Beth Partleton, Miller Brewing Co.
Director, Project Management, Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, Wis., USA
LOYALTY IS A HUMAN RESPONSE and is relationship-based. Leaders earn loyalty by supporting their team members and helping to remove barriers that may impede progress. They should appreciate good work and express it, while listening for feedback on their own performance as a leader. By providing strong leadership during difficult times, project managers encourage team members to believe in themselves and assure them that they can be successful.
Project managers should treat employees as customers, knowing they have personal goals in addition to the project objectives. Team members are more likely to be loyal to a leader who helps them realize their individual potential, rather than just completing the current project.
Many people are loyal to their employers, and they expect their company to be loyal in return; however, that expectation may not be realistic. A company must make the best decisions for the business. If certain job functions are no longer needed, executives owe it to the shareholders to reduce those positions. A company is responsible to be fair to employees, but not necessarily loyal.
Loyalty isn't instantaneous—it's developed over time. Leaders should strive to make the best impression with a new team to gain their buy-in and excitement. As all project managers know, planning is the key to a successful project, and this includes gaining buy-in from those responsible for delivering the vision.
To lay the groundwork for loyalty, come in with a clear plan and you'll inspire confidence in your team. When meeting with a new team, project managers should clearly articulate the project objectives and ensure all team members understand why a project is important to customers and the company. Team members who believe in a project and their leaders will be loyal, working hard to make both successful.
Leaders who earn and value loyalty will find they have willing followers who want to be on teams with them in the future, who will share their vision and drive projects to successful completions.
PHOTO BY JIM HERRINGTON
LEADERSHIP / 2006 / WWW.PMI.ORG
LEADERSHIP / 2006