With busy schedules, tight deadlines and many other day-to-day project management challenges, have you ever wished you had a super power to help you cope with them all in a magical way? Inspired by interesting comments to our CEO’s recent post “7 Business Lessons an Entrepreneur Can Learn from Superheroes“, we thought of a few lessons a project manager can learn from superheroes.
Thor – Learn humility
This Northern god of Thunder was thrown down to Earth and deprived of his powers, until he proved to be humble. Jim Collins, the author of leadership best-sellers Good to Great and Built to Last, also suggests humility as a key factor of being a great team leader. As an example, he writes about Darwin Smith, CEO of Kimberly-Clark. Described as a “shy, unpretentious, even awkward” guy, he turned Kimberly-Clark into the leading consumer paper products company in the world during his 20 years as a CEO.
Spider-Man – Take responsibility
Peter Parker learned the hard way that “With great power comes great responsibility.” Of course, a project manager doesn’t need to save New York from scientists who go crazy, but a project’s success is definitely a big weight that lies on their shoulders.However, as Ian McAllister, senior traffic manager at Amazon, mentions in his answer to this Quora question, taking responsibility is different from taking blame. Just remember, that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whose fault it was, but that it’s your responsibility to prevent the mistake from happening in the future.By the way, responsibility has an upside as well. Our recent survey showed that more than 80% of managers consider a sense of responsibility the no.1 productivity motivator for them!
Green Lantern – Be creative
A project manager can learn a thing or two from Hal Jordan who used his ring to materialize things that existed in his mind. When competition is hot, you need to be extra creative to get ahead of it. Edward de Bono, the author of the “lateral thinking” term (which is a less-used substitute to the “outside-the-box” buzzword) said, “Creative thinking is not a talent; it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate profits.”
The Thing – Stay empathic
Don’t let appearance mislead you, this thick-skinned guy may seem tough, but he is the heart and soul of Fantastic Four. He possesses the trait that Dr. Daniel Goleman, famous psychologist and science journalist, finds mission-critical for a successful leader – empathy. “Leaders with empathy,” says Goleman, “do more than sympathize with people around them: they use their knowledge to improve their companies in subtle, but important ways.” This doesn’t mean that they agree with everyone’s view or try to please everybody. Rather, they “thoughtfully consider employees’ feelings – along with other factors – in the process of making intelligent decisions.”
Professor X – Raise superheroes yourself
Probably the best team manager in the Marvel universe, Professor Charles Xavier, didn’t only build a famous X-team, but also created a school where he helped gifted youngsters safely develop their powers. As a team leader, it’s one of your priorities to foster and improve your team member’s talents and skills. After all, this is the way to building a dream superhero team.
What about you? What super power do you wish you could use on the project management battlefield?