“But I’m not ready to lead!”

“I don’t know nearly as much as all those subject matter experts!” the competent project manager exclaimed further. “Don’t get me wrong” she said, “I’d love to take on a senior leadership role, but I can’t speak in their terms – the scientific and technological details – so why should they listen to me? They wouldn’t accept me as their leader, let alone respect me as their director.” “Hold on a minute” I interjected, “wasn’t your education in a scientific field?” “Yes.” she said hesitantly, seeming to reflect on her perceived inadequacy that was at the root of her reluctance to consider advancing her career. “But I only got a bachelors in microbiology – not really related to the sciences of product development, manufacturing and testing!” “Maybe not,” I said, implying only partial agreement. “But how many development and technology transfer projects have you managed so far?” “About forty” she said indifferently. “Anyway, I was […]

Uncommon Leadership

The project was in a tailspin. Unforeseen technical issues. Timelines in jeopardy. Commitments in tatters. Stakeholders spitting teeth. Worst of all, the experienced project leader had lost confidence in his ability to get the project back on track. A “manager” probably would have berated him and gunny sacked the issue at performance review. Or would have fired him on the spot. So much for supporting and investing in people. This situation called for profound and uncommon leadership; rarely seen in many work environments. Rapid workplace-oriented therapeutic intervention and coaching got this struggling project leader back in the saddle. Talking in industry-relevant terms strengthened rapport with the project leader, prompted reminders of his expertise and previous achievements, and mobilized his creative problem solving skills. He carved out technical options and tactics that ultimately righted the project. In the process, he regained self-confidence and even generated a sense of pride in learning from this nerve wracking challenge […]