Many of us in the project management space aspire to a leadership position sometime in the future and this is a good thing.
Now that the baby boomers are finally retiring – and doing so in huge numbers – we are facing a dramatic void in willing and able people to take up those positions. This is a problem for many organizations but an opportunity for many of us.
I suggest to all project managers out there, maybe it’s time to step up and start thinking about a leadership position – beyond project management.
Here are a few things you should know:
– you don’t have to be a project manager all your life
– you are a great candidate for a career tracking toward leadership
– at the rate organizations are losing senior leaders, this movement is going to happen quickly
You don’t have to be a project manager all your life. About 3 million people have been members of the PMI® at some part of their career. There are roughly 500,000 members now. Where did all the others go?
– retired or passed away
– still project managers without PMI® membership
– new positions beyond the role of the project manager
I suggest that the last group will explode in numbers in the future as many of us realize that we can leave this space and move on up to a leadership position.
So what can you do now to prepare yourself for the next phase?
– take leadership courses – any and all
– find a coach who can help you strategize around this journey
– find any opportunity, in and outside of work, to take on a leadership position of any kind: not-for-profit or charitable groups would love to have you as part of their team. Look for fund raising events, art shows, concerts, your child’s wedding, high school reunion – there are lots of projects out there looking for your leadership skills
– have a plan that will take you from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow
That’s the good news. One word of warning… this is not an easy journey. Many of us are accustomed to being the project manager, with our hands on almost every piece of the puzzle. Leaders can’t do this. Leaders need to be looking at the big picture – thinking and acting strategically and this is not something that will typically come naturally to you. This will take an effort.
So, are you ready? The time to start is now.