In this MBA Application Leadership essay question, we look into another quality that is essential for a leader – “Meeting Deadlines.” This quality might seem trivial when compared to all the other general leadership qualities that we have seen in management and other self-help books but when you think about what makes a project successful, one Key performance Indicator that stands out is the ability of the team to achieve a goal in a particular timeframe.
So what are the various deadlines that are important in a team setting.
1) Internal Deadlines
There are two types of deadlines – internal and project deadlines. Internal deadlines are the ones that you set for your team members and yourself, taking into consideration the project deadlines so that you have enough time to review the quality, and check whether the initial requirements are satisfied.
From a team morale point of view, these deadlines have to be met. As a leader, you have to motivate, coordinate, and push the team to achieve these deadlines. If you miss a small deadline, and you don’t communicate that you are not satisfied with the effort, complacency will take over the team, and the members will assume that as a leader you have no qualms in pushing deadlines.
2) Project Deadlines
The most important deadlines are the ones that you have shared with your clients. There is no excuse whatsoever in pushing the deadline for your projects. Quite often, we see project managers and leaders finding excuses such as:
a) Lack of Information from the Client’s Side
b) Unavoidable circumstances – Death in the Family of a key project member
c) Change in Requirement
The above three reasons might seem legitimate but as a leader, it is your responsibility to ask or even pester the client until you get the complete information. Always plan for unavoidable circumstances, and at least 2-3 top performers should be ready to take over any aspect of the project. Changes in Requirement of a project are part of the process, and it should always be looked upon in such a way. Instead of reacting, set up process to handle such scenarios.
3) Decision Deadlines
An integral part of leadership is making decisions, with or without complete information. Collect as much information as possible, and make decisions. Set deadlines for making the decision. Project deadline and team morale can be negatively impacted if the leader does not make any decisions or delays decision-making. Communicate with the team members, and other leaders in the team, and find information that are relevant for making the decision. Set the deadline and make decisions.
If you have stories of how you managed a tight deadline, write about it in your MBA Application Leadership Essay. Make sure that you touch upon the above three deadlines.
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+ The Art of Storytelling
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