In today’s fast-changing world, we need leadership more than ever. People that seize opportunities to make an impact and inspire. To raise up voices that have been ignored. To create beauty. To continue learning. Leadership can be found in everything that we do at work and home. It is important to be a leader that can improve others. Leadership will create innovative products and services. Leadership is an important part of innovation project management. Innovation project management is an area that is new in thought and I believe will need to better define this area as leaders that will move the next generation of project leaders into future success.
Leadership in innovation project management can mean many different things to many people. It is much more than just being a manager or supervisor. Leaders step up and create innovation and a direction, vision or strategy for others to follow. I believe strong leadership creates successful innovative projects. Project, program and PMO management need leaders that have this direction, vision or strategy. Leadership is the basic building block for successful innovative projects and improved successful outcomes.
Effective leadership skills are skills that can be applied to the workplace and advance the organization. These are very important in creating innovation and innovation project management. First, I believe that one must know their strengths and weaknesses to be a more effective leader. Being able to know your Myers-Briggs or MBTI is a good start to understand your personality type. I have taken these three times, and I come out with the same result as an ENTJ. The framework focuses on four key areas, energy, information, decisions and approaching the outside world. I have taken this information and built my career and leadership style with this framework in mind. Since we utilize this in my organization, it better helps me understand the work I am performing and how others get their work completed and creates a more effective leadership stance for myself and the team.
The second area I believe a leader should know and be in touch with is how they score in the strength finder assessment. This is a tool that identifies your personal talent and skills. Again, I have taken this twice and scored nearly the same. It is very simple to apply the results. You first complete an assessment that is straightforward, and it will take less than an hour. You will then get a customized set of results and reports to understand your talents. Once you have your report, you can review the leadership opportunities and work with your teams to improve how you all create effective leadership skills and improve innovation project management. This will empower you as a leader and will also create more efficiency among your group and the organization.
Soft skills as a leader need to be fully understood by the individual and applied appropriately in the group and organization. For innovation project management to be successful, I believe that soft skills need to be fully understood and applied. This is where from my past experiences things can get difficult. A leader and innovation project management practitioner must navigate these soft skills to be a solid leader. Soft skills as a leader and in innovation project management can be difficult to learn in a book, online, or in the classroom. Many of these skills need to be experienced in a work setting. I have worked to create many different leadership experiences in many different functional groups within my organization and career. By having these experiences and being able to see soft skills applied with many different lenses has made me a better leader. It has also helped me also better understand the innovation cycle and how innovation project management can be improved by applying soft skills. This is also where being connected in your organization can help you find these types of different experiences.
Connecting, networking and collaboration are also important leadership activities that will improve innovation project management. Not only as a leader do you need to carry your strategy, tactics, and deliverables you also need to meet new people in various groups and functions to build your brand and work with other leaders across the organization. I think this is one of the most impactful areas in which leaders can quickly improve their ability to lead in the organization and be able to work across many different groups to move innovation project management successfully at the organization. It takes time to meet with leaders and work with leaders to better understand their wants and needs but this activity even performed at 5% a week will have a large payback in the short and long run.
Finally, communication is a proactive leadership skill that will tie many of the skills a leader needs to have in innovation project management to be fully effective and move the needle in a positive direction. Communication comes in many forms today, face to face discussions, phone calls, emails, text messages, and IM to name a few. To be a successful leader in innovation project management you need to understand the communication needs of your stakeholders and have a plan to utilize to create the highest leadership value. Communication is the heart and soul of an effective leader and innovation project management also requires these skills. While new generations turn to different modes of communication a good leader will change their style or methods to accommodate others and create the highest value for overall organizational success.
Dr. Michael O’Connor, Ph.D., MSPM, MSTM, MBA, has over 27 years of professional experience in the Medical Device Industry. He is the Director, Strategy and Project Management with Medtronic, Plc, and his corporate experience also includes 3M and Pfizer. Michael is an Adjunct Faculty Member that is teaching Graduate level Project Management, Project Capstone, Procurement, Culture / Organizational course(s). In 2012, he was selected as an American Society for Quality (ASQ), Quality Fellow, and in 2014 selected as a Medtronic, Technical Fellow. Michael writes about leadership and quality.