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“Cooperation and peace are achieved by shifting attention from a conflict to an overarching goal”
Harry Palmer, author of the Avatar Materials

I’m continuing my thread of doing things differently this month.  I’m involved in more projects and going to more meetings these days and I need to do things differently if I am to keep it all together!

This week it came to me that there is a difference between leading a project and controlling a project.  I think I’ve fooled myself that I’m leading a project when in reality I’m controlling the project by driving the speed and progress of the project and by doing an awful lot of the work myself. And that doesn’t work when you are involved in so many projects that you can’t keep up with all the work.

My training is as a project manager and I’ve prided myself on that skill and I love it…working out what to do, how to do it, when to do it, who will do it etc, etc.   Working in a corporate setting things seemed to work pretty well – everyone did their part and the project moved along. Now I wonder if that was true cooperation or old fashioned control?  Today the teams I work with are made up of volunteers and that requires different skills.  Volunteers often have a different level of commitment to the project, a different capacity for undertaking project work and very different backgrounds and training.  Control doesn’t get you very far with volunteer teams.

I’ve been finding one of these volunteer teams frustrating (well more than one really). I think I need to work more on cooperation. I wonder if I’d find it less frustrating if I used my leadership skills to bring our attention back to the areas of mutual concern and remind us of our shared goal instead of trying to control!

The definition of a leader is a person who guides or directs group. I going to try being a leader who guides and directs attention rather than being the controller!  I’ll let you know the results.