Leadership Series No.3: Key leadership traits

The third article in our leadership series takes a look at the characteristics associated with leadership.  

What are the traits that make a successful leader?

Clearly, there are many important aspects, and some will be valued above others according to the particular context. In this article, I’ll examine multiple perspectives on the key traits of leadership, to identify those behaviors that are most commonly acclaimed. The three management authors and speakers discussed are Deep Patel (Forbes, 11 powerful leadership traits), LearningREADefined (7 key traits of leadership), and Brian Tracy (7 qualities of good leaders).

Leadership Traits

Deep Patel (Forbes) (forbes.com) LearningREADefined Brian Tracy (briantracy.com)
Having a vision for the future Proactive attitude Vision
Being accountable and responsible Are accountable Integrity
Being and Effective Communicator Radiate positive energy Focus
Acting Strategically Delegate tasks completely Strategic planning
Creating lasting relationships Are approachable Cooperation
Teambuilding and promoting teamwork Do what they expect of others Humility
Setting clear goals and persisting in achieving them Are decisive Courage
Self-Managing    
Managing complexity    
Fostering creativity and innovation    
Learning agility    

Analysis highlights the many similarities between these independent lists. The emerging themes are: Vision, Accountability, Strategic planning, Teambuilding and Decision-making.

Vision: Also a key Project DPro competency (12), Vision is the ability to contemplate the future. In this sense, Vision is closely linking to strategic planning as it entails finding time among the day-to-day management of operational issues to think about and plan for the future.

Accountability: Taking accountability and responsibility is another common trait. Author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy prefers the term Integrity, which invokes a sense of honesty and transparency.

Strategic planning: Deep Patel’s more substantial list of leadership qualities includes Managing complexity and Learning agility, but another common element is that of strategic action/planning.

From a Teamwork perspective, we can link LearningREADefined’s “Do what they expect of others” to the “Humility” extolled by Brian Tracy and Deep Patel’s “Creating lasting relationships” to reveal an interpretation of leading people as setting an example among equals. Moving away from the Organizational hierarchy, leaders nurture and foster relationships from a long-term perspective.

Finally, Decision-making. The emphasis here is on being timely and decisive. Leaders won’t always have the benefit of all the information necessary to make an easy decision, but, according to Tracy, they must have the “Courage” of their convictions.           

Next time, we’ll look at leadership in adversity.

How to be a great leader – The 7 Great Leadership traits (LearningREADefined)  

Leadership Series No.2: Leadership & Management

In this second article of the leadership series, we’ll delve into the differences between management and leadership. Let’s begin with some definitions. According to the OED, management is defined as:

“The process of dealing with or controlling things or people”

Leadership is defined by the OED as:

“The action of leading a group of people or an organization”

The first definition is striking, even alarming, in its use of the verb “control” – a word with often negative connotations. Through the absence of the controlling element, the definition of leadership indicates that the role is on one hand more positive, and on the other more complex.   

The Smarp blog highlights the differences between managers and leaders by emphasizing that managers are still followers, as they “follow the vision” and “endorse the culture” while leaders “set the vision” and “shape the culture”.

The overarching premise of leadership is that through ideas, vision and examples, the leader inspires people to follow their path.      

Leadership guru Simon Sinek insists that leadership is not being in charge but taking care of those in our charge. The key difference is that managers, by controlling, seek to be in charge of the output or results of their staff. In contrast, leaders are not responsible for the job performed by their people, but rather they are responsible for the people doing the job.    

In term of project management, Sinek’s teachings are highly representative of the “Servant leader” associated with Agile Project Management.

We surmise by saying that a project leader hires the right people for the job and facilitates their work by removing obstacles from their path.  

Benefits from taking a mentorship by Ivana Petkukjeska

In this article, Ivana Petkukjeska discusses her mentoring experience and extolls the virtues of becoming a mentee.

How it began…

During the last months of 2020, I started started considering the idea to start my own consulting business more seriously. Given my experience and knowledge in project management for NGOs, I started thinking about providing project development and writing services to anyone that has an idea for change and know-how to implement it, but no skills to convert it into an S.M.A.R.T. project proposal.

Ivana Petkukjeska

I knew the end result, but I didn’t know where to start. I knew the direction, but wasn’t sure which road I should take. So I started opening everything there is on the PMD4NGOs website, and ended up staring at the discussion board and thinking “On a scale for 1-10, how stupid it is to ask a question about how to take the baby steps?”

There was nothing to lose and everything to gain, so I dropped the question. The answer (which I didn’t even expect) led to free individual mentorship sessions with an international expert. First, I couldn’t believe that I got such a person providing individual mentorship for me. Second, even more unbelievable, all for free.

Every Tuesday through December: The benefits of the online mentorship process

While the mentorship process about my consulting business idea has already started, I slightly doubted that organizations needed this type of service. Although I never said that out loud, Edson showed me that what I want to sell, I am good at and enjoy doing is something that others are willing to pay for, might be bad at or even hate it. This was quite unexpected information for me. I falsely assumed that every project manager knows how and is willing to write projects. I was wrong on this very rare occasion when I assumed without even asking.

It wasn’t just about the need for project writing services I got new insights for. I also got very clear understanding where I should begin, the best approach to promote services, new insights about the market and its demands, potential pool of clients, and guidance for pricing methods.  All of this information was provided in a concrete, easy to follow action steps.

Moreover, Edson didn’t only help me see possibilities; he opened doors for me by creating relevant international connections!

There were a lot of other questions that were arising as a result of the conversation or between mentorship sessions, while I was working on a particular task/guidance I was provided. After each session, everything became clearer. The fear to start on my own diminished and the motivation rised.

3 take aways for future mentees

  • Utilize an opportunity to get a mentorship from someone more experienced.
  • Before it starts, get clear about what you want to ask/need information or guidance for (at least the first 3 questions, the rest will pop-up as the discussion progresses)
  • Be open to listen and put the suggested next steps on a to-do list that you plan to execute really soon

Mini bio

My name is Ivana Petkukjeska from N.Macedonia, currently based in Slovenia.

For the last 13 years my work is mostly focused on writing and implementing projects. I’ve worked with over 50 clients based worldwide, mostly NGOs, for which I’ve secured funding from governments, ministries, municipalities, EU funds, embassies, companies (CSR programmes), and other international foundations and agencies etc.

I hold Project Management for Development Professionals certificate and an MA degree in International Relations and Diplomacy.

Currently, I am in the process of establishing my own consulting company with a mission to connect those with an idea and those who give money for ideas. I will do that by supporting my clients in the process of re-shaping, developing, and writing their ideas as a meaningful, sustainable, manageable, feasible, and impactful project that makes a change (and sense).

COMPETITION: Win a free PMD Pro Practitioner (level 2) certification

Announcing a special competition for PMD Pro+ members.

(this competition has been re-opened to allow more PMD Pro+ members to candidate for the PMD Pro Practitioner pilot)

Would you like to become PMD Pro Practitioner (level 2) certified for free?

We will provide free registration and access to the PMD Pro Practitioner qualification to the winners of our Practitioner video competition.

To enter the competition all you need to do is post a link
to a video between 4-6 minutes long explaining how you have developed your
Project Management skills since becoming PMD Pro Level 1 certified.

Rules and guidance:

  • The competition is open to all site members who
    are PMD Pro Level 1 certified.
  • Your video should be 4-6 minutes in length.
  • You should discuss your development as a PMD Pro
    Professional related to the PMD Pro Competency areas:

    • Technical
    • Leadership and Interpersonal
    • Personal and Self-management
    • Development sector specific
  • The winners will demonstrate how they have grown
    as development project managers since achieving the PMD Pro certification, and
    how they have put PMD Pro into practice during their working lives.
  • The closing date for entries is February 29th 2020.

Good luck!

The Added Value of PM4NGOs Certifications

by Rami Kaibni

Born and raised in a developing country and having worked with many non-for-profit organizations, I was always eager to learn more about the uniqueness of the program and project management models used within organizations like NGO’s. Earlier last year, a friend of mine brought my attention to PM4NGOs. I went through their website in details and came across the certifications they offer and found them to be very interesting as they are specific to Program and Project Management for Development Projects.

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