“People can’t see the big picture until they are allowed to participate in the big picture.” Hugh McLeod.
I lead workshops on project management – scope control, scheduling, budgeting, risk assessment, team management. I deliver these sessions mostly to research trainees – the scientists and investigators of the future – and other research staff, as I believe that projects are more successful when everyone applies good management in their work.
At a recent workshop called “Getting Started in Project Management”, I was talking about the importance of having the project scope in a document so that everyone on the project could refer to it. I was asked, “who should have access to that?” My answer – everyone. The lab staff or computer programmers or field technicians will be the first ones to see that an approach is working or not working – why wouldn’t you want them to have as much information as possible about the whole project, so they can contribute to it?
This is a topic I get asked about often: how to lead when you’re not the leader. It always surprises me a bit, as I think that many of the skills and tools for good leadership are also required for good collaboration, good customer service – just good work. Everyone in a team, project, or work environment can contribute to success, and leading themselves and others is how that happens.
Everyone is leading someone else, not all the time, but regularly and often without knowing it. In any work where you’re interacting with others – a team, project, customers, or just your mates in your physical office space – your actions and behaviour send messages to others with cues about what you’re working on, what’s important to you, what you need and what you can (and can’t) do. In this way, those around you are led, or at least influenced, by you. Almost always within a group, there’s someone who is learning, and they may look to you – directly or indirectly – for leadership.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.