Projects and the People Dimension – Part 2

Projects and the People Dimension – Part 2

Insights | 14 January 2015

In a previous article on Projects and the People Dimension we looked at eight key behaviours and the approach to creating a high performing team. This article takes another view on how to get the most out of your project team.

Rather than focusing on behaviours, a leader can take a ‘person centred’ or ‘humanistic’ approach which offers an alternative way to think about team performance.

A humanistic leadership style works on the primary premise that people have the capability to self-understand and the desire to self-improve. As a humanistic leader our aim is to coach and mentor our staff while also ‘leading by example’. The three core elements of a humanistic leader are:

Unconditional Positive Regard

Unfortunately, it is often easier to give attention to a persons’ faults and judge them for their issues. This can sometimes lead into a ‘negativity snowball’ which blocks the leaders’ ability to engage in a supportive way. Once frustration comes to the surface it will be difficult for the leader and staff member to constructively work together with the end result often a decrease in staff member satisfaction and performance. An emotionally intelligent humanistic leader will aim to focus/see the positive side of a person and look upon them with respect, supporting the individual to self-actualise.

Show Empathy

The old 7 habits saying… “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”. By having an ‘active listening’ conversation a leader can understand really what’s going on for a project team member (mental and emotional) and provide the appropriate coaching/mentoring.

Be Authentic

Authentic leadership is an approach to leadership that emphasizes building the leader’s legitimacy through honest relationships with followers which value their input and are built on an ethical foundation (Wikipedia). When staff trust their leader they are more likely to enthusiastically work together, going the extra mile, towards a shared goal.

Project teams respect strong positive leadership that a humanistic approach provides.

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