There’s no question that the coronavirus has presented a litany of profound challenges the world over. Among them is a disruption to organizations and businesses that must find a way to operate in an environment the likes of which have never been seen before. While strong leadership is necessary across every organizational level during times of crisis, effective leadership in project management is more important than ever as remote working looks to remain the new norm for many.

It’s also important to remember that the best leaders aren’t born — they’re developed through real experience. The current crisis offers a chance for budding leaders to step up and show their true mettle. Read on to discover how to manage remote teams, the importance of leadership in project management during challenging times, and the project management skills that are most critical in remote work situations. 

The importance of leadership in project management in times of crisis

The importance of leadership in project management in times of crisis simply cannot be overstated. In truth, turbulent and trying situations like the one presented by COVID-19 are when capable leadership is needed most. As a leader, it’s critical to remember that those under your charge are looking to you for guidance and support through uncertainty, and your attitude and approach in the face of adversity will greatly impact those of your team members. 

Leaders at every level need to be the voice of reason and reassurance, particularly in the current situation when thousands of employees are adjusting to remote work situations and trying to maintain focus amid a global health crisis. Leaders at every level need to be the voice of reason and reassurance. The tone set by the leadership will, for better or worse, reverberate through the ranks and ultimately determine the organization’s future success. 

Project management leadership skills you need during stressful times

In times of stress and uncertainty, there are some key project management leadership skills that come to the forefront. These include:

1. Resilience

Undoubtedly, there will be hiccups, misfires, and mistakes made as teams and organizations adjust to new workflows and remote situations. Resilience, or the ability to take those things in stride and keep moving forward, is one of the most critical project management skills, and it will rub off on your team members as they see it exhibited in you. 

2. Communication

Of course, consistent communication from leadership is essential all the time, but it becomes even more important during times of crisis. Additionally, with so many employees now working remotely, leaders must take care to communicate with and encourage those under their charge regularly.  

3. Adaptability 

One of the biggest challenges of the coronavirus has been how swiftly the situation has changed from one day to the next. Businesses and organizations have had to react quickly to fluid circumstances, which means leaders like project managers must be adaptable and able to communicate those changes effectively to their team members.

4. Compassion 

Finally, it’s important for leaders to practice compassion during times of uncertainty. Along with fears for their physical health and that of their loved ones, many employees are also dealing with high anxiety surrounding the virus’ impact on the economy and their ability to provide for their families. A little empathy will go a long way in calming team members’ nerves so they can focus on the tasks at hand. 

Mastering the leadership role in project management in a remote situation

Taking care of employees and team members is a major part of leadership. Leaders must develop and refine their own skills in order to grow and support their organizations. Here are a few ideas to help make mastering the leadership role in project management a little smoother, particularly in a remote work situation. 

  1. Define project priorities and communicate them quickly and clearly with your team members. 
  2. Set metrics and KPIs to help measure performance, and have your team members report back on them at regular intervals. 
  3. Block out time to connect with your remote team members routinely. Emphasize the importance of self-care — and make sure you’re practicing it, too. 

More than ever, the right project management tools are needed to help connect project teams and employees who are working remotely and in isolation from one another. With Wrike, you can easily discuss priorities, check statuses, monitor progress, and communicate with project team members in one simple platform. 

If you’re ready to see how smooth remote project management can be with the right tools in place, fill out the form below to start a free two-week trial with Wrike!