I often see project managers in conflict in their job with the given frame conditions or expectations. For example that they are expected or even requested to achieve results or do things that in their opinion are not compatible with their convictions, judgements or sometimes just with good sanity and reason. Common examples are unrealistic targets, missing resources, challenge requests to “make a real effort now” in project situations which are not to overcome with available means, or simply too many and concurrent tasks at one time.
In the many years of my PM practice I have gone through a maybe helpful learning process in which my self-appeal as a project manager and the function deriving from that have changed significantly. Not at least my sound methodologic education during my certifications and the self-reflection going along with this influenced and helped me in that process very much.
At the beginning of my “PM career” I was, like many other colleagues, a deliverer of results and milestones “driven” by the stakeholders, working myself into the ground between targets, dates, various obstacles and sometimes volatile changes in requirements and environment. The learned or recognized but actually comprehended methodology helped me to get structure into the appearing of such “challenges”, to rather be able to “manage” them (e.g. key word Stakeholder Management).
This way my self-understanding of my job profile has changed along with my seniority successively from a hunter-gatherer to a consultant and coach of my project colleagues, principals and bosses. My main task is no longer to deliver at any price but to facilitate and motivate my team to do their jobs as effective and efficient as possible, and to provide my superiors for their decisions (to be claimed by me!) the best possible decision support.
Together everything works better, vertically in the hierarchy as well as horizontally with the team, and each of us is to come naught without the others! This is my conviction, and maybe a good advice to my (younger and less experienced) colleagues.