Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 332).
What makes a good project or commissioning manager?
I have been asked this several times and for firms looking to promote people into management and leadership roles this is a difficult question to answer.
Promoting someone who is not ready to manage and lead can result in people leaving and clients being upset i.e. a wrong promotion or hire can result in a reputational and financial loss!
Project and commissioning managers must possess ALL the following skill sets:
Technical skills are easy to objectivity identify and test for. Managerial skills are tactical and process driven. Managerial skills require systems thinking and process discipline i.e. a combination of hard and soft skills. Leadership skills are the hardest to identify and test for because they require strategic thinking and are soft skills biased. Identification requires examining past outcomes.
If I was interviewing for a project leader these are the 10 things I would look for:
- You are bored with engineering and technical work, you have technical expertise but it is just not enough for you.
- You can reframe and explain complex issues so non-technical people can understand them.
- You do not need to be the cleverest person in the room, you are confident and humble.
- You can recruit and lead people who are better than you or have specialist skills you do not possess.
- You can resolve conflict and persuade, without force, people to move in a new direction.
- You do not “punch down” ever, or “showboat” or manage by shouting.
- You are a systems thinker and focus on generating outcomes.
- You seek leadership roles and accept ownership of your work.
- You understand the difference between responsibility & accountability.
- You understand the difference between management & leadership.
Management and leadership roles are not for everyone. It is perfectly OK to be the best technical person you can be. However, there is a ceiling on earnings when you are a technical person because it is hard to deliver at scale. Delivering at scale is where the money resides. Leading teams and projects is a way to be rewarded at scale.
Are you ready?
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