Posted by: Gilad Lev-Shamur | June 16, 2011

Ego- Control it or it will control your project

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“Show me someone without an ego, and I’ll show you a loser”

Donald Trump (1946 – ), How to Get Rich

I wish it was that simple.

As a project manager, you should not totally put off your ego. But it will control your project unless you will control it.

Over the last years I found myself wondering what will make me a better project manager (What are the 5 basic rules of project management?). Is it improving my knowledge in scheduling, risk management…? Should I devote my time and develop complex matrixes and documents control systems? I do not think.

As I told you before, as I see it, the 5 basic rules of project management are:

·         People

·         Measure your work

·         Say Yes

·         Keep doing your scope

·         Say the truth

You can see that the softs skills are as much important as your technical knowledge. Soft skills include: communication, leading people, negotiation and so on. Controlling your ego will help you sharpen these skills. You should control it as a manager of people and for sure as a project manager that usually work in a matrix environment.

1.       Ego and your team: unless you will not work with team again, you can work 24 hours per day and no surprises will pop up (Project’s unexpected: change as a way of life for today PM), you need your people in order to succeed.

I assume that you want to be the decision maker. Otherwise you would not choose this job. But in order to keep your people motivate and in order to hear other opinions (believe it or not, there are other smart minds around you), you should create an open atmosphere where they can challenge you and suggest better ways.

Managing a project is not like managing a military action  

2.       Ego and your customer: this section is mostly about project managers that work with internal customers. When you work with external customers you will probably be more caution with your attitude.

You are familiar with the situation: a project manager from the company projects department is appointed to manage a system upgrade project. He has his schedule and budget constraints. He understands this project is a special request from the CEO and he is here in order to do it. He knows what to do.

 Just make sure those operation / system users’ guys will not disturb him. So what if they will need to use it for the next 10 years?

So if you want a quiet environment to work without the need of upper management solving conflicts between you and the ops guys, the solution here is simple: hug them. Do not agree on everything, but put your ego aside and talk with them as were talking to an external customer. Bring them to your side by convincing them. Do some small concessions and get an agreement on the important issues in return.

3.  Ego and yourself: “Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.” Colin Powell (1937 – )  

 Good luck! 


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  1. […] man should know when to admit that he did a mistake. We already talked in the past about Ego in project management . This time I did a […]

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