I write this here in Bombay (Mumbai), two thirds of the way through a very stimulating 3-city conference series at the invitation of APMG-India. I've been speaking on P3O (Portfolio, Programme and Project Offices), a very clumsy and obscurely-titled product from the OGC Best Management Practice stable that is really quite powerful and well written. I've had some very positive reactions from Indian delegates, particularly to my use of Prezi.
One of my fellow presenters has been explaining MSP (Managing Successful Programmes). Now, MSP is close to my heart; I wrote large chunks of the present edition. So when this colleague touched on Leadership and said, "Of course, MSP doesn't give you much help in how you actually lead..." it made me think.
First, a best practice guide like MSP can't include everything. The brief is not to be an attempt at an exhaustive body of knowledge. Rather it positions topics such as leadership, benefits realisation, and so on, within the work of a programme; emphasises their importance; illustrates some major techniques perhaps; and shows the interconnections with other aspects vital to delivering a successful programme. It leads you into the subject. It doesn't attempt to be the last word on it.
However, my main issue with the observation that it doesn't explain the 'how to' of leadership is a misunderstanding of leadership. Leaders deal in direction and meaning. Managers manage process and tasks. For a manager, the 'how to' is very, very important indeed, but asking "Why" and attempting to answer that big question for any change - large or small - begins the journey of becoming a leader.
So let's not apply a management approach to conducting ourselves as leaders. Let us engage with finding and engaging with people on the reasons why we need this change, and why it is important them. Then we find we are beginning to grow as leaders.