impact on the overall project goals. The term ‘triage’ is borrowed from the medical field, where it refers to the process of prioritizing patients based on the severity of their condition. In project management, triage involves identifying and categorizing tasks based on criticality and urgency.

So what is triage in project management? Freeze those projects that block your flow and prevent you from moving forward. Make sure to align your objectives with your team and choose tasks that add value according to your strategy.

3. If You Don’t Want to Get Stuck, Verify Your ‘Full Kit’ Before You Start

The ‘full kit’ describes the importance of thorough planning and preparation before starting a project or task. The term ‘full kit’ refers to having all the required components ready and available. It suggests that it is essential to ensure that all the necessary resources, information, and dependencies are in place before commencing work.

Our advice? Do not start until you have your full kit. Ask your client everything you need to work fluidly. Define your project scope, required resources, and dependencies between tasks.

By verifying the ‘full kit’ before initiating work, project managers can minimize the chances of encountering obstacles, delays, or rework. The proactive approach helps to set the project on a smooth and efficient path from the start.

professionals working together to connect gears made out of wood to illustrate teamwork

4. Management is a Team Activity

No matter how good of a leader you are, it’s important to remember that management is a team activity. If your team is failing, it can be for one of two reasons: either they can’t or do not understand what they’re doing, or they’re unmotivated. Tackle this issue through training and by addressing employee engagement concerns head-on.

For example, what’s the incentive? Are employees engaging in tasks that have positive impacts? Or are they drowning in busy work? Give your team the tools and training to understand exactly what they need to do and why they’re doing it.

5. Make the Most Out of Meetings

Meetings often get a bad reputation for being unproductive. However, Grove emphasizes that they can be useful when conducted efficiently. In the era of remote work and digital collaboration, meetings play a vital role in fostering connection and alignment. Maximize the value of meetings by setting clear agendas, defining desired outcomes, and encouraging active participation. Embrace technology tools that facilitate virtual collaboration and make meetings inclusive and engaging. By leveraging meetings effectively, you can enhance communication, alignment, and decision-making within your team.

6. Feedback and Coaching

Let’s discuss something super important regarding being an effective leader: feedback and coaching.

It’s like being a supportive cheerleader for your team members’ growth and development. Creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing and receiving feedback is crucial. When you offer feedback, make sure it’s specific and timely, highlighting their strengths and areas where they can improve.

But it’s not just about giving feedback; embrace your inner coach too! Help your team members set goals, provide guidance, and cheer them on as they progress. Remember, in this exciting era, feedback and coaching are essential for fostering continuous learning and development.

Learn more about how to give performance feedback here.

Take the First Step

Being a better leader doesn’t happen overnight, but improving your skills as a project manager can help you get there. Embracing these principles of continuous improvement and incorporating them into your leadership approach, you can foster a seamless flow within your organization, achieve exceptional outcomes, and inspire team members to reach their full potential.

Are you ready? Contact us to learn how CS-STRATEGIES can guide you through change management.

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