A New Leadership Equation

Picture this: You're a promising entry-level employee who just was promoted and asked to lead your peers in a new project management assignment that would be guaranteed to challenge anyone - especially one new to the role. As an "accidental project manager," naturally, you're nervous, questioning whether you're ready to take on this new opportunity. You're desperate for guidance, but your Project Sponsor is the hands-off type who trusts you'll just get the job done and meet her expectations. You know you need someone in your corner, and some key leadership principles to guide you throughout the process. Google is great, but it's hard to know what's relevant, realistic and reliable. You are feeling lost on where to go next.

How often have we all been "accidental project managers," promoted to roles for which we weren't completely prepared? We think this happens entirely too often. All considered, though, a lack of preparedness doesn't equate to a lack of success! In fact, a life lived in an Emotionally Intelligent Way where you Lead with Strengths every day and cultivate Holistic Wellness is just the foundational training needed to be successful in any challenging situation. In short, the key to success and being on track to reach your full potential can be summed up with "The Equation," which Liz Bapasola developed:

Holistic Wellness x Emotional Intelligence x Leading with Strengths = Full Potential 

Let's explore each element of the equation.

Holistic Wellness is the most foundational aspect of The Equation. It has three main facets that mutually influence each other. They are (1) physical wellness; (2) emotional wellness; and (3) spiritual wellness. Cultivating one’s Holistic Wellness is vital to the success of any individual because, as the saying goes, “if you don’t have your health that you don’t have anything else.”

Project managers of all experience levels have the opportunity to demonstrate Emotional Intelligence in many ways throughout the full life cycle of the project, such as:

  • being self-aware of your emotions, talents, biases, and values

  • being able to effectively manage stress

  • empathizing with colleagues

  • recognizing their unique talents and contributions to the team, and

  • leading the team in a way that inspires a shared vision, is inclusive of all members of the group, and ultimately gets the job done well.

 Back to our example. As a new project manager, you'll find leading a team of peers to be much more rewarding if you Lead with Strengths. This entails recognizing that your talents (or your natural way of thinking, behaving, and feeling, which is identified after taking the CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder assessment) can be productively applied in your new leadership role.  Managing projects are a great opportunity to cultivate your talents further and begin to transform them into your Strengths.

Strengths Finder 2.0 from Gallup explains 34 themes and ideas for action and at this writing, nearly 20 million people around the world have completed the CliftonStrengths assessment to:

  • discover what they naturally do best

  • learn how to develop their greatest talents

  • use their customized assessment results to live their best life

 Leading with Strengths also recognizes the talents of all the other project team members (especially after each of them have shared with you their CliftonStrengths/StrengthsFinder report or you've read the team report created by your coach). In addition, Leading with Strengths honors each team member’s unique set of talents and gives them the opportunity to productively apply their talents on the team, so they are ultimately using them as strengths.

 Imagine how much more wonderful every project could feel if everyone on the team, including the project manager, was aware of the unique set of talents in each team member and made a concentrated effort to appreciate and purposefully put those talents to work? How much more productive and successful do you think the team would be? How much sooner do you think you could produce results or how much better do you think those results could be if the team is working in an environment like this?

 Skeptical? From StrengthsFinder 2.0, we learn that "people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs." And, as Dr. Bapasola suggests in her equation, everything is connected. They are also "three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general." 

 While CliftonStrengths is powerful, it is not enough on its own. When we multiply Leading with Strengths with Emotional Intelligence and Holistic Wellness, it maximizes each person’s full potential. And when you have everyone on the team operating this way, true magic happens.

 That’s why we believe that Equation Coaching for PMOs, existing project organizations and new project teams is an important ingredient to not only project success but also employee satisfaction, which supports retention of your most talented people.

 Contact us to find out how you and your organization can benefit from Dr. Bapasola’s unique approach.

About the Authors

  Liz Bapasola, Ed.D., is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, provides one-on-one and group coaching using the lenses of Holistic Wellness, Emotional Intelligence and Leading with Strengths to educate, empower, and equip people and teams to reach their full potential. Utilizing the CliftonStrengths assessment, Dr. Bapasola is trained by Gallup to interpret the team's CliftonStrengths report to first build Self-Awareness and then build Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Social Management (the four components of Emotional Intelligence) in order to best invest in their talents and lead effectively with strengths to reach the team’s full potential. For fun: formerly competitive tap dancer, avid salsa dancer, and level 3.5 tennis player.

 Dawn Mahan, Founder & CEO of PMOtraining, has always felt that concentrating on people’s strengths on projects is key, so when she learned about Dr. Bapasola’s Equation which amplifies that theory with Emotional Intelligence and Holistic Wellness, she immediately asked her to join our coaching staff. Welcome to the team, Dr. Liz!  For fun: SCUBA diver, yoga enthusiast and believer in strengths.