Project managers are tasked with many simultaneous responsibilities. They manage and drive the delivery of a project while managing their team to deliver results according to the business expectations, on time and on budget. It’s no small feat when this is accomplished seamlessly.
As a project manager, many times I find myself to be the driver, serving as the catalyst for movement and action.
A driver is someone who takes on the responsibility and accountability for the project deliverables. So, in addition to day-to-day team management, I drive the alignment of the team to the project plan, maintain quality standards with the delivered work and determine the project execution and communication methods.
Enablers act as complements to the driver. They go beyond the task of effectively driving the project activities and focus on the elements that empower the team by fostering a strong work ethic, high morale, satisfaction, and attaining personal and professional accomplishments. Enablers are very good at working with all the team members — internal and external to the project and organization — in such a way that allows everyone on the team to:
• Align to the overall goal
• Emotionally connect to why the project’s overarching goal is important
• See their own purpose on the team through their contribution and knowledge
• Feel validated for their inputs and recognized for their efforts and outputs
Enablers add life and color to the project. They are known as the glue that keeps the team together. An enabler can exist within the project team, and he or she doesn’t have to be the project manager.
The great value of project managers serving as enablers is that — when combined with their authority, they are able to drive the project and enable their teams to deliver higher quality projects and longer lasting results. This value is reflected in the quality of the product or service, processes and process adoption rate, plus greater organizational awareness and integration.
Are you an enabler or a driver? Do you think it’s most beneficial to have the project manager as the driver or the enabler? Why?
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