PMI Webinar Report: The Self-Made Leader

These are my webinar notes for the PMI talk “The Self-Made Program Leader – Taking Charge in Matrix Organizations” based on its namesake book by Steven Tkalcevich.

How to influence team members in matrix organizational (without a traditional hierarchy) in which there is no formal authority? The Tkalcevich surveyed 55 project managers to find out.

Influential leaders are:

– problem solvers
– good communicators
– rely on relationships rather than formal authority

What helped them to become a good leaders?

– Peers and managers
– Self-actualization
– Self-awareness

For good communication: in person first, telephone second, follow up in writing

They understanding the structure in place.

– Culture eats strategy for lunch
– Familiarize with managing-up and horizontal
– Discover hidden, influential players, respected employees
– Find out common causes of communication breakdown

And the collective influence of coalitions

– It’s a cycle: Gaining allies, recruiting others, resource base, likelihood of agenda success
– Find “company politics” mentor
– Leadership cannot be accomplished without followers

90-Day Action Plan

1. Identify key stakeholders, trusted employees and information hubs
2. Build mutually-beneficial relationships, mend past poor experiences
3. Identify 90-day priorities with management
4. Meet with customers and set clear communication paths
5. Check past lessons learned
6. Identify volunteer role to help gain influence and necessary skills

PRO TIP: Have a professional support team of 6-10 mentors/peers. Meet bi-weekly

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