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Symptoms of projects lacking leadership

If you see these symptoms on a project, then a lack of leadership is the cause. If you see these symptoms on your project, then get help from a trusted advisor or professional coach to help you take the lead again. If your project is suffers because a business partner or team that you are dependent on is lacking leadership, offer to help out in small ways to provide leadership without forcing the person in charge to lose face.

  1. People don't know who is in charge. Project team members and other stakeholders are unsure of who is in charge and you frequently hear phrases such as "I did not know that Jane was running this portion of the project" or "Joe told me that task #7 is more important but Sue tells me that task #7 is scheduled for a future phase." When the project has a strong leader, everyone knows who to ask for priority and who makes the decisions.

  2. Project leaders are absent from status meetings generally only react to project problems instead of leading the way. Strong leaders make the time to attend the important status meetings and make sure they understand the status and actions to be taken. They may not personally oversee every portion of the work, but they have organizational mechanisms in place such as regular status reports to stay informed.

  3. Status reports are uncoordinated, come from various team members and are distributed with conflicting information on irregular schedules. This creates confusion among the recipients. "Sally's report shows 17 defects yet Joe's status report lists out 35 defects. Which report is correct?"

  4. There is no single plan for the upcoming work on the project. Stakeholders and team members are unaware of the results that will be delivered in the coming weeks and don't know when the project is expected to complete.

  5. Various team members host status meetings, using inconsistent agendas and to differing audiences. Without consistency, stakeholders lose confidence in the project and the status being reported.

These are symptoms of a lack of leadership on a project. The result is usually project failure due to budget overruns and descoping. Don't allow a lack of leadership to drag your project down. Take actions to investigate these symptoms and then take corrective actions to demonstrate your leadership skills.

Copyright 2018 Wayne Botha Email Wayne Cell: 860.214.4897