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Is it good to be an authoritarian project manager?

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I believe that I'm a project manager with an "authoritarian" personality. I know that many team members hate it, but I'm confident that my stakeholders like it because I'm always getting the work done on time, on budget, and on scope.

I would like to hear other project managers' opinions on the subject? Do you think it's good to be an authoritarian PM? If yes, why? If no, also why?
asked 7 years ago by anonymous

2 Answers

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A wise project manager once told me, the whole point of project management is to "get it done". If you're already finishing your project on time, on schedule, and on scope, then you are doing a good job, and your stakeholders are satisfied with you.

As for your project team, even if they (apparently) hate you, they seem to be working well with you (and that's why you are finishing your projects on time). So, in my opinion, don't switch personality to another (faked) one that you think might resonate better with your project team (I think if you do this you will confuse them and you will lose some - if not all - of their respect).

I have personally seen both ends of the spectrum and I think that project managers with soft skills are rewarded with a higher productivity. However, that doesn't mean that authoritarian project managers are bad, as most of them do a good job (you are a perfect example). Probably the most important thing is not to show your project team a fake face, and to remain consistent (if you are tough with them, then remain tough, if you are soft, then remain soft, just don't be tough one day and soft the other day).

PS: I am assuming that being authoritarian is not mutually exclusive with being respectful and is not equivalent to being abusive (otherwise you have a big problem).
answered 7 years ago by MaplePM (46,940 points)
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I have to say I have a bit of the same issue. But in reality, you need to manage all your stakeholders, including the project team.  It doesn't pay to kick off the project this way and I'd rather start with an empowered team.  However when things are starting to slip or not get done, the folks I work with know that I can "turn up the heat" and make the hard decisions they are unwilling or unable to so we can close with a successful project.
answered 7 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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