Our last PMPub took place on 22 May at Szimpla, a ruin-pub in the heart of Budapest. The speaker of the event was Catalin-Teodor Dogaru, MBA, PhD, PMP, who is a trainer, consultant and managing partner at TSP. His topic was "Servant Leadership - Creating a Circle of Safety for the Team Inside your Project!".
The seminar began with Balázs Prattinger’s greetings. He introduced PMI Budapest Hungarian Chapter and said some words about the Chapter’s 15th year anniversary. He mentioned the Chapter’s election which took place earlier in May when the new board was elected. Our new President, László Kremmer also took part in the PMPub. Balázs then said a few words about the next Art of Projects Conference (it’s going to take place on 8 November 2018), and why it is important to have English language events, seminars, conferences in Hungary.
PMPubs are identified by their speakers, who were born abroad, have project management experience and have jobs or projects in Hungary.
Catalin first talked about how it was a surprise for him to hold an event like this in a ruin-pub: he mentioned that he usually talks in conferences with huge halls and ppts, and how this environment was much more pleasing for him, and how it is so much easier to hold an interactive session like this.
So, what does a servant leader do? Catalin drew two stick-figures on the board, then asked the audience, who they would choose: a project manager with Subject Matter Experience, or a project manager without it? The answer seemed obvious: the one with SME. But why? A project manager has to be an expert in project management (he quoted it from the PMBOK). Catalin explained that this answer is really common in Hungary and in Easter-Europe – we do not want to risk anything. But in the Western regions, they would choose the PM without SME, due to the previous statement.
He then talked about the pressure (pressure = force/area). “Every day, you have an army of forces”: deadlines, money, bosses. However, if we start adding people to the team, the area grows and the pressure goes down. And we have trust around us as well. Servant leadership is about building and creating trust inside the team. So how can we create trust? As it is stated in Maslow’s pyramid, the second level is security. Trusting other people gives security. Usually, when there is a lot of pressure from the different forces, it creates stress and conflicts. Then, the manager puts more and more control on the team because of this, what then makes them feel more pressured.
So, what can we do as servant leaders? We have to create the circle of safety. And what is the difference between management and leadership? As a manager, you can force the team to do something they do not want to do, but as a leader, your team trusts you: you don’t want to force them, and you do not need to force them to do it, because they trust you enough to follow you. And to make sure the team trusts you, you need to create the circle of safety, which is the base of servant leadership.
How do we achieve feeling ourselves safe? We have to focus on the team’s needs in order for them to feel safe. Servant leadership is about focusing on others. There are 3 golden rules for servant leadership:
- If you want to go fast, go alone.
- If you want to go far, go together.
- Hug hard but hit even harder. If someone doesn’t belong to the team, take them out, otherwise the whole team will suffer.
He then brought up another example to show us the power of servant leadership: everybody knows the former CEO of Apple, but does anyone know the leaders of Starbucks, Marriot or Toyota? In general no, but people still know the companies. And why? The first uses transactional leadership, the latter ones use servant leadership.
And what about power versus authority? Managers use power, while leaders use authority. A good Project Manager leads its team and gains authority. Using authority, you make people do what you want them to do because they trust you. In personal life the first person in your life using authority instead of power is your mother.
Through Catalin’s experiences we learned that without empathy you can not be a good leader. A servant leader has to create trust within the team, has to understand other’s needs, and has to protect the team. However, we have to find the balance in this as well.
He also talked about Julian Treasure’s model on how to increase remembering information when talking to someone. On average, one remembers 25% of the information heard in a conversation, but with Treasure’s model – Receive, Acknowledge, Summarise, Ask – it can go up to 75% easily. This is called active listening.
Catalin thinks that as a leader you share the risks, the success and the trust with your team every time you work together.
Finally, if someone is interested in this topic and would like to dive a little bit deeper into it, Robert K. Greenleaf has several books on the topic, and Catalin highly recommends them. He added that Greenleaf was inspired by Herman Hesse’s novel Journey to the East, which he also recommends to read.
In the name of PMI Budapest Hungarian Chapter we would like to thank Catalin
for coming and sharing his thoughts on PMPub!
We would like to remind you that the next PMPub will be in September
and the Art of Projects 2018 conference will be on 8th November!